At the Montreal TAG meeting there was some discussion of creating a small task-and-finish group to move forward the discussion on Organisational Identifiers, initially as an IATI-hosted group, but open to participation from others with a shared interest in coming to common approach to Organisational Identifier use.
Building on a call with Rolf Kleef (Open for Change), Adrian Collier (Akvo) and Chad McEvoy (BRIDGE project) this morning, below is a draft of areas where such a Working Group could make progress.
As a next step, I propose that anyone interested in participating in such a Working Group indicate interest (and any specific areas of particular interest) here by 10th March, and we want then look to see the best way to set up a group to take some of this forward.
1) Developing use cases
We should put together a short document listing all the important uses cases for Organisational Identifiers.
I.e. What do people want to do with Org IDs? What does an Org ID system overall need to be able to do.
2) Developing a governance proposal
Right now, new prefixes in the Organisational ID convention are created ad-hoc by IATI. Should there be a shared governance process with other standard initiatives (e.g. Open Contracting) for agreeing prefixes.
Can we proactively source a list of prefixes to create? Can we keep updated a list of search services for verifying IDs in each prefix.
3) Standard changes
Are there any changes to the IATI standard required to better meet the use cases for Org IDs.
For example, discussions this morning suggested that, if whenever an organisation ID is given there was the opportunity to also provide other details such as name, address, URL (if these are held), then the possibility of using a service like BRIDGE 'downstream' from original publishers to reconcile and map together different references to the same organisation is increased.
4) Tools and services
At the Montreal hack-day I put together http://practicalparticipation.github.io/organisation-id-tool/ as a prototype example of how we would make it easier for people to identify the Organisational IDs they want to use (this runs off the official prefix spreadsheet).
What other tools do we need? (and how could this one be improved). For example, is there a way of creating a reconciliation service that works across all the IATI identifiers? Or verification and validation tools for checking ORG ID use in IATI?
5) Government Entity Identifiers
Can we come up with a clear and consistent proposal for identifying government entities.
In exploring WikiData (https://www.wikidata.org/) as a possible source of Government Department Identifiers, I've also come across a range of library Authority Files, including the Virtual Authority File (http://viaf.org/) which aggregates many of these.
Entering into one of these authority files might depend on having a 'publication', but at a quick check many government agencies are covered, and some of the authority files have good meta-data on past institutional structures (e.g. at least 'formerly known as').
A possible experiment:
Any takers interest in working on this?
This proposal has been archived as it is being actioned by the Joined Up Data Alliance.