Creating Permalinks as Catalog Object Identifiers

Avatar for Martijn Hoogeveen
Creating Permalinks Using Catalog Object Identifiers (2)

A digital object identifier (doi) provides an actionable, interoperable, and persistent link to any type of digital asset. In other words, it is a mechanism to create unique links to objects that redirect a web user to the current URL location of the object. And, it is independent of the publisher’s web domain. Furthermore, it should work forever. The ISO 26324 standard, describes the doi mechanism. It is a successful standard as in the field of scientific publishing; the doi became commonplace.

Is there a case for a similar system in the world of product catalogs? Would there be a need for a persistent catalog object identifier (coi), a doi-like mechanism, that could work independently of catalog providers like Icecat? We don’t know yet. But, we think it’s a good idea to start adopting a few of its key elements. For starters, publish the unique Icecat Product Identifier of each product data sheet (PDS). And, furthermore, create permalinks that redirect to the current URL of the PDSs on Icecat. Theoretically, we can extend such a URL redirect system to the product URLs of brands. But also to other third-party publishers to maintain and guarantee the corresponding destination URLs.

Digital object identifier standard

The doi standard for research publications has a format, for example, like this: doi:10.1038/issn.1476-4687. The prefix consists of a fixed “10” as a directory indicator, plus a dot-separated registrant code, and the unique suffix behind the slash-forward consists of an alphanumerical string. It can be preceded by an alphanumerical identifier (in this example, “ISSN”). Dots are used as separators both in the prefix and the suffix and are not limited.

In the case of Icecat, only the suffix part is important. Therefore, our adapted coi mechanism could produce permalinks that look like:

  • (using unique Icecat product IDs)
  • (using brand + product code as unique key)
  • (using unique GTIN codes)

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