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Faculty: Linking to Library Resources

Anatomy of a DOI

The Anatomy of a DOI

A DOI has a prefix, a slash, and a suffix. To understand how it's designed, let's use an example: The DOI for an article entitled "Atomic Force Microscopy of Cholera Toxin B-oligomers Bound to Bilayers of Biologically Relevant Lipids" in the Elsevier journal Journal of Molecular Biology is:


image of a doi: 10.1006/jmbi.1995.0238

DOI Prefix

In scholarly publications, the DOI begins with a prefix of 10.XXXX.

  • Each prefix is assigned to a specific publisher.
  • It always starts with 10, then a period, then 4 numbers.
  • Each publisher has a unique 4-number prefix.
  • In our example, the publisher is Elsevier and Elsevier's prefix is 10.1006.

DOI Suffix

A suffix is assigned by the publisher and can take any form the publisher chooses.

  • The suffix refers to a particular item available from that publisher.
    • In this case it refers to a specific article.
  • Elsevier has assigned the letters "jmbi" to the Journal of Molecular Biology. They developed their own code to identify each article within that journal.

Locating DOIs

Most articles provide a DOI near the title of the article. If you cannot locate a DOI, you can check to see if one is available by pasting the citation into CrossRef’s Simple Text Query (

Creating a Link Using a DOI

Creating a Link to a DOI

If you want to create a link to an article, book, or other object using a DOI, it needs a full address; just the DOI isn't enough.

  • The address (url) must go to the DOI website, which decodes it and directs the user to the correct location. 
  • This is called "resolving the url".

The website is at

Create a DOI link

Create a DOI link to a document as follows

  • Add the website url to the beginning of your DOI.
  • doi: 10.1177/1747493020913772
  • url
  • This goes to the DOI website, resolves the url, and sends you to the correct location - seamlessly. You won't see this happening; you'll just land on the site of the document.

Rockhurst Specifics

If the document has restricted access and Rockhurst Greenlease Library provides this access, the proxy server prefix is needed for off-campus authentication:


To give Rockhurst users access to an item from off-campus, the full link to our example would be:


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