Webinar Series: Persistent Identifiers: What, Why and How?

Please join the THOR Project for a series of three webinars focusing on applications of persistent identifiers (PIDs). The first webinar will explain what PIDs are and why they are important. The second will dive a bit deeper, giving more insight into how to use PIDs and what services can be built on top of identifier systems. The series will end with an introduction to the PID (s)election guide: how to determine the most appropriate identifier for your needs.

Following these three webinars you will be fully up-to-date on PID systems; all webinars will offer enough time for Q&A. You can register here:

  • Webinar 1: Overview of PID systems, Jonathan Clark, International DOI Foundation
  • Webinar 2: Persistent identifiers: current features and future properties, Juha Hakala, National Library of Finland
  • Webinar 3: Persistent Identifier (s)election guide, Marcel Ras, Netherlands Coalition for Digital Preservation (NCDD) and Remco van Veenendaal, Dutch National Archives

All three webinars will be recorded and made available on the THOR YouTube channel. Full descriptions of the webinars can be found below. 


Webinar 1: Overview of PID systems

Presenter: Jonathan Clark
Date and time: 18 May, 16.00-17.00 CET
Register here


Are you intrigued, interested or simply a bit confused by persistent identifiers and would like to know more? Then this introductory level webinar is for you! The webinar will be especially interesting if you are working with digital archives and digital collections. We hope you will get a clear understanding of what persistent identifiers are, why they are important and how trustworthy they are. We will also discuss how you can determine the most appropriate identifier for your needs. There will be plenty of time to ask questions. Note that this will not be a deeply technical webinar.

Topics that will be covered include:

  • What are persistent identifiers?
  • The case for PIDs – knowing what’s what and who’s who
  • The data architecture of PIDs
  • What is social infrastructure and why is it important?
  • Review of current identifier systems
  • How to choose a PID System
  • Case studies in documents, data, video

Jonathan Clark is the Managing Agent for the International DOI Foundation (IDF) which is a not-for-profit membership organisation that manages the DOI (Digital Object Identifier) and is the registration authority for the ISO 26324 standard. Jonathan also works as an independent advisor on strategy and innovation. Prior to this he was at Elsevier for 20 years in various positions in publishing, marketing and technology. He holds a BSc and PhD in Chemical Engineering from the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. He lives in the Netherlands and when not working he can most often be found refereeing rugby matches.


Webinar 2: Persistent identifiers: current features and future properties

Presenter: Juha Hakala
Date and time: 1 June, 15.00 – 16.00 CET
Register here.


You should attend this webinar if you know what persistent identifiers are but are interested in knowing much more about what you can actually do with them. In other words, what are the services that are being built on top of identifier systems that could be useful to the digital preservation community? We will cover topics such as party identification, interoperability and (metadata) services such as multiple resolution. Following on from that, we will explain more about the next generation of resolvers and work on extensions, such as specification of the URN r-component semantics.

Juha Hakala is a senior advisor at the National Library of Finland. After obtaining a degree in library and information science from Tampere University, he has held various positions in the National Library since 1987. From the beginning he has concentrated on library automation, including standardisation. His involvement with persistent identifiers started more than twenty years ago, when URN syntax was established in the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). He is closely involved with the revision of URN syntax and various other URN-related on-going efforts in IETF, and the maintenance of standard identifiers of ISO TC 46.


Webinar 3: Persistent Identifier (s)election guide

Presenters: Marcel Ras and Remco van Veenendaal
Date and time: 13 June, 16.00 – 17.00 CET
Register here


You should attend this webinar if you want to learn about how to choose the most suitable identifier system for your needs, and how to implement persistent identifiers in your own organisation.

Cultural heritage organisations, regardless of size, are often hesitant to implement PIDs. They lack knowledge of what PIDs are, don’t know about their capabilities and benefits, and fear a possible complex and costly implementation process as well as the maintenance costs for a sustained service. The Digital Heritage Network and the Dutch Coalition on Digital Preservation addresses these issues in three ways:

  1. By raising awareness of (the importance of) PIDs in cultural heritage organisations.
  2. By increasing the knowledge regarding the use of PIDs within cultural heritage.
  3. By supporting the technical implementation of PIDs in cultural heritage collection management systems. How we did this on a nationwide scale will be explained in the webinar.

There are multiple PID systems. But which system is most suited to your situation: Archival Resource Keys (ARKs), Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs), Handle, OpenURL, Persistent Uniform Resource Locators (PURLs) or Uniform Resource Names (URNs)? Each system has its own particular properties, strengths and weaknesses. The PID Guide from the Digital Heritage Network’s Persistent Identifier project helps you learn and think about important PID subjects, and guides your first steps towards selecting a PID system.

Marcel Ras is the Program Manager for the Netherlands Coalition for Digital Preservation (NCDD). The NCDD was established in 2008 to promote national collaboration to ensure the long-term availability of digital information in The Netherlands. Marcel is NCDD’s Program Manager since January 2014 but has some years of experience in digital preservation. He started his digital preservation career at the National Library of The Netherlands (Koninklijke Bibliotheek), where he set up a web archiving program. From 2007 to 2011 Marcel was manager of the e-Depot department at the KB and responsible for acquisition, ingest and long term storage of digital publications in the library. As program manager for the International e-Depot, he was responsible for the development of the international e-journals archiving program of the KB in 2011.

Remco van Veenendaal is a Preservation Advisor for the Dutch National Archives (Nationaal Archief) in The Hague. He contributes to the (digital) preservation policies of the Nationaal Archief, and to the development and implementation of the e-Depot. In March 2015 he established Veenentaal. Veenentaal advises on applications on the intersection of language and computers, and how those applications can improve organisations’ opportunities. Remco has acquired more than fifteen years’ experience on the intersection of language and computers. Before joining the Dutch National Archives he was project manager of the Flemish-Dutch Human Language Technology Agency (HLT Agency or TST-Centrale), a repository for digital Dutch language resources.