DOI: Basics and Resources

A Digital Object Identifier (DOI) is a unique and persistent identifier which provides a link to an object on the Internet via a registration and indexing service.

Why learn about DOIs?

DOIDOIs are often used in citations and discovery services to provide permanent links to online articles, ebooks, images, reports, and other types of online objects.  Publishers now regularly assign a DOI to each journal article or ebook (or ebook chapter) they publish.  Many times, when a direct link or OpenURL lookup fails, an item still can be located using its published DOI.  Even if an object changes location on the Internet, its DOI will remain the same (and point to the new location).

The Basics

The Digital Object Identifier system is an ISO standard (ISO 26324) officially maintained by the International DOI Foundation (IDF).  The IDF provides the infrastructure to support DOIs by governing independent DOI Registration Agencies.  It was created in 1997 with DOI becoming a standard in 2012.

Note that according to the IDF, a DOI is a “digital identifier of an object” rather than an “identifier of a digital object”.

DOI Format

Each Digital Object Identifier has a unique alphanumeric string made up two parts:

{prefix}/{local name}

The prefix is a numeric string beginning with 10. and followed by several more numbers, usually four (ex. 10.1103).  The prefix is assigned by a Registration Agency to a publisher, institution, organization, or other types of Registrant.

The local name (suffix) follows the forward slash and is a unique alphanumeric string (for that prefix).  The local name for an object is chosen by the Registrant using whatever naming scheme they want
(ex. PhysRevLett.116.061102).

If you’re curious about why the DOI has its particular structure, see the Handle.Net Registry Technical Manual.

DOI URL

A DOI handle can be converted into a useful URL by adding it as a path after the domain https://doi.org.

So, for the previous prefix and local name (suffix) examples above, the full linkable URL would be:

https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevLett.116.061102

Note that older DOI URLs use the http://dx.doi.org format which was deprecated in 2016 (but is still supported).

DOI Uses

As stated, the Digital Object Identifier often points to digital content such as journal articles and ebooks (or individual chapters or even data).  Because DOIs provide a permanent link to these scholarly works, they are now frequently included—and sometimes required by journal publishers—in citations.  Of course, the various style guides have rules on how to format them in citations.  Here is an example of an APA citation with a DOI:

APA citation with a DOIAll of the style guides offer help for adding DOIs to citations.  Major ones include:

Publisher sites and databases often include DOIs in the online article or ebook itself.  This makes it easy to cite or to make a persistent link in a reading list.  For example, if an article has a DOI, Elsevier displays it as a link after the title and author(s).

DOI in an Elsevier articleDigital Object Identifiers are part of the metadata indexed in library discovery services.  EBSCO Discovery Service, Primo, Sierra, Summon, and WorldCat Discovery all display a DOI field on search results or on item detail screens (if available).  Sometimes they are links.  Including the DOI is useful when the search result link is broken as it provides a secondary method for locating the resource.  For example, Summon displays the item’s DOI as a link when you expand the “Preview” section.

Summon result with DOIDOI Registration

For many years librarians and researchers have been using Digital Object Identifiers.  More and more librarians are becoming the creators and maintainers of DOIs as yet another type of metadata to enhance discovery and access.  As we have seen, DOI links point to a URL that serves as a central index and redirection service.  DOI URLs are translated into the actual URL of the target object.  So how does this index get built?

The central DOI index is maintained by several DOI Registration Agencies.  The most important of these is Crossref.  Publishers and other institutions become members and pay to create DOIs for their items.  With the rise of university publishing and institutional repositories, more universities are enhancing their scholarly output with DOIs to aid in their discovery and sharing.  Increasingly, librarians are assisting university faculty with creating DOIs as part of the publishing process.  Cataloging and scholarly communications librarians are frequently tasked with creating and managing the DOIs for these repositories.

Resources

Here are official resources to learn about DOIs:

  • DOI.org – Website of the International DOI Foundation (IDF).
  • DOI Handbook – Official source of information about the DOI system.
  • Driven by DOI – Watch videos and download brochures.

Library-related DOI registration agencies:

  • Crossref – Popular DOI agency for scholarly publishing.
  • DataCite – “[L]eading global provider of DOIs for research data.”
  • mEDRA – Multilingual European Registration Agency.

Useful DOI tools:

  • DOI Citation Formatter – Crosscite will format an entered DOI in one of hundreds of citation styles.
  • DOI Resolver – Google Chrome extension to create links and citations from a DOI.
  • Custom DOI resolver – Firefox extension to turn a non-linked DOI into a URL.

COUNTER: Basics and Resources

COUNTER (Counting Online Usage of NeTworked Electronic Resources) is an organization and a set of standards to report usage of library electronic resources by vendors and publishers.

Why understand COUNTER reports?

When database vendors and publishers use different methods of counting and reporting usage of their platforms and items, it is difficult for librarians to determine accurate use counts (and rejections).  Thus, it is hard to calculate the cost-per-use.  Different figures often make database comparison difficult when deciding between the value of two similar products.

COUNTER provides a way to standardize and compare database usage statistics across vendors and time.

COUNTER reports can also show demand for titles not owned by reporting access denied to books (BR3) and journals (JR2).  These reports can be helpful for library resource acquisition decisions.

The Basics

COUNTERThere are four types of item-type usage reports each with their unique statistics:

  • Books – Electronic or print monographs, including reference works.
  • Journals – Serials including conference proceedings and newspapers.
  • Media – Non-text items such as images and video.
  • Databases – Collections of online data.

The Title report is a combination of book and journal counts.

The Consortium report counts all usage across a group of institutions.

COUNTER Report Request Screen
COUNTER Report Request Screen

COUNTER statistics are reported on a monthly basis and reports can typically cover any custom time period in addition to calendar year.

Reports are distributed electronically.  Sometimes they are available from vendors as immediate downloads, but other times they must be requested and emailed.  “COUNTER reports are available in two formats: delimited files, which are readable using Excel and similar spreadsheet tools, and XML, which is delivered using SUSHI.”  The two types of delimited files are comma-separated value (CSV) and tab-separated value (TSV) files.

Download an example COUNTER report.

If the vendor allows, you can avoid the manual running and downloading of COUNTER reports.  COUNTER offers an automated way to accomplish this using  the SUSHI protocol.  “The Standardized Usage Statistics Harvesting Initiative (SUSHI) protocol is designed to simplify the gathering of usage statistics by librarians, and it uses a series of XML schemas to do this.”

The current version in widespread use is COUNTER 4, however some vendors still offer archived usage statistics using version 3.  COUNTER 5 is available and we will see vendors moving to it gradually.  EBSCO just announced that it is making its usage reports available in COUNTER 5 format.

While version 5 is the future, COUNTER 4 is still by far the most common version offered by vendors today.  Below is a list of all COUNTER 4 reports with a brief description of each.  Vendors, depending on their size and content, usually offer a subset of these reports.

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Library Websites Analysis

Drexel University Libraries Website

We analyzed 100 academic library websites.  To select the libraries, we used the U. S. News & World Report‘s Best Colleges National University Rankings.  For those 100 prominent universities, we found the website of the main library and looked at its homepage navigation, organization, terminology, and search tools.

We looked at trends in these areas:

  1. Navigation menu items to understand terminology and site organization.
  2. Discovery and search tool tabs.
  3. Headings for sections of most-used links.
  4. Headings for News carousels and links.

Continue reading “Library Websites Analysis”

Library Websites for the Top 100 Universities

Duke University Libraries

Sometimes, when evaluating your library’s website or services, you’d like to see how things are done at other institutions.  Why reinvent the wheel?  Maybe you just need some inspiration; seeing another’s layout or reading alternative wording can spark a brilliant idea.  Or you might just copy something that works.

U. S. News & World Report’s Best CollegesIf you find yourself wanting to browse other academic websites but don’t know where to start or how to choose them, this list of links can help.  This is not a list of the top 100 academic library websites.  Rather, it is a list of the library websites for the top 100 institutions in the U. S. News & World Report’s Best Colleges National University Rankings.  Use it to check a handful of sites or all 100.

Continue reading “Library Websites for the Top 100 Universities”

Open Access Week 2017

Open Access Week

International Open Access Week runs from October 23–29, 2017.  For all of the details, visit www.openaccessweek.org.

This year’s theme is “Open in order to:” with a blank line to highlight what open access enables your library or institution to do.

Open Access Week 2017

Open in order to:

Your library or institution is probably utilizing open access resources.  For Open Access Week this year, promote them to show how they can benefit your users.  Here are just a few of the ways.

Promote Institutional Repositories

Many institutions are publishing open access resources in institutional repositories, often administered by library staff.  Whether using paid proprietary platforms such as bepress’s Digital Commons or open source products CONTENTdm, DSpace, and Omeka, institutions can publish open access scholarly articles, journals, books, and data.

Does your institution have an institutional repository?  If so, promote it to your users—both creators and consumers.  Show faculty and staff how they can extend the reach of their published research and increase citation counts.  Teach users to find relevant open access resources written by their own professors and others in their field.

Also, help scholars extend their reach by helping them register for an ORCID (Open Researcher and Contributor ID), a unique 16-digit number which distinguishes them from other researchers in online resources.

Extend Electronic Resources Budgets

We all subscribe to must-have research databases.  But as subscription prices rise and library budgets are stretched thin, supplementing your list of paid databases with free, open access databases and journals makes sense.  Important scholarly works are now being published exclusively in major open access databases such as arXiv, HathiTrust Digital Library, and PLOS ONE.

Increasingly, traditional publishers and database vendors are joining the trend of open access and providing some free content.  Even if you don’t subscribe to their paid content, you can link to open access from publishers and databases.

Offer Free Textbooks and Other Educational Resources

Along with higher journal and database costs, students and libraries are faced with increasing costs of textbooks.  Librarians have led the push towards expanding the use of open educational resources (OER).  Encourage your faculty and staff to use open access textbooks when possible.

Learn More

Visit the Official Site

Visit the official Open Access Week website to see 2017 events and read their blogs to learn about what others are doing.  Download resources & media such as posters, handouts, stickers, and logos to promote the event.

TwitterFollow on Social Media

Follow and use the Twitter hashtags #OAWeek and #OpenInOrderTo.

 

Past Open Access Weeks

Get more ideas from our previous Open Access Week 2016 and Open Access Week 2015 articles.