DOIs Available for Unidata Technologies

doi.org

Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs) are now available for select Unidata technologies. We encourage you to use the DOIs when citing or otherwise referring to these technologies, because they provide a mechanism by which the information referred to can be found even if the web address underlying the DOI changes over time.

DOIs are strings of characters assigned by a registering organization to uniquely idenfity a digital resource such as a document, software package, data set, or other electronic “object.” Once a DOI is registered, metadata about the object can be associated with the identifier and maintained separately from the object itself, so that changes to the object's location can be reflected in the DOI's metadata.

DOIs have been created for the Integrated Data Viewer (IDV), the THREDDS Data Server (TDS), and the netCDF libraries. The DOIs are assumed to persist indefinitely, so they are preferable to using standard URLs in your citations. The DOIs are:

Notice that the second version of each DOI shown above (the URL form that begins with http://) contains the same information as the first version (which begins with doi:). Both forms are correct, but current the current recommendation is to use the URL form, as it can be used directly as a hyperlink.

For more information on citing Unidata technologies, see How to Acknowledge Unidata.

How DOIs Work

DOIs are assigned to digital objects by a registration agency that is a member of the International DOI Foundation (IDF). IDF maintains the system whereby a DOI is resolved, meaning the unique character string of the DOI is used to locate the most current metadata about the digital object referred to. The metadata, which is maintained by the person or organization who requests the DOI from the registration agency, includes information about the current web location of the resource, and the resolving mechanism takes care of redirecting queries to the DOI to the appropriate location on the web. In most cases, this is transparent to the user; clicking on a DOI link (starting with http://doi.org) automatically resolves the DOI and redirects the reader to the appropriate location.

In the case of the DOIs for Unidata technologies, clicking on the DOI links currently redirects the reader to the corresponding page on the Unidata web site. The underlying URLs may change in the future, but the DOIs themselves will function properly as long as their associated metatdata are kept up to date. Unidata feels strongly that the added responsibility of maintaining the DOI metadata will be effort well spent.

Why Use DOIs?

Using the DOI to locate an electronic resource gives the person searching for the resource the best chance of finding it, even if it has moved from its original location.

For example, suppose a DOI is assigned for a technical document made available on a web site. Over time, the document may “move” from its original electronic location — perhaps it is transferred to an archive, or the hosting web site changes its structure. While the original Uniform Resource Locator (URL) that pointed to the document will no longer work, the document's DOI can be updated to point to the document's new location.

Future Plans

The three DOIs mentioned here are the Unidata Program's initial foray into creating identifiers for our technologies. We are looking at creating DOIs for other software packages, and investigating options for creating DOIs to refer to data streams managed by the Unidata Program Center.

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