Persistent identifiers

The Internet has in a short period of time transformed our society and our way of thinking. It has made us believe that it is possible to find everything online – and if we do not find what we are looking for, it is not worthwhile to go somewhere else to find it.

This poses challenges in a number of respects. One challenge is to get metadata and, if possible, data published in such a way that the information is easily findable and accessible on the Internet. If the information is not there, or if it is difficult to find, it will not be used. (“Difficult to find” refers to both humans and machines.) "Easy to find” is sometimes more important than “quality” for those looking for relevant information.

Another challenge is to secure that it is possible refer to or cite the information found on the Internet. If a researcher is referring to information that lately has been removed, or if it is modified or updated, the references are pointless or misleading for those who would like to look them up.

In other words, there is a need for a system that makes it possible for humans to find and cite sources found on the Internet, and it is important that this system contains information that makes it possible for machines, or technical systems, to utilize and connect the information. One strategy is to add identifiers to resources that will be preserved. This is the point of departure of this module which contains the following chapters:

Chapter 1: Identifying things: what and why?

Chapter 1 gives an introduction to the basic idea behind Persistent Identifiers (PIDs) and reflects on some fundamental considerations when dealing with PIDs.

Chapter 2: Standards and widely used services

This chapter will give a brief overview over some of the most prominent identification systems available on the market, including some examples of how these systems have been implemented.

Chapter 3: PIDs @work

In this chapter, we examine the current use of PIDs and PID services in the Social Sciences and Humanities and provide some examples.

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