[foaf-dev] openid, foaf and groups

Story Henry henry.story at bblfish.net
Wed Jul 25 22:02:04 BST 2007

Sorry folks, I am a bit on a creative run here, and have published  
one new post suggesting how one could
link openids to institutions using a few simple rdf relations. See:


I have posted this idea previously on the foaf list, but it is of  
higher relevance to the openid list.

To summarize:

Sun microsystems OpenIds such as http://openid.sun.com/xxx are all  
guaranteed to identify Sun employees. This is in
fact slightly misleading. What is really happening is that every id  
that can be verified by
the server https://openid.sun.com/openid/service will be guaranteed  
to be a Sun employee.

This made me realise that the openid service could in fact be used to  
identify groups of Agents. Just as the
foaf:openid relation will identify a foaf:Agent, so I think we can  
easily invent a openid:memberIdService relation that
will identify a foaf:Group, and provide a way to identify all the  
members of the group without listing them.

As a result one could publish a foaf file for Sun Microsystems at  

<> a foaf:PersonalProfileDocument;
      foaf:primaryTopic :sunw.

:sunw a foaf:Organization, foaf:Group;
     foaf:name "Sun Microsystems"@en;
     foaf:homepage <http://www.sun.com/>;
     openid:memberIdService <https://openid.sun.com/openid/service>.

By pointing an organisation to that resource, they would be  
immediately have a way to identify all employees of Sun. So the W3C  
could for example use this to allow Sun employees to log into special  
areas of the W3C.

This is of course generalisable to every group.

I think this is neat because it both clarifies what an OpenId service  
resource is, and opens up some very useful applications.

If people agree with this, should the openid group coin these  
relations, or would the foaf group be the best place to do this?  
Perhaps the foaf group could help the openid group with the task of  
setting up an openid ontology. It should be really not that difficult  
to do.


PS. I'll get back to answering some of the comments on my previous post.

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