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Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs)

See my articles in Financial Times:

bulletGetting a Handle on data (17th Nov 2004)
bulletAvoiding Identity Crises (1st Dec 2004)

A standard being adopted by publishers to guarantee that web links will be persistent - ie. will continue to resolve to the relevant document or information over time thus avoiding the link-rot we have to tolerate on the web. 

DOIs also have significant commercial potential in e-commerce.

Identifies the content itself rather than its location.  (By comparison, a normal web hyperlink resolves to a URL - a location.)


bulletPersistence - Links stand the test of time. Guaranteed resolution. Avoid link-rot.
bulletGuaranteed resolution to a definitive version (the original as published when cited, or the latest version - whichever is more appropriate according to the application)
bulletChanges in location or in ownership of content can be made by changing the link once at the registration agency. All references will immediately reference the new location/owner - including web site links, search engine results, even bookmarks in an individual's browser.
bulletStructured menus of links can be updated in a single place and instantly updated on every link that references the site. So for example, special offers can be added in temporarily and then withdrawn. (See Content Directions)
bulletGreater prominence in search engine results.  Agreements between publishers mean that their inter-referencing links attract search engine crawler programs and give greater rankings so results appear higher up search engine results.


How it works:

DOIs provide indirect resolution of web links via a DOI registration agency - a trusted intermediary.

Based on the "Handle System" developed by US defence industry as logical development of the internet.



CrossRef: An contractual agreement between publishers of academic journals and a technical solution based on DOIs enabling all journals to guarantee that citations to articles in other journals will resolve.

OECD's "StatLink" service - use DOIs to guarantee that users receive the latest and most up-to-date statistics. Plans to let users elect to receive additional columns from the database beyond what is shown in the published tables for further analysis or greater granularity.

DOI Registration agencies

bulletTSO  (UK official publications)
bulletCopyright Agency (licensing of copyright by authors and publishers)
bulletCrossRef (Academic journals)
bulletOPOCE (EU official publications)
bulletNielsen Bookdata