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Digital object identifier (DOI) becomes an ISO standard

by Elizabeth Gasiorowski-Denis on
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Digital obejct identifier

A new International Standard that provides a system for assigning a unique international identification code to objects for use on digital networks is expected to bring benefits for publishers, information managers, multi-media distributors, archive and cultural heritage communities, and the internet technology industry.

Published by ISO (International Organization for Standardization), ISO 26324:2012, Information and documentation -- Digital object identifier system, is an efficient means of identifying an entity over the Internet and used primarily for sharing with an interested user community or managing as intellectual property.

A DOI name is an identifier of an entity – physical, digital or abstract – on digital networks. It provides information about that object, including where the object, or information about it, can be found on the Internet.

Applications of the DOI system include (but are not limited to) managing information and documentation location and access; managing metadata; facilitating electronic transactions; persistent unique identification of any form of any data; and commercial and non-commercial transactions.

"Unique identifiers (names) are essential for the management of information in any digital environment,” said Dr. Norman Paskin, Managing Agent of the International DOI Foundation, and Convenor of the ISO group that developed the standard. “Hence the DOI system is designed as a generic framework applicable to any digital object, providing a structured, extensible means of identification, description and resolution.”

“The DOI system is designed for interoperability: that is to use, or work with, existing identifier and metadata schemes. DOI names may also be expressed as a URL, an e-mail address, other identifiers and descriptive metadata.”

ISO 26324:2012 gives the syntax, description and resolution functional components of the digital object identifier system. It also gives the general principles for the creation, registration and administration of DOI names.

The DOI system was initiated by the International DOI Foundation (a not-for profit member-based organization initiated by several publishing organizations) in 1998. The International DOI Foundation is the Registration Authority for ISO 26324. To date, some 60 million DOI names have been assigned to date, through a growing federation of Registration Agencies around the world.

More information is available on the Website of the International DOI Foundation, including a list of frequently asked questions: www.doi.org

ISO 26324:2012, Information and documentation -- Digital object identifier system, was developed by ISO technical committee ISO/TC 46, Information and documentation, subcommittee SC 9, Identification and description. It is available from ISO national member institutes (see the complete list with contact details). It may also be obtained directly from the ISO Central Secretariat, price 92 Swiss francs respectively through the ISO Store or by contacting the Marketing, Communication & Information department.