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2 minutes to read Posted on Wednesday June 5, 2024

Updated on Wednesday June 5, 2024

portrait of Hugo Manguinhas

Hugo Manguinhas

Head of Engineering , Europeana Foundation

portrait of Maša Škrinjar

Maša Škrinjar

Metadata Coordinator , Europeana Foundation

portrait of Nuno Freire

Nuno Freire

Senior Data Specialist , None

Policy for persistent identifiers in the data space

Discover the first version of our policy and share your feedback!

An aqueduct over a broad river, with trees on either side
"Nötesundsbron, förbinder Orust med fastlandet vid Bokenäset".
1960 - 1980
Bohuslän Museum

The Europeana Initiative is issuing a first version of the policy for persistent identifiers for data partners assigning identifiers to resources being shared in the data space. The policy contains 20 principles which, when adhered to, help ensure the persistence of identifiers. On this page you can directly interact with the policy and leave feedback about it, including rating some of the key principles.

As a data partner or potential data partner of Europeana and the common European data space for cultural heritage we would really love to hear from you. We need your perspective in order to develop an understanding of the procedures and workflows implemented by data partners. This is crucial for the Europeana Initiative, as data space steward, to understand how our policy will work in practice. This will also help us to mitigate potential risks and, ultimately, will enhance the trustworthiness of the data available in the data space!

The interactive Policy

If you would like to share your feedback directly via the Interactive Policy then please do so here. You can also learn more about the role of Persistent Identifiers in the data space in the following section.

Interact with our policy here and help us understand the practices at your organisation:

Persistent Identifiers (PIDs) and the common European data space for cultural heritage

The persistence of identifiers relies on a combination of technological and organisational endeavours. It depends on the (technical) services built around them and ongoing commitment to their sustainability from operators of PID systems or infrastructures. At the same time, it is equally important for organisations or individuals overseeing PID implementation and its management to demonstrate responsibility and commitment.

In the context of the data space for cultural heritage we want to work with data partners seeking to implement and contribute (P)IDs. Data partners’ identifiers will be acknowledged as persistent as long as they adhere to the principles outlined in the policy. Data partners must also demonstrate compliance through transparent documentation of their approaches in their own institutional policies, which are understood as an important indicator of institution’s commitment to PID implementation and its continuous administration.

When different identifiers for the same cultural heritage resource are used across several organisations, or even within the same organisation, different identifiers are employed over time, resulting in challenges when attempting to unambiguously identify and locate the resource and its associated information. URLs pointing to resources are vulnerable to becoming broken or inaccessible, leading to link rot, which disrupts all forms of (re)use and negatively impacts traffic towards the organisation’s website as well as its search engine optimisation (SEO) ranking. Using persistent identifiers to provide stable references to resources is a crucial step towards ensuring reliable identification, location and access. Persistent identification plays a vital role in enhancing the reuse of cultural heritage resources by providing more change resistant and citable identifiers that facilitate discovery and proper attribution.

The adoption of persistent identifiers by cultural heritage institutions holding digital collections shows commitment towards interoperability and data access that in turn builds trust in the institution and the data it creates. This practice supports the dissemination and reuse of cultural heritage objects across academic, cultural, scientific, and commercial domains, helping to make them more accessible to audiences across the data spaces and contributing to the broader goals of knowledge exchange and innovation.


    Persistent identifier (PID): an association between a sequence of characters and a specific resource. The term ‘persistent’ refers to the identifier’s role in ensuring continued access to the resource and the data associated with it for the foreseeable future. Organisations identifying resources can implement in-house PID solutions, or rely on existing PID service providers. Some of the most commonly used PIDs systems are Archival Resource Key (ARK), Digital Object Identifier (DOI), National Bibliography Numbers (NBN), Persistent Identifiers for eResearch (ePIC).

    Landing page: a webpage that displays the PID, its ownership, metadata about the resource and access to the resource itself.

    PID assignment: the process of associating (existing) PID with the resource it is intended to identify.

    PID owner: an individual or organisation who mints (process of generating a new PID according to the (pre)defined scheme) and assigns PIDs to their resources and takes the ownership of the PIDs. They are responsible and accountable for the governance of a PID, such as keeping the information in the PID record and the landing page up to date, as well as maintaining the PID policy and ensuring compliance with the principles set by this document.

    PID policy created by a PID owner: a policy specifying the conditions and scope of PID assignment and non-assignment (ie. which types of resources and granularity are covered), lifecycle and version management, indicating what information is kept available upon deprecation of the resource, as well as resolution, limitations, scheme and adherence to standards.

    PID record: a machine readable record containing administrative information for the PID and a subset of the metadata of the resource that is openly available. It is used to facilitate automation of processes and interoperability within and across PID service providers, as well as other systems.

    PID scheme: a comprehensive set of rules and standards defining various aspects of PIDs, such as their format and syntax. Overall, it provides a framework for ensuring the desired attributes of PIDs, like uniqueness and opacity.

    PID service provider: an entity that is operating and offering PID services and infrastructure (e.g. registration, management, resolution services) for PIDs within a specific PID system, but does not typically have ownership rights over PIDs.

    PID system: a framework that comprises technological infrastructure and processes designed for registering, managing and resolving PIDs.

    PID user: an individual or organisation intending to use a PID to refer (or resolve) to a resource.

    Resolution: mechanism through which resources are retrievable by their (persistent) identifier using a standard protocol.

    Tombstone page: a variant of a landing page that informs users about the unavailability of the resource, the reasons for its unavailability and guidance for future reuse.