This essay sketches technical and non-technical issues around persistent identifiers(henceforth PIs) in a manner which makes no attempt to be complete. Our goal isto rescue the core notions from the obscurity which detail and completeness burdensthem with. A reader willing to entertain the idea of their necessity should be able tocut to the chase and follow a more complex and involved debate after reading this. Our hope is that in isolating the core issues we will enable a more founded discussionof the social and political issues involved in PIs.
Keywords: Persistent Identifier, handle, DOI, data, trust, URN, RePEc