In 45 minutes the car is coming to take me to the airport, where I will experiment with TSA precheck – both going and coming.
It kind of rubs me the wrong way that you can pay $100 and sit through a fairly lame video, and then be considered “safe”. They do perform a massive background check, which I had evidence of during my interview. But it’s a privilege nonetheless, and (due to my Calvinist upbringing) one that sits kind of uncomfortably.
But, okay, I travel enough to make this worthwhile. And I’ve been detained twice before in Customs when coming back from overseas. Apparently there is a not-so-safe person out there that shares my name. (The scientist? The clothing designer? The international trade consultant? The lady who designs glass beads?)
Ironically, most of my overseas travel has to do with disambiguating names and identities. And that’s the case here too – I’m going to a meeting about ISNI. We’ve made progress – internally at Bowker we’re building a registration website; we’re getting all the authors in Books in Print assigned ISNIs, and we are about to start some collaborative work identifying organizations and institutions. Assigning numbers to unique identities is a tough job – like the TSA precheck process, it takes a lot of research to make sure you have the right identity and not a conflation of two or more.
Identification is actually a huge responsibility, when you think about what depends on it. In the case of ISNI, royalties are the primary workflow. In the case of the TSA, it’s about a lot more than just money.