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Persistent identifiers for digital resources


Persistent identifiers appear to solve the problem of changes in location and/or names of the files on the Internet. Its aim is to redirect the documents when their location changes (URL change).

The permanent identification of digital documents ensures the correct citation of this type of work, since its URN (Uniform Resource Name) is always the same but has undergone a change of location to another server or directory. Thus, it prevents the existence of bibliographical references that refer to broken links.

The best known are persistent identifiers:

Handle System

    The System Handle is a system that allows the assignment of persistent identifiers to resources in existing digital information or material on the Internet (articles, reviews, images, etc.)..

    Developed by CNRI (Corporation for National Research Initiatives) , is structured in two parts:

    - Prefix (Prefix): identifies the manufacturer ID (university, editorial, magazine, etc.)

    - Suffix (Suffix) identifies each of the documents or digital works (article, book, chapter, etc.)

    The combination of the prefix and suffix forms the persistent identifier, in this case called its "handle".




    To be able to quickly locate a document with a "handle" to write to the bar browser address string followed by the corresponding prefix and suffix. Pressing enter will redirect us directly to the document.

    This system is used in RUA (University of Alicante's Institutional Repository) to identify persistently each one of the items and documents inside. In the following example: the code would be 10 045, corresponding to RUA as producer of handles, and the suffix would be 13 546, which identifies the specific document within RUA, in this case a magazine article.

    In order to assign a handle value, the steps referred to in "handle" should be followed. They are summarized as follows:

        1. Download the software provided by the NCRI, install and configure it
        2. Register as RSP (Resolution Service Provider).
        3. Request a prefix as a handle producer (Handle System Administrator), which includes the payment of a $100 fee for the allocation of the prefix and $50 annual fee for maintenance.


        DOI (Digital Object Identifier)

          The DOI system  provides a framework for persistent identification of electronic resources management of intellectual content, managing metadata, linking customers with content suppliers, facilitating electronic commerce and enable automated management of media. The system is managed by the International DOI Foundation , although the resistration is performed through Registration Agencies

          Just as with the Handle system, the DOI system will not change over time , although the article is relocated to a different direction, since it takes the information entered in the form of metadata.

          This system is the most widespread among commercial publishers and magazines when assigning persistent identifiers to their digital works.

          Like the Handle system, the DOI is divided into two parts:

          -A prefix for the DOI manufacturer.

          -A suffix assigned to each document or item.

          For the following example, 10.4100/jhse.2010.52.15, the first sequence number would be the prefix that identifies the producer (10.4100), and the following suffix that identifies the digital document (jhse.2010.52.15).



          In order to easily resolve a DOI can be written in the browser address bar followed by the corresponding prefix and suffix. Pressing intro redirect us directly to the document.

          To assign a DOI must choose one of the agencies registration and request a prefix as a producer of DOI's. The prices vary depending on the agency and the number of DOI's registered.


          PURL (Persistent Uniform Resource Locator)

              The PURL is a uniform resource locator (URL) based on the Uniform Resource Identifier or URI, not directly describing the location of the resource to retrieve, but describes an intermediate location (more persistent) that serves as a funnel to the final appeal.

              When you enter a PURL in a browser, this is responsible for sending the request to a server page, which returns a true PURL URL. PURLs are persistent because once  they are established, they need not be changed ever. The actual address of a website may change but the PURL is still safe. PURLs are managed by the OCLC (Online Computer Library Center).




              In order to activate a PURL, you need to sign up on this website

              University library - Intellectual Property

              Universidad de Alicante
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              Alicante (Spain)

              Tel: (+34) 96 590 3400 Exts. 1225 y 1226

              Fax: (+34) 96 590 3464

              For further information:, and for enquiries on this web server:

              Carretera San Vicente del Raspeig s/n - 03690 San Vicente del Raspeig - Alicante - Tel. 96 590 3400 - Fax 96 590 3464