This is the first in a series of posts about institutional identifiers1.

In my last post, I alluded to some documentation that I’ve written. That was somewhat misleading, which will soon be apparent, but I liked the parallel construction I had going, and I am but a slave to orderliness.

For about the past six months, I have been working with a NISO group looking into how institutions are identified within information systems:

The I2 (Institutional Identifiers – pronounced “I 2”) working group will build on work from the Journal Supply Chain Efficiency Improvement Pilot (http://www.journalsupplychain.com/), which demonstrated the improved efficiencies of using an institutional identifier in the journal supply chain. The NISO working group will develop a standard for an institutional identifier that can be implemented in all library and publishing environments. The standard will include definition of the metadata required to be collected with the identifier and what uses can be made of that metadata. …

The I2 group is split into a few subgroups which have been charged with looking into how institutional identifiers are used in particular scenarios. These scenarios are e-resources, repositories and e-learning systems, and library resource workflows. The scenario names pain me a bit, but so be it; this is our industry, and there are bigger windmills to tilt at.

I am currently co-chairing the subgroup looking at repositories and e-learning, and apparently I am its “tech lead.” I don’t want to get caught up on names and roles and titles, though; this series isn’t about those at all. I’m just setting the scene and explaining why my head’s in this space and laying bare my stake in the issue.

The remainder of this series will provide a bit more detail on the issues around institutional identifiers, share how the repository subgroup is grappling with identifier issues and engaging the repository community to assess needs, propose an approach for an identifier system that may meet said needs, and explore what seems to be the thorniest issue2.

  1. I offer that very tentatively, knowing what a spectacular failure my last attempt at a series was. 

  2. Hint: management. I know, “duh,” right?