All digital platforms require master data and actor (person/entity/thing) data related to that system be maintained for identification, validation, etc. For example, a property tax system needs to maintain master data about properties, land boundaries, tax codes, tax payers, inspection officers, etc. in a structured and validated fashion so as to help manage the property tax transaction in a seamless manner.
As the world becomes data rich, it is essential that various data about people, entities, geographies, resources, assets, etc. are made available in electronic registries with Open APIs for other applications to seamlessly validate and use attested and authenticated data. This is even more critical when it comes to people and entities where various claims can be electronically validated against such registries via open APIs avoiding paper based validations, thus increasing trust while decreasing cost of validation.
Traditionally such data is owned and maintained within registers and kept frequently updated. But, there are three big issues that are very common among most of these systems;
LIVE: Due to its changing nature, such data often goes stale (not up-to-date), thus increasing the cost of collection and maintenance. For example, information about schools and teachers, their contact details, etc. get outdated, forcing departments to redo data collection every few years, and digitise, through time consuming processes.
REUSEABLE: Even if such data is maintained by one system, it is not available to be reused by other systems forcing every department needing such data to repeat data collection and maintenance.
TRUSTWORTHY: When data is exchanged between systems, trust of that data is established by ensuring the entire record itself is digitally signed and the fact that registry record comes with attestations along with the data. For example, a list of schools downloaded as a CSV file from a portal cannot be trusted by other systems since there is no guarantee that it is authentic and has not been edited subsequently.