Credential Identifier approaches comparison
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The approaches below are intended to reflect 3 broad methods for assigning universally-accessible, agreeable, unique identifiers for credentials.
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Centralized IdentifierSemi-distributed Redirect-based IdentifierDistributed Identifier
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A single organization would issue unique identifiers to all credentialsMultiple organizations issue globally-unique identifiers (preferably URLs) that can be resolved to actual data, and make this service available for use to other organizationsEvery organization maintains its own identifiers, which are unique via the organization's namespace or UUID-style mechanism
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ProsConsProsConsProsCons
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Familiar method (ISBN, SSN, etc)Requires all credentials to be registered with the host organizationFamiliar method (PURL*, W3C Permanent Identifier Community)Requires the host organization(s) to maintain long-term availabilityRequires no central organizationRequires each organization to maintain its own mechanism
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Simple to use once implementedRequires a central organization to maintain long-term availabilityDoes not rely on a single organizationRequires the ability to change the redirection targetsAllows publishing a URL that always resolves to the newest version of a credentialNot necessarily resolvable (eg URI, GUID, or number - not URL)
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Guaranteed unique IDRequires agreement from all parties to use the host orgShort, simple URL that can be resolvedRequires no registration with another organization; the org simply issues the IDRequires a means of retrieving the data by providing the internal ID
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May be possible to repurpose LR Doc ID for this?Requires the host organization to maintain a process or API to assign IDs, handle spam requests, etcShort, simple URL that is itself uniqueIDs only need to be unique internally to the organizationRequires a means of providing the internal ID to consumers
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Not necessarily resolvable (eg URI, GUID, or number - not URL)Can be maintained by the org that owns the credentialRequires that internal IDs be maintained in such a way that they can be referenced much later and still return correct results
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Allows publishing a URL that always resolves to the newest version of a credential (either by redirecting to a URL that itself redirects to the latest version, or by updating the initial redirect target)
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* The PURL service is currently not available.  See more information about the current status of PURL via a post in the TAC Google Group.
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