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The implementation of such a persistent identifier system based on URL, URN and
URC is both an organisational issue as well as a technical issue.To implement a workable
identifier system, there is a need for a network of name registries for the central registration
of web resources. Such a network of name registries could be modelled on the already
existing Domain Name Server-system, and should be initiated at an international level with
one or more name registries at the national level.
With regard to the technological issues of a URI-system, only the URL-system is widely
used, whereas the other two resources identifiers, URN and URC are still explored and
have not been yet reached critical mass. Consequently, naming on the web should be one
focus in future RTD-programmes as a way to establish a "web of trust", and as a basic
requirement for any functioning rights management system for e-documents.
Persistent identifier services
There are a number of persistent identifier services available.
Persistent Uniform Resource Locator (PURL) server software can be downloaded
from the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) site <>
Digital Object Identifier (DOI) <>
Handle system <>
Legal problems to long-term preservation
Presumably, the responsibility for archiving and preserving digital material rests with the
creator or author of those resources.Yet, if the original owners fail to meet their responsi-
bilities, there need to be others to step in to intervene before the digital material is lost.
Traditionally, this kind of intervention has been done by libraries and archives. As copyright
issues are addressed, there is the need for suitable legislation that regulates handing over this
responsibility to a trusted authority. Such legislation needs to address intellectual property
rights and ownership, as well as moral rights and needs to address the widespread
uncertainty about the legal and organisational requirements for managing intellectual
property of digital information.
As stated by the Task Force on Archiving of Digital Information:"Addressing and
resolving the legal and practical questions of migrating intellectual property in digital form
necessarily involves a complex set of interested parties including the creators and owners of
intellectual property, managers of digital archives, representatives of public interest, and
actual and potential users of intellectual property". (Task Force on Archiving of Digital
Information, 1996: p. 6)
LOCKSS Technological systems to safe-guard the loss of electronic materials
Can an automated, decentralised preservation system protect libraries against loss of
access to digital materials such as electronic journals to which they have subscribed? Fear of
the demise of journals or problems with their publishers has inhibited library investment in
electronic resources. Staff members of the Stanford University Libraries, a major research
library system experimenting with automation, believe they have found one solution in a
system called LOCKSS.
LOCKSS, which stands for "Lots Of Copies Keep Stuff Safe," provides a bootable floppy
disk that converts a generic PC into a preservation appliance.The PC runs an enhanced
Web cache that collects new issues of the e-journal and continually but slowly compares its
contents with other caches. If damage or corruption is detected, it can be repaired from the
publisher or from other caches.The intent is to make it feasible and affordable even for