Developing Identifiers for Heritage Collections

A persistent identifier (PID) is a long lasting reference to a resource, such as a collection item, book, or object. It can also refer to canonical metadata, e.g. a creator of an object. Examples of PIDs include archival resource keys (ARKs), persistent URIs and digital object identifiers (DOIs). Generally a persistent identifier can be presented as an actionable link which can be used to access the resource or metadata about the resource.

Icon illustrating example of a PID embedded in a webpage.

Why use PIDs?

Persistent identifiers have a number of potential benefits. They allow you to reliably link to your collection around the web and in publications. They also make it easier to track the use of your resources where they are cited elsewhere.

Getting started

How to use this resource
How to use this resource

Baseline implementation
Baseline implementation

Which PID does what?
Which PID does what?


Aspects of Developing PIDs for Collections

Adding PIDs to existing metadata
Adding PIDs to existing metadata

Identifying collection items with links
Identifying collection items with links

Managing persistent links locally
Managing persistent links locally

Human readable PIDs
Human readable PIDs

Machine readable PIDs
Machine readable PIDs

Globally resolvable PIDs
Globally resolvable PIDs


Guidance on implementing identifiers

How to guarantee persistence?
How to guarantee persistence?

How to implement human readable PIDs?
How to implement human readable PIDs?

How to implement machine readable PIDs?
How to implement machine readable PIDs?

How to implement globally resolvable  PIDs?
How to implement globally resolvable PIDs?

How much does it cost to implement PIDs?
How much does it cost to implement PIDs?

How to have resources cited using PIDs?
How to have resources cited using PIDs?


Supporting Materials

Glossary
Glossary

Use case mapping
Use case mapping


This resource describes the different aspects of developing persistent identifiers (PIDs) in the context of Heritage Collections. Following consultation through May 2021, the resource is now available in a revised version and will be maintained until the conclusion of the Towards a National Collection programme in 2025.

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