Academic journal article Journal of Digital Information Management

A Basic Comparative Framework for Evaluation of Digital Identifier Systems

Academic journal article Journal of Digital Information Management

A Basic Comparative Framework for Evaluation of Digital Identifier Systems

Article excerpt

1. Introduction

Digital object is a data structure whose principal components are digital materials or data plus a unique identifier for that material (Kahn and Wilensky, 2006). In other words, the so-called digital object can be used for any form of intellectual property appeared to be applied in the digital environment (IDF, 2015). In general, two main elements in the identification of digital objects are metadata and identifier (Arms, 2001).

Up to now, several definitions have been proposed for identifiers. For example, Kunze (2003) introduces an identifier as the association between one string and one thing. Using the term "one" for an identifier and for identified entity is what attracted the attention in all the definitions. This indicates a need for one-to-one relationship between an identified entity and identifier. This one-to-one relationship can be called uniqueness (Coyle, 2006). On the other hand, an identifier should not be changed and is not changeable (Clarke, 1994; Campbell, 2007). Paskin (1999) states that an identifier should have an unlimited lifetime, even if the existence of identified entity is wiped out. He called this characteristic "persistency". Therefore, it can be said that uniqueness and persistency are the most important intrinsic characteristics of an identifier.

Now, an object with digital identity is referenced by the URL (Kunze, 2003). Over time, some risks of using the URL as an identifier have been detected. The violations of uniqueness (Coyle, 2006), among those in practical areas like e-commerce (Sidman and Davidson 2001), citation analysis and cross referencing and linking (Simons, 2012) and digital rights management systems (Carreiro, 2010) are examples of these risks.

With this description, researchers have tried to provide solutions in order to create a unique identifier with the ability to have long-term persistency to overcome the above-mentioned risks. The main solution proposed for this problem is the use of indirect names instead of URLs; what worked for the DNS (Domain Name System) in stabilizing internet hostnames should work for digital object references (Kunze, 2003). Put simply, the proposed strategy is based on creating a system called digital identifier system for managing digital identifiers and a process called resolution. Resolution is identifier submission process based on a name to a network service (digital identifier system) and in return, receiving one or more pieces of current information related to the identified object, such as the location (URL) of the object. Resolution creates a level of managed redirection between the output and the identifier (IDF, 2015). Simplified process of this solution is shown in Figure 1.

But the main advantages and functions of this solution for digital object would be maintaining a permanent location information, standardizing and enriching metadata, facilitating content search, Securing copyright, increasing the volume of distribution, increasing efficiency, reducing costs and saving time, enabling exploitation of new business areas, and increasing the revenues related to digital content (Park et al., 2007). Paskin (2002) in his study pointed out some advantages of using these identifiers as increasing referrals and reducing the time to manage them to be saved, retrieving and distributing objects with identity in the digital space, persistency of access and enrichment of metadata. Attanasio (2003) mentioned solving the problems of digital right management with the use of these identifiers. In another study, Wynholds (2011) discusses the advantages of using these identifiers in fast and accurate binding of research data and their use in scientific publications.

Two main questions that should be asked in the face of the digital identifier are as follows: which of the available identifier systems are digital identifier systems? And on what framework and criteria can they be diagnosed? …

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