Last week saw about 130 people, all interested in personal identifiers, attending PiDapalooza 2019 in Dublin, Ireland. With a focus on academic use cases, the in-depth engagement between librarians, publishers, data curators, and supporting service providers like ORCID, DataCite, and Crossref was impressive.
For all the identifier schemes discussed (e.g., DOI, ROR) and identifier formats described (e.g., URN, HTTP(S) URI), the common theme was openness. If the identifier is not broadly available, and if the structure behind the identifier not open, then it’s like having a tree fall in the forest with no one to listen. Identifiers that are private and out of context have no use in the world of scholarly communication and collaboration.
The conversations ranged from in-session debate, hallway catch-ups, and some extensive twittercommentary. While only two days, the energy and engagement was high, and the ability to take a break on some beach chairs and at the foosball table is something that should happen at every conference. That said, there was not a lot of time between sessions for those hallway catch-ups, and sessions were 25 minutes long. That was a lot of information condensed in some small windows!
One of my key takeaways from the conference was a reminder that there are still important use cases in academia where assurance is still critical. Much of the collaboration work I’ve personally been involved in over the last few years has focused on authorization – the service providers only care if an entity is allowed access, not that the entity is the One and Only “Jane Smith”. This was a good reminder for me that getting the “who” correct is still important in this space, that publishers, libraries, and granting agencies all have a critical need for strong identity assurance. The conference itself could also do with some more expertise from the federation space to help expand on not just what identifiers are and how they’re used, but how to get them to where they need to be.
The dates and location of PiDapalooza in 2020 have not yet been set (though there are rumors the conference will be in Portugal). I’ll definitely attend again, and hope to see others in the federation community come see what its all about!