Digital Object Identifier

Definition of Digital Object Identifier

A Digital Object Identifier (DOI) is a unique and persistent identifier assigned to digital items such as academic articles, research reports, and other online documents. DOIs make it easier to locate, access, and cite these resources in digital environments. The DOI system is managed by the International DOI Foundation and is supported by a global network of registration agencies.


The phonetic pronunciation of “Digital Object Identifier” is:Dɪdʒɪtəl ˈɒbdʒɪkt aɪˈdɛntɪfaɪər

Key Takeaways

  1. Digital Object Identifier (DOI) is a unique and permanent identifier assigned to digital content for easy access, sharing, and citation.
  2. DOIs are widely used in academic and research settings, providing a stable and reliable link to journal articles, datasets, and other digital documents.
  3. DOI registration is managed by organizations called Registration Agencies, which follow guidelines set by the International DOI Foundation (IDF) to ensure widespread adoption and interoperability.

Importance of Digital Object Identifier

The Digital Object Identifier (DOI) is an important technology term as it provides a unique, permanent, and reliable identification system for digital resources, such as academic papers, e-books, and research datasets.

This enables easy access, organization, sharing, and citing of digital content, which is essential in the digital age where vast amount of information is created and disseminated online.

Additionally, DOI facilitates the tracking of digital resources throughout their lifecycle, ensuring that content remains accessible even when its location changes or gets updated.

Overall, DOI helps in enhancing the discoverability, credibility, and usability of digital resources, thereby promoting the efficient management and exchange of information in research and scholarly communities.


Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs) serve as a persistent and reliable means to identify and locate digital objects, such as journal articles, research publications, data sets, and other online content. The primary purpose of DOIs is to ensure that digital resources remain accessible even if their web addresses or other identifying information change over time.

DOIs enhance the visibility, discoverability, and citation tracking of digital content, making it easier for researchers, authors, and publishers to share, connect, and build upon existing knowledge. DOIs play a significant role in academic and research environments, where constant updates and modifications to digital content may affect the accessibility of these resources.

When a DOI is assigned to an online resource, it gets registered in a central database along with metadata that includes basic information such as the author, title, publication date, and the resource’s current web address. This centralized system, managed by the International DOI Foundation, allows users to locate resources by searching for their DOIs, regardless of any changes in their original web addresses or points of access.

The widespread adoption of DOIs has thus streamlined scholarly communication, facilitated consistent citations, and improved the overall efficiency of information retrieval in the digital landscape.

Examples of Digital Object Identifier

Digital Object Identifier (DOI) is a unique and permanent identifier assigned to various electronic documents and digital media, such as research articles, e-books, and conference papers. The identifier ensures easy access, linking, and citation of these resources, even when their locations change online. Here are three real-world examples of DOI technology:Research Articles: In academic research, scholars often reference other papers or research publications in their work. This is where DOIs play a vital role. By providing a unique identifier, researchers can easily locate and reference the exact document they are citing. For example, the article “Mapping sources of food safety information used by adults in Canada” has the DOI “1016/j.foodcont.

020″.Electronic Books (e-books): In digital libraries and e-book stores, DOIs are used for establishing the correct reference to a specific electronic book or chapter. For instance, the book “Digital Preservation Metadata for Practitioners: Implementing PREMIS” has the DOI “1007/978-3-319-43763-7”. When quoting this e-book or linking to it on the web, using the DOI will ensure readers always find the correct resource.

Conference Papers and Proceedings: When researchers attend academic conferences, they often present their work in the form of conference papers, which are then compiled into conference proceedings. DOIs are assigned to each of these conference papers, ensuring that they can be accurately cited and shared, regardless of where they are hosted online. For example, the conference paper “Searching for Voice in IoT” from the CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems has the DOI “1145/3300290”.

Digital Object Identifier FAQ

What is a Digital Object Identifier (DOI)?

A Digital Object Identifier (DOI) is a unique alphanumeric string assigned to a digital object such as a journal article, book, or report, to enable persistent identification and facilitate access to the content.

Why use DOIs?

DOIs provide a stable and persistent link to digital content, making it easier to both cite and locate. They reduce the risk of broken or dead links and allow for better tracking of usage and impact data.

How do I get a DOI for my publication?

To obtain a DOI for your publication, you should register with a DOI Registration Agency, such as CrossRef or DataCite, and follow their guidelines and procedures for DOI assignment.

How do I find a DOI for a specific document?

You can find the DOI of a document from the publisher’s website, or within the document itself, usually on the first page or in the header or footer. Alternatively, you can use various search engines or DOI look-up tools, such as CrossRef’s or DataCite’s metadata search.

How do I use a DOI in citations?

When citing a document with a DOI, include the DOI in the citation, typically at the end of the reference. Most citation styles, such as APA, MLA, and Chicago, have specific guidelines for including DOIs in citations. It is generally formatted as “”

Related Technology Terms

  • Metadata
  • DOI Registration Agency
  • Persistent Identifier
  • Handle System
  • Online content linking

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