18 Apr Introducing DOIs to Atlanta Studies
The editorial staff of Atlanta Studies is proud to announce the latest development in our mission to develop and distribute high-quality digital scholarship about and for Atlanta: adopting Digital Object Identifiers (DOI) for our blog posts and articles. In this post, I explain how DOIs establish a permanent link to online content and play an important role in creating sustainable and sharable digital scholarship.
What is a DOI?
A Digital Object Identifier is a unique sequence of numbers and letters that identifies intellectual property on the web. This unique identifier also provides a permanent link to this content. Introduced in 2000 and managed by the International DOI Foundation (IDF), this identification system was designed to solve an emerging problem in digital scholarship: citation instability. Unlike print scholarship, web-based content is subject to frequent platform migrations or directory changes – both of which may render the original web address (or URL) obsolete. This means that citations of online content employing URLs are only as effective as the stability of their publisher’s web platform. If you think of an article’s URL as a mailing address, a DOI is a Social Security number.1 While the former identifies a current residence, the latter identifies the resident itself. When citing a given work, locating a source is important, but the primary function is identifying intellectual property. DOIs serve this function while also offering a way to anchor the location of digital scholarship on the shifting seas of online content.
An example of a 404 broken link error, also known as “dangling reference” or “link rot.”
How Does it Work?
Upon publication of a piece in Atlanta Studies, the journal will register the URL and important metadata (i.e. title, author, date) with Crossref, one of many designated DOI Registration Agencies (RA). These RAs submit this registration to the International DOI Foundation (IDF) and receive a unique DOI that can be used as a permanent link in academic citations of the piece. In the event that Atlanta Studies migrates to a new domain (as we did in 2017), we can simply update the URL with Crossref, leaving the DOI and any accumulated citations throughout the web unaffected.
In addition to integrating this process with our current publishing procedures, implementing DOIs involves registering our back-catalog of over a 150 blog posts and articles. This work has been a great chance for me to explore Atlanta Studies publications on early country music recordings and W. E. B. Du Bois’ work during the birth of modern sociology in America – two subjects close to my own research agenda. You’ll now find academic citations and DOIs at the footer of every Atlanta Studies blog post or article.
Crossref is one of many DOI Registration Agencies (RA) designated by the International DOI Foundation (IDF).
Why Is It Important?
This change will advance the mission of Atlanta Studies in several ways. First, the adoption of DOIs provides our authors with a sustainable way to refer interested parties to their work on Atlanta Studies. Second, the adoption of DOIs encourages our readers to share and cite digital content with a wide audience. To this end, we have included a Chicago-style citation and DOI at the footer of every blog post and article. In addition, by registering our digital scholarship with Crossref, Atlanta Studies is now part of a growing academic community. As of early 2019, over 175 million DOIs have been assigned through various RAs.2 Interested readers are now able to find our content from all corners of the web.
We are excited about this new development and look forward to sharing more work on the past, present, and future of our city.
Screenshot of www.crossref.org, March 20th 2019.
- “What Is a DOI and How Do I Use Them in Citations?” UIC University Library, accessed April 11, 2019, https://library.uic.edu/help/article/1966/what-is-a-doi-and-how-do-i-use-them-in-citations.
- “Frequently Asked Questions about the DOI System,” DOI, updated March 6, 2019, http://www.doi.org/faq.html.