Economics and Usage of Digital Libraries: Byting the BulletSkip other details (including permanent urls, DOI, citation information)
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HoPEc has a different organization from EDIRC. It is impossible for a single academic to register all persons who are active in Economics. One possible approach would be to ask archives to register people who work at the related institution. This will make archive maintainers' work more complicated, but the overall maintenance effort will be smaller once all current authors are registered. However, authors move between archives, and many have work that appears in different archives. To date, there is no satisfactory way to deal with moving authors. For this reason, the author registration is carried out using a centralized system.
A person who is registered with HoPEc is identified by a string that is usually close to the person's name and by a date that is significant to the registrant. HoPEc suggests the birth date but any other date will do as long as the person can remember it. When registrants work with the service, they first supply such personal information as the name, the URL of the registrant's homepage, and the email address. Registrants are free to enter data about their academic interests—using the Journal of Economic Literature Classification Scheme—and the EDIRC handle of their primary affiliation.
When the registrant has entered this data, the second step is to create associations between the record of the registrant and the document data that is contained in RePEc. The most common association is the authorship of a paper; however, other associations are possible, for example the editorship of a series. The registration service then looks up the name of the registrant in the RePEc document database. The registrant can then decide which potential associations are relevant. Because authentication methods are weak, HoPEc relies on honesty.
There are several significant problems that a service like HoPEc faces. First, since there is no historical precedent for such a service, it is not easy to communicate the raison d'être of the service to a potential registrant. Some people think that they need to register in order to use RePEc services. While this delivers data about who is interested in using RePEc services—and to whom we have been unsucessful to communicate that these services are free—it clutters the database with records of limited usefulness. Last but by no means least, there are all kinds of privacy issues involved in the composition of such a dataset.
To summarize, HoPEc provides information about a person's identity, affiliation and research interests, and links these data with resource descriptions in RePEc. This allows the identification of a person and the maintainance of related metadata in a timely and cost-efficient way. These data could fruitfully be employed for other purposes, such as maintaining membership data for scholarly societies or lists of conference participants.