I have an article out in the Fall edition of Library Journal’s quarterly Internet supplement netConnect (about the Internet, published in print)!
Managing Your Identity Online – 10/15/2007 – netConnect – The article is about online identity and claimID with a sidebar on OpenID. The article breaks down into the following sections (brief excerpts are provided).
- Introduction to claimID and online identity
A new breed of web services have started providing ordinary web users with the tools they need to take back control of their online identity.
- Permanent information online
However, with the rising popularity of blogging and the explosion of social networking sites such as Friendster and MySpace, googling potential employees quickly became commonplace. Stutzman and Russell recognized that, while particular services such as MySpace may come and go (see “,” LJ netConnect, Fall 2006. p. 8â€“12), social web services are here to stay. More important, a whole generation is destined to scatter personal and professional information around the web for the rest of their lives.
- Who are you?
If your name is John Smith and someone googles you, it’s not unlikely that the googler can mistakenly think certain information discovered (divorce, etc.) is yours. Wouldn’t it be helpful if there were a method to explain which John Smith you are?
- Taking control
In the claimID FAQ, Stutzman and Russell explain that they embraced â€œsimplicity and standardsâ€ when designing the concept. The common thread connecting all the online identity signifiers together is that they all have a web address. Consequently, they decided the simplest way to manage an online identity was by enabling users to create a list of web addresses related to their identity.
- Standards for identity
Once Stutzman and Russell had enabled users to create and sort an annotated list of web sites related to their identity, they turned to emerging identity standards to add additional value to the list. They first implemented MicroID, an open standard that provides a way to verify that the person who owns a claimID profile also â€œownsâ€ the content to which they are linking.
- Authority control
In Web 2.0 applications, a centralized cataloging system can break down because of the sheer quantity of user-generated content. This has led to collecting user-generated tags instead of subject headings. Similarly, claimID’s methods hint at future decentralized systems for authority records.
- Using OpenID on the Web (sidebar)
The OpenID standard makes it possible for a user with a claimID profile to use this identity elsewhere on the web. OpenID is a decentralized URL-based identity system that allows users to log into web sites with a URL instead of a username or email.