Q. What is a DOI (Digital Object Identifier)? Do I need to use this in my APA reference page citation entries?


A DOI (Digital Object Identifier) is:

  • A unique number assigned to electronic objects (such as journal or magazine articles). 
  • Something like the following: 10.1000/182. (This, by the way, is the DOI for the DOI Handbook, which will provide more detailed information about the system than what you will find here.) 
  • Used to provide access to and information about digital content independent of the sources (particular databases or resources) in which it can be found.

As yet, not all electronic resources in the Baker Library system provide access to a DOI for all of their articles and other content.  For this reason, although strict APA recommends using a DOI in place of retrieval information, Baker's official version of APA 6th edition still has you list the source in the following format:

... Retrieved from <Database Name> database.

If the resource in question does list a DOI, this can be used in place of the above statement, in the following format:

... doi:10.xxxx/xxx

Note: This supercedes the instructions in APA: The Easy Way! (2nd edition) on p.39-40.

A link has been provided below to the official DOI System site, so that you can find more information about the system, and also so that you can "resolve" a DOI, or find more information about an article or resource (or simply find the resource) given a DOI.

If you have any questions about this topic, please contact your campus librarians for more information.


  • Last Updated Jan 30, 2018
  • Views 953
  • Answered By Online Librarians

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