About DOIs > What is a DOI?

What is a DOI?

Similar to a bar code for a physical object, a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) name is a unique alphanumeric string assigned to a digital object, such as an electronic journal, article, report, or thesis.  Each DOI name is unique and serves as a stable, persistent link to the full-text of an electronic item on the Internet. Unlike a URL, a DOI name doesn't change over time; even if the item moves to a new location, the DOI name stays the same.

DOI names are the only widely adopted persistent identifier for scholarly works. DOI names appear in printed materials and online as links.

A DOI name consists of two segments:

In this sample DOI name:


Print, PDF, and HTML versions of the same digital item all use the same DOI names. Generally, a DOI name points to the item in a single location; however, with multiple resolution, it is possible to point to more than one location.


persistent link to this page link

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