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The questions I plan to answer. What is InterParty? Why is interoperability so important? What is the problem with party identification? What are the basics of InterParty functionality? What would be the value of the InterParty network?. What is InterParty?. What is InterParty?.

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The questions I plan to answer

  • What is InterParty?

  • Why is interoperability so important?

  • What is the problem with party identification?

  • What are the basics of InterParty functionality?

  • What would be the value of the InterParty network?

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What is InterParty?

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What is InterParty?

  • A EC funded project exploring the interoperation of “party identifiers”

    • Partners come from book industry, rights management, library, information management, identifier & technology communities

  • “Parties” are either individuals or organisations involved in the creation and dissemination of Intellectual Property (or “content”), including:

    • Authors, composers

    • Performers, “groups”

    • Producers, directors

    • Publishers, imprints

    • Record Labels

    • Libraries

    • Collecting Societies

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European partners


British Library

Royal Swedish Library


Book Data


US partners:

Library of Congress


International DOI Foundation



Project partners

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Accompanying measure to <indecs>

  • On the network, all types of content are traded in a common environment

  • Descriptions, transactions and descriptions of rights are inextricably connected

  • <indecs> proposed common tools and standards

    • generic data model

    • mapping from sector-specific schemas

    • proposals for linking person identifiers: the Directory of Parties


Interoperability of Data for



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Applications of InterParty

  • Discovery of resources…

  • Discovery of rights ownership…

  • Negotiation of agreements…

  • Payment of royalties…

  • …and many other applications

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INTERPARTY objectives

  • Analysis of existing party data models

  • Development of generic party metadata model

  • Report on privacy and security mechanisms

  • Specification of working demonstrator

  • Demonstrator (alpha system)

  • Proposals for a business model, exploitation plan and governance for the long term implementation of InterParty

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Why is interoperability so important?

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  • Many different data systems containing “party metadata” (data that identifies and describes parties)

    • Different functional requirements

    • Different “party” metadata schemas

    • Different semantics

    • Different approaches to identification

  • Very little commonality

    • Standards not in common use,even within sectors let alone between them

  • Data “silos”

    • In the past, the need to communicate between these databases was often not apparent (even within a single organisation!)

    • Communication between different domains seen as “irrelevant”

    • Connectivity was in any event hard to achieve

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  • The requirement to share “party metadata” is becoming greater

    • Efficiency: create once, use many times

    • Communication: unambiguous communication between people and machines, and between machines and machines to support many different “transactions”

    • The network is creating universal connectivity, highlighting the need for interoperability within and between domains

    • “Web services” are underlining the need for effective machine-to-machine communication


  • But, there are still barriers

    • Lack of standardisation means that passing information between data systems without human mediation is difficult if not impossible

    • Regulatory issues may also create barriers

      • Privacy

      • Data protection

      • Anti-trust


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What is the problem with party identification?

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Is also known as a member of the group called “Sky”

Is also known as John Christopher Williams

Is known as John Williams

Names and identity

  • People’s names are not the same as their identities

  • Sometimes people change their names

    • eg when they get married

  • Sometimes people choose to be known by different names in different contexts

    • eg Iain Banks and Iain M Banks

  • Sometimes people want to hide their identity

    • The use of pseudonyms is commonplace in literature and music

  • Sometimes, it’s simply a matter of language

    • Transliteration

      • Mao Tse Tung or Mao Zedung?

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Is not the same person as

Is also known as John Williams

Names and identity

  • Not only do people use more than one name…

  • …different people use the same name

  • People’s names are not the same as their identities

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The same person?

Disambiguation of identity

  • Deciding whether or not “two people” with the same name are “the same person” is a general problem

    • Any name search on Google will demonstrate this

    • InterParty is not seeking a solution to the generic network identity problem

  • There are, though, more limited circumstances in which disambiguation might realistically be achieved

    • For example, where it may be economically or culturally significant

      • “This person was the creator of this content and owns the rights”

    • This is the scope of the problem InterParty is seeking to solve

  • The authority with which identities are disambiguated is crucial

    • Somebody has to decide and record the decision

    • If re-using that information, we have to decide whether we can trust that judgement

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The same person?

What metadata is required?

  • Disambiguation is only one part of the metadata story

    • But in the context of InterParty, it is the most significant one

  • We need sufficient metadata to allow “disambiguation” between parties with shared or similar attributes

    • eg people with the same name

  • In the same way, we need sufficient metadata to allow “collocation” of the same party with different attributes

    • eg the same “person” using different names

  • How much is sufficient? The answer is contextual

    • Metadata about people (as about anything else) is essentially unbounded

    • How certain do you need to be?

    • A unique identifier may be enough (if you trust it’s source)

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What are the basics of InterParty functionality

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A simple name query

  • I have an identifier (perhaps a name)

  • Tell me something you know about people or organisations with this name

  • Submit the identifier (name)


  • Get back information related to that identifier

    • What information? Perhaps another identifier?

  • BUT InterParty isn’t conceived as a query on a single source of data…

  • …AND a name query can be expected to return many responses, not all of them related to the same person

    • Try a name search on the Web, or on Amazon

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A “namespace”






A single point of access

“Resolution Service”

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“Common metadata”








Using what may be only a subset of the data in each namespace dataset – elements of the InterParty “common metadata” set


A single point of response



“Resolution Service”


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What is metadata?

  • All metadata is ultimately about expressing relationships

    • “An item of metadata is a relationship that someone claims to exist between two referents” Based on <indecs> project definition

    • Who makes the claim of relationship may be as important as nature of the relationship itself

  • All the participating databases in InterParty will express relationships

    • Sometimes the same relationships, sometimes different relationships

  • InterParty will create value to the extent that it enables new relationships to be expressed and recorded(“InterParty Links”)

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The added value of InterParty

  • Expressing new relationships may be very simple but very valuable

    • For example “Person X in Namespace A isPerson Y in Namespace B”

  • “is” isonly one example of the relationship that might be established; “might be” and “is not” could be equally valid

    • Initial prototype will be limited, structure will be extensible

    • There are many other types of relationship that might be expressed

  • Who will make such claims of relationship within InterParty?

    • The members of the “InterParty Network”

    • A centralised editorial service is an unrealistic option – establishment costs too high


“Resolution Service”

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Holding the common metadata

  • Initially conceived as distributed multiple data sets, with integrating search process providing a single integrated response

    • Searching over the “common metadata” from different datasets held in different locations

  • Ultimately, InterParty is likely to require some centralised indexing

    • Current theory and practice suggests that distributed network searching without any centralised service becomes increasingly inefficient as the number of data sources grows beyond a fairly small number


“Resolution Service”

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Is the same person

Establishing new relationships

  • The establishment of new metadata [“InterParty Links”] will require effort and judgement

    • Even if some relationships are established algorithmically

  • If these relationships are not recorded and made available to others their real value will be lost

    • While such information might simply be recorded (and maintained) locally by the organisation making this judgement, this would fail to add significant value

  • This implies making available the nature of the “claimed” relationship

    • And the context in which the claim was made

      • By whom, when and [perhaps] why they reached the decision that they did

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Holding “InterParty Links”

  • An “InterParty Link” requires the expression of a relationship between two identifiers

  • This expression could be held locally, as part of the “common metadata”, or centrally as part of the “aggregated metadata”

    • Broadly an irrelevant question, so long as it is openly available

  • It could be the only data held centrally, to support automated processing

    • This requires further analysis


“Resolution Service”

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Here is identifier (“Person X”) from namespace A Give me identifier from namespace B


In this case, the “user” is a machine (in namespace A) seeking to communicate about Person X with someone in namespace B

Automated functionality

Just one example…

“Resolution Service”

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Here is identifier (“Person Y”) from namespace B


Automated functionality

Just one example…

“Resolution Service”

…there could be many others

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What would be the value of the InterParty network?

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Exemplary business requirements

  • Data Provider or Library – seeking to expand the scope or quality of their own data

    • “Is the author of this book a new author, or the same person as we already have on our database?”

    • “What metadata do you have about this author that can we add to what we already have and which would have value to our users?”

  • Retailer – to meet end user request

    • An end user might, for example, be interested in “all recordings of music composed by John Williams” – but which John Williams?

  • These requirements involve a reasonable degree of certainty of identification

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Exemplary business requirements

  • Any organisation involved in Rights Management – either to update their own data or to enable communication in real time – in order to answer questions like:

    • Who owns the Rights in this content?

    • How can I contact the Rights Owner?

    • What rights are available, and on what basis?

    • How can I make a payment that is due in such a way that I can be sure that the right person receives the payment (particularly if making a payment to an intermediary)?

  • These requirements involve a very high degree of certainty of identification

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The InterParty value proposition

  • Access to a shared metadata and identification resource can substantially reduce costs of data creation and maintenance for all members of the InterParty network…

  • …while at the same time improving their data quality and thus the services that they offer

  • There is an underlying assumption that all Parties whose data appears in the database will have an active interest in disambiguation

    • Greater certainty of identification in circumstances where this is advantageous to them

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Some fundamental assumptions

  • InterParty will be a “membership” network

    • Open only to organisations with metadata to share, and identification schemes to support

    • Membership criteria will need to be defined as part of the Governance model

  • Members will join InterParty because they perceive a common benefit from interoperation

    • At a minimum, access to “common metadata” held by other members to improve the quality of their own data

    • Potentially, automated machine-to-machine “transaction”

  • Individuals and organisations will only be identified within the InterParty network if information about them appears in one or more sets of data created or held by an InterParty member

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  • What is InterParty?

    • A project designed to demonstrate that interoperability of party identifiers is a real possibility

  • Why is interoperability so important?

    • Because unless systems can communicate meaningfully with one another, the promise of the network can never be realised

  • What is the problem with party identification?

    • Names are not identities

  • What are the basics of InterParty functionality?

    • Distributed access to party metadata

  • What would be the value of the InterParty network?

    • Lower cost and higher quality in party metadata

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An Introduction to the InterParty ProjectA framework for the interoperable, unique identification of parties in e-commerce

Thank you for listening