One big problem that I'm regularly facing is that URLs for downloading Bioinformatics data (e.g., RefSeq releases or NCBI genome releases) disappear.

Does anyone have any good solution for this?

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    $\begingroup$ Do you have examples of specific URLs that have stopped working? Some projects try very hard to provide permalinks. $\endgroup$ Jun 1, 2017 at 2:50
  • $\begingroup$ Genome releases are versioned, so the URL may move but the data is still there. $\endgroup$
    – Devon Ryan
    Jun 1, 2017 at 6:47
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    $\begingroup$ Could you specify which platform or which kind of data you are looking for a stable URL? Many sites provide a ftp server for big downloads $\endgroup$
    – llrs
    Jun 1, 2017 at 7:19
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    $\begingroup$ I think this is a good question, maybe with minor modifications: URIs for big databases rarely disappear but stable identifiers aren’t always obviously marked (e.g. Ensembl defaults to “current” release rather than a stable URI). $\endgroup$ Jun 1, 2017 at 9:45
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    $\begingroup$ The question should be flavoured with some examples, but it rises a very good point. $\endgroup$ Jun 1, 2017 at 12:15

1 Answer 1


The Persistent uniform resource locator or PURL is one such solution, these are designed to be a bit more robust than permalinks in so much as they are supposed to survive the change of domain name. The bio ontology community already use them http://purl.bioontology.org/docs/index.html


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