Whatever happened to the Names Project?

That’s a question I’ve been asked a few times since I started work at the RSP in March. So I thought I’d find out! The JISC funded project began in July 2007 and is a partnership between the British Library and Mimas. It aims to uniquely identify individuals and institutions involved in research in higher education in the United Kingdom. Phase 1 investigated the potential and requirements for a Name Authority Service and developed a prototype. Phase 2 (March 2009 – February 2011) is expanding the prototype into a pilot service and looking at future options as a service. For a basic summary, there’s a good post on the Mimas blog.

The challenge is aptly illustrated in the following slide:

CC Attribution-ShareAlike, Amanda Hill and Dan Needham, Mimas

Work in the current phase involves testing matching algorithms; reviewing data structure; updating data mappings for revised and new standards; and collaborating with potential data providers and Names users. It is in this latter capacity that the project is asking for help from the repository community in the UK.

They have launched a survey today which aims to find out about the control of names in repositories and ways in which names are matched as well as services which might be useful for repository managers. It’s a good opportunity to influence the shape of a potential Names service in the UK.

To keep up to date with further development see the project website and blog.