Persistent identifiers externally resolvable in a human readable format


A PID can be presented as a link which resolves to a publicly accessible web page hosted by your organisation containing information and metadata about the item or concept.

  • Identifiers can be created by the organisation or an external agency
  • Metadata should have an open license to enable reuse

Potential Benefits

  • Collection items are persistently resolvable
  • Collection items are persistently citable
  • Can be used internally across systems as well as being externally visible
  • Can be used to track contents and location of the entire collection


Persistence of the identifier depends on both the persistence of the external provider, and on your own organisation's ability to manage your local web pages, so if you change the web site all existing external identifiers will still resolve.

Given the expectation that any identifiers will persist indefinitely, once you have minted identifiers it is difficult to reverse that step. The things you have chosen to identify, and the format of the identifier are decisions that your organisation will potentially have to live with for a long time.

Some external PID providers expect that you will supply metadata for each item identified, so you will need to have tools that can deliver that information.

If you want external identifiers to be used (e.g., cited) then you will need to make sure those identifiers are easily visible, and ideally provide a way for them to be cited.

Builds on

Compatible PID Types

For more compatible identifiers, see Which persistent identifier does what?


    The Rijksmuseum in The Netherlands uses handles to provide a persistent link to its collection items.

    Screenshot example from the Rijksmuseum's online collections.
    Screenshot example from the Rijksmuseum's online collections.