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From October 2009 to March 2011 the German National Library was involved in a project aimed at standardising and integrating persistent identifier (PI) solutions in Europe. The objective of the "PersID" project was to help set up a European infrastructure for persistent identifiers. The initial emphasis was on national URN-NBN initiatives (future integration of other standards is also planned) and the development of a global resolver service - a network of existing resolvers which can substitute for each other. The intention here is to provide ongoing support for the use of persistent identifiers in accessing online publications (and other digital content) - and also to reinforce the perception of persistent identifiers as a long-term solution. A wide range of competing solutions currently exists among those European cultural and research organisations with their own persistent identifier systems. National solutions are not generally interoperable, the criteria and guidelines for issuing persistent identifiers are not sufficiently transparent and the business models are extremely disparate.

First of all an assessment was made of the institutions and countries involved. This yielded information on the persistent identifier systems currently in use and provided the basis for formulating the requirements which a USN metaresolver service should meet. Examples of a business model and a cost model for a URN service were created on the basis of these results. At the conclusion of the project, a functioning prototype of an open source metaresolver was made available for use. This is now to be expanded and further optimised.

The project partners intend to continue with the existing partnership.

Project partners

The following countries and institutions were involved in the project:

Project co-ordination

SURF was responsible for project management.


Funding was provided by Knowledge Exchange (KE) - the alliance of European research support institutions including DFG (D), SURF (NL), DANS (NL) and DEFF (DK), but mostly by the institutions themselves.

Project duration

October 2009 - March 2011

Project homepage

Last update: 06.12.2011

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