Persistent Identifiers are unique identifiers for digital objects; they ensure reliable access to the relevant resources over long periods, even following system changes.
Application scenarios for persistent identifiers
By using persistent identifiers, online publications can be cited permanently and reliably, for example in the form of stable links embedded in documents or in information services, such as catalogues. They replace uniform resource locators (URLs). This makes the search for electronic publications more efficient, as unique global identifiers for these publications now exist. However, persistent identifiers also allow the internal management of these publications to be organised more effectively if, for example, individual digital units of information are re-located for operational reasons, or if unique document identification is required to identify duplicates.
Activities at the German National Library
As part of the CARMEN AP4 project (Persistent Identifiers and Metadata Management in Science) in co-operation with library associations and university libraries, the German National Library has developed a distributed Uniform Resource Name (URN) management system for online dissertations. The new process, intended to serve as a precedent, was consolidated and further developed in the EPICUR (Enhancement of Persistent Identifier Services) project. The URN service is now being gradually integrated into the services of the German National Library and has now achieved major importance in the cataloguing, indexing and archiving of online publications.
Last update: 21.2.2012