[OAI-implementers] persistent IDs: DOI vs Handle

Jewel Ward jewelw at usc.edu
Tue Dec 14 19:36:47 EST 2004

How did you all decide on which kind of persistent ID to use for your 
digital items?

We at USC are in the midst of implementing our DL as a DP.  The content 
thus far consists of digitized images of (physical) photographs or 
maps.   Other collections to come include born-digital and born-physical 
audio, video, papers, etc., and so on and so forth.  Currently, we have 
122,000 unique items, w/another 50,000 from the "old" DL system to be 
migrated by June 30th 2005.  And more to come after that....

However, we (which really means, "I", as I have to make a 
recommendation) keep getting "stuck" on the persistent identifier 
question, particularly DOI vs Handle.  All items in the USC DL have a 
"unique ID", but we just don't have any persistent IDs assigned.  
Obviously, we can't go farther w/the DP implementation if we haven't 
decided on which type of persistent ID to use.

On the one hand, I see the advantages and disadvantages of going w/the 
Handle system...and on the other hand, the advantages and disadvantages 
of choosing DOI.  At various conferences this Fall, I also received 
advice from many people, some of whom are on this list, that recommended 
one choice over the other, but the advice always contradicted the 
previous advice.  ;-)

I am putting a matrix together to examine both, but...in my frustration, 
I wonder if I shouldn't just toss a coin in the air and which ever side 
it lands on is the one I'll use....

Any thoughts or advice on this process of choosing a persistent ID? 

Or, on the pros and cons of DOI vs the Handle System?

[Btw, I looked at the OAI Best Practices wiki and did not see anything 
listed yet on this issue, so perhaps this advice/discussion can be 
adopted for the wiki.]

Thanks in advance,


Jewel H. Ward
Digital Resources Librarian &
Program Manager, USC Digital Archive
Leavey Library, Information Services Division
University of Southern California
Tel: (213) 821-2298

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