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Nursing Resources: Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

What is the DOI?

Digital object identifier (DOI) is a unique alphanumeric string assigned by a registration agency (the International DOI Foundation) to identify content and provide a persistent link to its location on the Web. The publisher assigns a DOI when an article is published and made available electronically. The DOI is unique to an individual work. Not all publishers participate in the DOI initiative; therefore, an article may or may not have a DOI assigned.

All DOI numbers begin with a 10 and contain a prefix and a suffix separated by a slash. The prefix is a unique number of four or more digits assigned to organizations; the suffix is assigned by the publisher and was designed to be flexible with publisher identification standards.




Where to find the DOI?

  • Usually located on the first page of an electronic journal article, near the copyright notice or near the author's address.
  • May also be found in the Full Record Display of an article in a database, with the field labeled DOI.
  • Use this format for DOI in your references: doi:xxxxxxxxxxxx


Some style guides require a DOI (Digital Object Identifier ).  However not every database currently supplies this.


If you need a DOI for a particular article use this link to find it

DOI Example:

How to Use the DOI

  • The object it identifies is often an electronic journal article, but can also be a book or article in paper format, an image, a video etc.
  • If the object is available online, the DOI gives a permanent internet address for it.  
  • This means that a DOI is much more reliable for locating an online item than a URL which may change. 

Use a DOI to find full text

DOIs take you to the online object, wherever it is held!  It is the only information you need. To resolve a DOI, paste it into one of the following:

  • Summon (under the advanced search)