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URN Service

An Uniform Resource Name (URN) is a persistent identifier (PI), an unique identifier for digital objects, enabling online resources to be permanently identified and reliably cited. The German National Library assigns and administrates URNs from the namespace "urn:nbn:de" and offers an URN resolving service for Germany, Austria and Switzerland. All online resources archived by the German National Library, get an URN from the namespace "urn:nbn:de". Compared to URLs, URNs offer a unique and permanent identification of digital objects, independent of their storage location. This is an important factor in maintaining long term preservation. If the storage location of a publication changes, for example if it is moved from one server to another, the access address (URL), which is combined with an URN, can be adjusted. With this, the URN keeps its validity and still refers to the corresponding publication. This makes the citation of an URN a reliable method to ensure a long term reference for digital objects.

The URN Service of the German National Library offers numerous advantages for scientists, authors, publishers, information brokers and archives

  • Identifiers provide reliable references to digital objects
  • Durable, consistent, stable links in reference systems by using URNs
  • Reduced workload in maintaining the permanent access of a document
  • Analogical to an ISBN, an URN can be assigned for a document in advance
  • Object consistency can be guaranteed with the use of check digits
  • The URN service is a free service of the German National Library

Last update: 11.12.2013

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