#iDIDit: What’s more important? …the name of something or the something?

Thoughts to think about:

  • What’s more important? …the name of something or the something?
  • Under what conditions might the relative importance change?
  • What is the difference between a name, an identifier (see below for a definition), and a label?

Here’s a few examples to ponder. The discussion follows at the end of this article.


Apple (A-p-p-l-e) and Apples

Name: apple (a-p-p-l-e)



Figure 1. Somethings: (a) real apple, (b) ceramic apple, (c) apple candle, and (d) a bad apple 😉

House Numbers and Houses

Name: A specific house number



Figure 2. Somethings: (a) house with a specific numeric house number, and (b) house with script house number with a specific value

Addresses and Houses

Name: A specific address



Figure 3. Somethings: (a) house with specific numbered street address, (b) property with a specific numbered street address, and (c) house specific numeric house number and a specific numbered street address

Domain Names and DNS Resource Records

This (and the following) example are important because they represent 2 completely different, independent databases indexed/keyed by the same name: an Internet domain name.

Name: Domain name microsoft.com





DNSQUery-org1Figure 4. Somethings: DNS Resource Records for microsoft.com:
(top) single “A” record (default), (middle) all “A” records, and (bottom) all resource records

To learn more about DNS, read DNS (Domain Name Service): A Detailed, High-level Overview.

Domain Names and WHOIS Database Records

This (and the previous) example are important because they represent 2 completely different, independent databases indexed/keyed by the same name: an Internet domain name. Thank you goes to Daniel Hardman for suggesting this one.

Name: Domain name microsoft.com


Figure 5. Somethings: WHOIS Database Record for microsoft.com

Github Project Respository Names

Name: https://github.com/mwherman2000/indy-arm.git

Read Git repository internal format explained  for a detailed explanation of the structure of the .git folder that is created in the local file system when a GitHub project repository is cloned using, for example:

git clone https://github.com/mwherman2000/indy-arm.git

Several additional references (links) are also included in the article.


Figure 6. Somethings: GitHib Project Repository .git Local Folder



Roles of a Name

  • noun: a-p-p-l-e
  • a partial identifier/address: a house number
  • a more complete identifier/address: the address of a house
  • a more complete identifier/address of a related entity: the address of a property that has house
  • a unique identifier: a domain name (although domain names can be used to index completely different collections – e.g. DNS Resource Records and WHOIS Database Records)


What a name is, what it is interpreted to be, and what it actually is can be are completely different things.

Possession of a something vs. control of something aren’t necessarily the same thing.


What is an “identifier”?


Figure 6. Identifier: Definition




Filed under Uncategorized

2 responses to “#iDIDit: What’s more important? …the name of something or the something?

  1. Michael: I thought I’d post a follow-up to our live conversation here.

    We decided that in the case of DIDs (and probably many other conceptual spaces), there are 3 things: the name, the metadata, and the something.

    The something probably exists first. The name comes second. There is typically interplay between the name and the something, such that the something’s boundaries become clearer as the name is chosen; either the name or the something may get adjusted a bit in this give-and-take.

    But clearly, the name is secondary to the thing, and the metadata is secondary to the other two. There can be many metadatas for the same something, too.

    Does this seem right to you?

    Liked by 1 person

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