Digital object identifier


July 6, 2022

The digital object identifier (acronym DOI, in Italian "Identifier of a digital object") is a standard that allows the durable and unique identification of objects of any type within a digital network, and the association to them of the related reference data - metadata - according to a structured and extensible scheme. In general, the DOI makes it possible to create automatic systems and transactions: it can be used, for example, to manage the location and access of information and documentation, to administer metadata; to facilitate electronic transactions, commercial or otherwise, and to offer a durable unique identifier to data of any form. The DOI differs from common Internet indicators, such as URLs, in that it identifies an object directly, as a first-class entity, and not simply through some of its attributes, such as the place where the object is placed. The DOI also differs from identifiers such as those related to bibliographic standards (ISBN, ISRC, etc.), as it is immediately operable on the network and usable for the development of specific services such as search engines, certificates of authenticity, etc.

What can be identified by a DOI

A DOI identifier can be registered on objects of any material form (digital or physical) or on abstract entities (such as textual works) when there is a functional need to distinguish them from other objects. published on physical media: DOIs can be used to identify text, images, audio or video resources, software, etc. An object can be arbitrarily identified at any level of granularity. This means that, for example, a DOI can be registered on the head of a magazine, on its single issue, on the single article of a given issue, on the single table of a given article.

Benefits of using the DOI

The benefits deriving from the use of the DOI are manifold. Among these, in particular, there are the following: persistence: the DOI name will continue to work correctly despite changing the location of the material, reordering or inserting it in "Favorites" links; cooperation with other data from other sources; extensibility: the DOI name can be extended, adding new features and new services through the administration of the DOI Name Groups; platform independence; dynamic updates: updates of metadata, applications and dynamic services. In addition, it allows users to: know what they own; find what they need; know where what they need exists; get what they need; use what they need in a transaction.

Structure of the DOI

The DOI Name numbering system follows a standardized syntax (ISO 26324 - 2010, formerly ANSI / NISO Z39.84 - 2000). The DOI Name says nothing about the entity it has as its object (it's an opaque string). The only way to know about the entity is to look at the metadata. If the metadata, or some other property of the entity were changed, the DOI Name would therefore remain the same (persistence of the DOI Name). The DOI Name is made up of 2 components separated by a slash: Prefix: all DOI names begin with “10.”, this is to distinguish a DOI from any other implementation of the Handle System. The following string, delimited by the "." is the identifier of the organization that registered the item. Each organization can have more than one number, and there is no upper limit. Using different suffixes for an organization can be useful for maintaining the uniqueness of the DOI Name. The second element can be further divided into infinite secondary prefixes. The DOI Name gives no information and knows