The report “Implementing Persistent Identifiers: overview of concepts, guidelines and recommendations” shows you the impracticality of URN and URN:NBN – you do not even have to read any of the 70 report’s pages to find out: If you try the “persistent identifier” http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:gbv:7-isbn-90-6984-508-3-8 to get the report’s PDF, you get the following message by a resolver at http://resolver.sub.uni-goettingen.de/purl/?isbn-90-6984-508-3:
Unfortunately the URL could not be resolved. None of the underlying local document resolver were able to find a document with the given identifier. Maybe one of the services is down or a document with the number doesn’t exist. As your URL should contain a persistent identifier, please check again later.
I’d call this 404 2.0! Furthermore at http://www.cerl.org/news.htm one of the report’s publisher (CERL) points out to a review of the report at http://www.clir.org/pubs/issues/index.html#found – which gives you the current issue of CLIR issues (printed version’s ISSN 1098-6383 is not mentioned anywhere) instead of http://www.clir.org/pubs/issues/issues55.html#found. If you ask Google for the title you easily find the PDF. If you ask WorldCat for the ISBN 90-6984-508-3 you get a record where you have to click and search a lot to guess which link will bring you to the PDF – but it’s only the unresolvable URN again.
If people are already to dump to use existing identifier systems (URL, ISBN, ISSN) in the right way, I strongly doubt that persistent identifier systems will solve any problem.
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