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Research Guides

Persistent Identifiers: About Persistent Identifiers

Tools to help researchers create long-lasting persistent identifiers.

What are Persistent Identifiers?

A persistent identifier (PI or PID) is a long-lasting reference to a document, file, web page, or other digital object. Most PIDs have a unique identifier which is linked to the current address of the metadata or content. Unlike URLs, PIDs are often provided by services that allow you to update the location of the object so that the identifierconsistently points to the right place without breaking.


Persistent Identifiers covered in this guide:


Permalinks are URLs that are intended to remain the same, limiting the amount of URL changes that can render objects unfindable. These links are often short and easy for people to type. These URLs need to be actively maintained to continue to be persistent. See the links below for more information about each service.


  • ResearchWorks (UW’s institutional Repository)

    • Provides a long-term location to deposit theses, dissertations, articles, and other outputs of UW research, including some datasets

    • Provides a stable URL

    • Dedicated to long-term preservation

  • Open Science Framework (OSF)

    • OSF is a collaborative platform for research, projects and publication

    • Provides a stable URL with Globally Unique Identifiers (GUID)

    • URLs look like 


    • Creates a persistent snapshot of a webpage; captures its state on a particular date and time

    • Stores that snapshot and provides a persistent URL to be used as a reference or citation

Related Links & Guides

Research Data Services Librarian

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Jennifer Muilenburg
Subjects: Data Resources