For those not familiar with ORCID, it is, “…a nonprofit organization helping create a world in which all who participate in research, scholarship and innovation are uniquely identified and connected to their contributions and affiliations, across disciplines, borders, and time.” What does this mean? Well, it basically is a non-profit that has built a system that is populated with growing dB of numeric identifiers for scholars who can use this ID to link all their work across the sprawling internet(z). 🙂
It just means that scholars in any field can attach their ORCID to publications so that the respective publishing platform produces a link to said scholar using a persistent identifier no matter what else that scholar produces.
In addition, ORCID is also a vocabulary that can be added to MARC-based authority cataloging, in a ‘preliminary’ (aka: test-pilot) fashion – looking like this: 024 #7 $a [insert identifier] $2 orcid. This tells the computer processing and linking authority data for persons and creators, that said authority name record, say, for ‘Jesse Lambertson,’ viewable here, is already in linked-data form, and contains information about ‘his’ ORCID profile. What this enables computers to do is make deliberate connections, across the internet, between the name as located in the Library of Congress Name Authority File (NAF) , ORCID, and publications that have ORCID attached (not too many at this point, but, Lord willing, should grow in the near future.
So, on the surface, is it simply an identifier. But it is also a tool that enables more snug relationships to be defined between creators and their works across the exponentially growing networked information universe.