Generally speaking I think worries about identity theft resulting from name authority work revealing persons' birthdates or fuller forms of their names are overblown. That doesn't mean that every author or other contributor wants their vital information shared and, having worked with more that a few authors who adamantly didn't want certain facts made a public part of their NAR, I sympathize with their desire to have some control over that information. As far as identity theft, though, it should be pointed out that the Mark Twain example is valid (as an example of finding useful tidbits for information theft) more because of Twain's fame than because he's dead. Granted most modern identity thieves would shy away from using a birthdate from the 1800s, but they's shy away from using a famous name even more. Some cases of identity theft do indeed using the personal information of dead people, just not famous dead people.
I routinely give birthdate information not needed to create a currently unique NAR in a 670 note, especially if requested to not use the information by the author. But regardless of how we create unique name authority records I don't see how Stephen Hearn's scenario really changes much: "Once the uniqueness of a person's authority record is switched to a machine-processable identifier rather than the current name heading, that identifier can be used more successfully to locate information about the person via linked data stores--e.g., affiliation, other authored titles, etc.--thereby making the decisions about who likely wrote what simpler."
How does that change make it easier to divine that the author with the common name who until recently wrote about the aerodynamics of paper airplane design has now moved to another country and taken up writing about raising angora goats? For at least the first title about the goats, we'd still have the problem with matching the author to his previous work and, thereby to the proper NAR.
Quality Books Inc.
The Best of America's Independent Presses
mailto:[log in to unmask]