Sunday, 9 September 2007

Word of the day

Today's word is splattered identity. This interesting concept has come up in the discussions which are creating the Carrick Exchange. The concept intended by this term is the idea that all of us have elements of our identity scattered (or splattered) around the web in different sites according to where we have worked, organisations with which we are affiliated, social software we use, and so on. Given that we tend to be self-centric, do we want to bring this together in some way? "It's about bringing all of my things together", it was said at the Blue Sky Thinking Day. I have not been able to find other uses of this expression, so perhaps its use is a first for the Carrick Exchange - blue sky thinking indeed!

For universities preoccupied by the RQF (Research Quality Framework) a splattered identity problem exists in trying to bring together all of the research outputs for the past five years from each academic staff member. Some of the issues are the traditional cataloguing issues of bringing scattered variants of a name or publication together.

A possible lesson from using the word splattered (rather than less forceful synonyms like dispersed or scattered) is that it is unlikely that something splattered can be brought together again, and certainly not without some loss of elements of the identity. Perhaps we need to live with messy identities, and do as best we can.

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