From: Jimmy Wales
Date: July 6, 2005 10:03:04 PM GMT+03:00
To: Ulla-Maaria Mutanen Subject: Re: WIKIPEDIA LTIN
I was thinking more in terms of a randomly-assigned 128-bit identifier. 128 bits can be represented in 8 bytes, and is a huge; Probably using something that looks familiar to people is a good idea, though, maybe something like hexadecimal.
What might be nice would be to choose a format that is somehow compatible to existing barcode formats. I'm not sure how to express what I mean.
What I envision is a system like this, at the core:
1. I have made a product or service. Anyway, it is a of some
sort, and I wish to sell or trade it.
of some sort, and I wish to sell or trade it.
2. I go to a website and enter my information about the thing. Some parts of this are permanent and can't be changed. (The name of it, what it is.); Other parts could be changed later (my address, my price for the thing).
; I am given a code, a code that doesn't look too scary even though it isn't a human-made word (to avoid trademark problems); Maybe it looks like this:
Instantly, then, my product can in theory be placed into all kinds of different databases either automatically or whatever.
My thinking is that the ecosystems which may build on the identifiers should be kept separate from the identifiers themselves. Let some people figure out how to use Ebay-style points systems, let others figure out how to use a Wiki to describe things in a community way, let Amazon figure out how to make a transaction system so that sellers can contact buyers through Amazon, etc.
The advantage is that the product identifiers themselves are not controlled by Amazon, etc. They are universal and widespread enough (we hope) that Amazon will be forced to use them. (They now use ASIN, their own system, but they also use ISBN because the market forces them to do so.)