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Digital Subject

The definition of Digital Subject is:

An Entity represented or existing in the digital realm which is being described or dealt with.

Their relationship to Attributes is mentioned in the IdentityGang definition of Identity Attribute :

A property of a Digital Subject that may have zero or more values.

In Higgins:

  • Relationship to an Entity. Although any given Digital Subject is relevant to, and exists within a given Context, a single Entity may be represented as one Digital Subject in one Context and as another Digital Subject in another Context (and perhaps still others). By linking or "federating" these disparate Digital Subjects one can gain a more unified view of a given Entity. Contexts representing different systems, organizations and entire enterprises with widely varying storage and trust models are handled using this Digital Subject linking approach. For example the Entity "Bob Smith" could be represented as two Digital Subjects; the first having "bsmith" as an identifier and the second having "bob" as an identifier. These two Digital Subjects may be in the same or in different Contexts.
  • In addition to simple scalar values the Attributes contained in a Digital Subject may contain a reference to other Digital Subjects in the same or different Contexts
  • Contexts can be nested (e.g. enterprises have sub-organizations, and there are systems within an enterprise/org, etc.) or related through other means (employment/HR system vs. customer system where same person is a customer and an employee). Thus linking the Digital Subjects relevant to those contexts provides an overall view of a Digital Subject (or at least a partial "overall" view to those Contexts).

Subclasses of Digital Subject:

  • A "Subject Group" is a kind of Digital Subject that is an aggregate "group" of other Digital Subjects: A Digital Subject representing a group, e.g. the US Tennis Team, is related to the Digital Subjects of its constituent players.

The following paragraph has been contributed, but needs further discussion to clarify:

  • Given that an Entity may have multiple Digital Subjects, the relationships between these may need to be maintained. The relationship can be maintained in a single place for a set of Contexts (e.g, enterprise id with system accounts wrt operating systems); for others, they may still be treated Digital Subjects and thus consider Digital Subjects to be federated - both within and across contexts/enterprises/orgs.


  • The information contained in a Digital Subject is not necessarily a pure subset of the union of all of the information contained in all of the Digital Subjects of an Entity taken together. There is no consistency constraint imposed between the Digital Subjects of an Entity. For example, a person could claim that their name was Joe in one Digital Subject and JoAnn in another.

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