[OAI-implementers] persistent IDs: DOI vs Handle

Tim Brody tdb01r at ecs.soton.ac.uk
Thu Dec 16 10:25:33 EST 2004

Hi Jewel,

I suggest that you use an independent (oai:something) identifier system 
in your OAI interface. This will make your OAI items agnostic to any 
persistent identifier scheme you may use for your collection(s). The 
thing to keep in mind is that OAI is a transport - any important data 
(e.g. DOI) should be in your Dublin Core <identifier> fields. This will 
provide you with much more flexibility on how your data may be presented 
by services - e.g. while from a preservation point of view every image 
may need a separate identifier, if you had multiple photos of one event 
it may make more sense for an OAI service to show only one record 
(rather than 100 records, iterating over different angles of view ...).

All the best,

Jewel Ward wrote:

> 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.]

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