What is Digital Identity?


Digital identity management focuses on enabling users to create a single digital identity that can be used in any place where a login is required to access a website or service. It is not a single technology, but a group of related technologies and ideas. In the simplest terms, one’s digital identity is a method that allows recognition any place where a log-in is needed. A variety of different systems are being developed, and though they have the same broad purpose of creating a sign-on system that is convenient and secure for an individual rather than a company or organization, ideas about what precisely defines a user-centric identity system and how that would be implemented are still widely varied. Both Google and Facebook are positioning their systems to be the “home” of one’s digital identity.

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Please "sign" your contributions by marking with the code of 4 tildes (~) in a row so that we can follow up with you if we need additional information or leads to examples- this produces a signature when the page is updated, like this: - alan alan Jan 27, 2010

(1) How might this technology be relevant to the museums you know best?


  • I wrote a set of blog posts on this area (another one I understand very little from the technical POV, it must be said), starting with this one http://doofercall.blogspot.com/2010/02/museums-and-online-logins-preamble.html. One point is that login has two aims: one is controlling access, the other is associating information with individuals. They may well be tied together but needn’t be. For example, you may want to limit access to a Friends’ area, but do nothing with the user’s identity once they are in there; or you may oblige users to log in to forums not to limit access per se, but because anonymous posting is seen as inappropriate. Finally, in order for users to be able to bookmark items in your collection they may need to log in simply so that the items can be attached to an identity for future retrieval.
    The question then is, when do we need to actually know anything about the user and attach information to them (profile etc), and when do we simply want to manage access? When do we want to track usage, and what else can museums get from identifying users? What is the pay-off to users, what do developments in DIM imply for barriers to linking their identity to a site. Might we in fact start to see users pushing for the ability to do this?
    Another question: will we see any change in where museums engage and build their communities? We’ve seen museums seeking to build stronger and more direct bonds with audiences with activities that simultaneously pull in opposite directions, on the one hand attempting to create new communities (ArtMob, for example, or Creative Spaces) and at the same time putting themselves into existing communities (Facebook, Twitter etc) and hoping to nucleate activity there. Will one approach come to dominate? Will OAuth/OpenID become familiar territory for museum developers, and if so will they attempt to bring communities more into their “own” space? And is there a space for a museum-centric provider of identity and associated cross-institutional services? Finally, how about integration with offline identity and institutional affiliations?- jeremy.ottevanger jeremy.ottevanger May 2, 2010
  • Adopting an accepted digital identity strategy offers museum's three opportunities 1) to standardize the authentication and profiling within their own applications (membership, commerce, personalization, etc.); 2) the ability to interface, share and utilize profile data from external platforms (Facebook, TripIt, Flickr, etc.); and 3) the ability to support the standardized, constituency focused applications/relationships with peer institutions (multi-institution personal collections, reciprocal memberships, etc.).- scott.sayre scott.sayre May 2, 2010

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • Recommendation engines and collaborative filtering. - scott.sayre scott.sayre May 2, 2010
  • another response here

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on education and interpretation in museums?

  • Adopting a common digital identity protocol would allow communities of museums as well as museum service providers to develop multi-institution visitor-facing applications and mash-ups such as personal collections, recommendation tools, and potentially even shared interpretive tools inter-relating disparate collections. Mobile interpretive tools would greatly benefit both visitors and museums from a standardized approach to digital identity.- scott.sayre scott.sayre May 2, 2010
  • another response here

(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

ArtBabble accepts Google, Yahoo and OpenID http://www.artbabble.org - scott.sayre scott.sayre May 2, 2010

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