Are You Registered?

A registry is a listing organizing information. People create registries of all sorts of things, from animal pedigrees to copyrights and domain names. We register for happy things, like our gift preferences with shops when getting married, or anticipating the birth or adoption of a child.

Medically, people register to receive organ donations. Companies may register recipients of prostheses in case there needs to be follow-up care. To prevent or manage epidemics, registries of affected individuals may be kept to monitor disease containment, treatments, and mortality.

People also register pets to help ensure their return. We also register things, generally for licensing and taxation purposes, as some of these can be dangerous items:

Motorcycles / Motorbikes
Televisions (dangerous item: yes or no?)

Many landmark events in our lives require moving datasets from one office to another. College students make a number of trips to their uni’s registrar to manage the appropriate transcript transfers. College students with disabilities may choose to register with the uni’s access office if they are to receive accommodations. (Naturally, doing this requires even more paperwork.) Part of getting one’s diploma means that you are now a Papierkrieg veteran (German: “paper war” i.e. bureaucracy).

Once graduated, people in some licensed occupations may be registered to help ensure that agencies can successfully maintain optimum staffing, and people will be able to secure jobs as needed.

To receive various legally sanctioned benefits, people also register major personal events with various local or national government agencies, to acquire the necessary Very Important Pieces of Paper — after all, nothing officially exists without documentation! All but the last two of these are events that people are generally glad to mark in their lives, aside from the bureaucratic hassles associated with such:

Birth (someone else’s)
Marriage / Civil Union
Divorce / Annullment
Travel passport
Work visa
Business partnership
Military service
Death (someone else’s)

Speaking of death, on the darker end of things, groups of humans have been registered for others to monitor who these people were, and where they were. The rationales for these kinds of registration were that the categories of people were a concern to the authorities because of who or what they were. They didn’t have to be proven dangerous, they just might be because they were different. Read the rest of this entry »