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Where We Go From Here: An Update on EZID

Posted in EZID, and Persistent Identifiers

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Rather than thinking about EZID solely as a tool or a service, we want to situate it instead as one layer of a deep and broad persistent identifier portfolio at CDL. EZID is a great tool for creating and managing DOIs and ARKs—what else could it do?

For nearly a decade, California Digital Library’s EZID service has been the backbone of efforts to enable the open sharing, publication, and citation of research outputs through the use of persistent identifiers (PIDs) at all levels and layers of the scholarly communication ecosystem. EZID’s identifier services and N2T resolver have been used by institutions and organizations around the globe as well as across the University of California system.

Following the announcement of EZID service changes last August, we are in the final stages of a multi-year process to reposition EZID’s strategic focus and redefine its scope by transferring non-UC DOI clients off of the EZID platform to our partners at DataCite and Crossref. At the same time—and to reiterate what we have communicated previously—much of what EZID does will not be changing at all as a result of this transition: EZID continues to offer DOI services to UC members as before, and remains a key provider of Archival Resource Key (ARK) identifiers for users worldwide.

As we approach the end of this transition and as we begin the new year, we wanted to share some updates with our community about what we’ve been up to, where we’re at right now, and where we’re headed next.

The past

Since its inception, California Digital Library has been committed to providing both technical infrastructure and thought leadership in the persistent identifier space. Against the backdrop of major shifts in the ever-evolving scholarly publishing landscape, EZID has played a key role in helping institutions and individuals make their publications, research outputs, and other scholarly and cultural objects discoverable, citable, and manageable for both immediate and long-term access.

Originally envisioned as a possible one-stop shop for persistent identifiers of all stripes, EZID’s scope over the past decade has been more specifically focused on providing high-quality service for two types of PIDs in particular—Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs) and Archival Resource Keys (ARKs)—for clients both within the UC system and around the world.

The recent decision to transition the scope of EZID’s DOI services was motivated by the desire to support the growth of our community partners at DataCite and Crossref while freeing up CDL’s own resources to imagine and embark on new directions for the next 10+ years.

The present

The EZID team has been working steadily since August 2017 to transition existing non-UC DOI clients to DataCite and Crossref. As of January 2019, we have transferred the majority of these clients, and we have been in touch with all of our clients to support them in their transitions.

We understand that the transition process can require resources, time, and coordination, some or all of which may not be easy to come by. For those who are not already aware, we have provided guidance to help clients navigate this process, and we remain available for direct consultations by email and phone. Contact the EZID team if you have questions about this effort.

Meet EZID’s new service manager

In addition to the service changes that EZID has gone through in the past year, the EZID team itself has also been evolving. Following service manager Joan Starr’s retirement in June, CDL’s Perry Willett has been handling the day-to-day responsibilities related to client communications and support as our non-UC clients transition their accounts, all the while maintaining EZID’s service relationships with UC partners.

In November 2018, CDL hired me (Maria Gould) to assume EZID product management and service responsibilities going forward. I wanted to take this opportunity to formally introduce myself to the community, to let our clients and partners know to expect seeing a new name and face around these parts. Hello!

The future

So, what does the future look like for EZID? For the time being, expect a combination of business as usual and bigger-picture brainstorming.

While we will continue to provide DOI and ARKs for UC campuses and ARKs for non-UC clients on a day-to-day basis, we are also turning to the question of how we might leverage our unique capacity and expertise in the PID space to pursue new projects and other opportunities.

As part of this process, we are reframing the way in which we conceptualize EZID’s purpose and scope. Rather than thinking about EZID solely as a tool or a service, we want to situate it instead as one layer of a deep and broad persistent identifier portfolio at CDL. EZID is a great tool for creating and managing DOIs and ARKs—what else could it do? And how might it also support infrastructure, training, and outreach for a more networked and interoperable scholarly communication ecosystem through the use and coordination of persistent identifiers?

CDL has a long history of investing in initiatives aimed at building a more robust and coherent suite of scholarly communication options for the research and library community, and we are committed to renewing these investments in the years to come.  

Stay in touch

Whether you are a current or past EZID client, or perhaps merely interested in how persistent identifiers can support scholarly communication, please let us know if you have any thoughts or suggestions about new directions we might pursue in 2019 and beyond. We are keen to understand questions like:

  • How do organizations and institutions use and benefit from third-party identifier managers?
  • What are the identifier types that our communities need?
  • What are the knowledge gaps and training needs?
  • And more….

We will post more information in this space and conduct more targeted outreach with stakeholders as our plans begin to take shape.

We look forward to being in touch!

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