URN—a name that sticks

The URN indicates the name of an online resource permanently and regardless of location.

The “uniform resource name” is meant to denote the name of an online resource permanently and regardless of location. In contrast to the URL, this means that the place where this online resource is located is not given here, only its name. Let’s use a postal address as an example to make things clear. If Jill Smith lives at 30 High Street, then her URL would be 30 High Street, while Jill Smith would be the URN. If Jill Smith moves to 14 Station Road, she remains Jill Smith (URN), only her URL has changed. Also, Jill Smith could have primary and secondary residences, just as an online document can be located on two websites and therefore accessible under different URLs. The allocation of a URN is useful for all online publications that should be permanently citable. If you publish your thesis online in open access, the URN is a must: the Deutsche Nationalbibliothek (DNB) has the goal of allocating URNs free of charge to all German theses and post-doctoral theses that are available on the internet. If you are now panicking that you have to take care of that early on, we can put your mind at rest: if you publish your thesis online via your university library or via a publisher, the institution behind it will ensure that your thesis receives a URN and that the current URL is stored at DNB. The DNB also offers a service at nbn-resolving.org to convert URNs into valid URLs.