What we do here in the Okkam project, is creating an global infrastructure, allowing to give an unique name to anything. We called it ENS (Entity Name System), inspired by the DNS (Domain Name System). Why? Because having everything named and all occurrences in a document annotated with this name makes data integration as easy as pie. But names in a computer science environment are URIs and those are not human-readable by default. For example http://www.okkam.org/entity/ok923bf64b-3edf-4d0a-baf8-592db9f55689 is my name! 🙂 – for sure no one is able nor willing to memorize this. As a first approach to this, I created a little PHP script, that can produce an image representing those names, or ENS identifiers or Okkam IDs (in short OID)  as we call them. This resulting image should be much easier to be remembered an recognized.

representation for http://www.okkam.org/entity/ok923bf64b-3edf-4d0a-baf8-592db9f55689, that is me
representation for http://www.okkam.org/entity/ok42fe5511-c177-435a-8cf7-18b6a881d8b7, a friend and colleague of mine

The upper one represents me and the one below Stefano Bortoli, a friend and colleague of mine. Several dimensions have been used, like color, size, position and line-width. As a next step, besides improving creation speed, patterns and shapes could be introduced and even motion by exchanging the PNG image either with an old-fashioned animated GIF or a Flash animation. Integration is kept as simple as it can be, e.g. by simply inserting <img src=”http://okkam.dit.unitn.it/oidviz/?oid=[put your ID here]”/> into your XHTML page. The PHP script returns a bit stream, as if you would load an existing image directly from a server but instead it is created on-the-fly.