Some forms of metadata, especially those that identify objects or classes of objects, form classes of their own that need to be administered centrally in order to avoid the risk of duplication and consequent misidentification. The concept of such a registry is not new; for example, International Standard Book Numbers (ISBN) derive from a central registry that was originally set up in 1970. The registry that ensures that every ethernet-connected device in the world is uniquely identifiable is another example. Formal identifiers and other metadata for use in commercial transactions will increasingly use the services of one or more metadata registries, as this paper will discuss.
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