Persistent Identification of Instruments


Group details

Secretariat Liaison: 
Lynn Yarmey
TAB Liaison: 
Larry Lannom
WGs Getting started (~0-6 months after RDA endorsement)

The Persistent Identification of Instruments Group seeks to explore a community-driven solution for globally unique identification of active instruments in the sciences.


Instruments, such as sensors used in environmental science, DNA sequencers used in life sciences or laboratory engines used for medical domains, are widespread in most fields of applied sciences. The ability to link an active instrument (instance) with an instrument type and with the broader context in which the instrument operates (including generated data, other instruments and platforms, people and manufacturers, etc.) is critical, especially for automated processing of such contextual information and for the interpretation of generated data.


The identification and description of instrument models and instances is gaining momentum. Several disciplines are using established controlled vocabularies (standardised terms) to identify devices. Advances in Semantic Sensor Web technologies (encodings of sensor descriptions that are machine-readable and interoperable) have resulted in new instrument metadata schemas. Some Persistent Identifiers (PIDs), such as Universally Unique Identifiers (UUIDs) or Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs) are already being utilised.


Our group aims to build on these developments and establish a cross-discipline, operational solution for the unique and lasting identification of active devices.



  • Explore the use of a globally unique solution to persistently identify active devices
  • Recommend a metadata profile to describe active devices that harmonises existing identification standards and complements existing metadata schemas
  • Explore methodology/technology to register and resolve the new PID
  • Operationalise the solution, engaging instrument developers and manufacturers in the process


Relationship to other RDA interest and working groups

  • PID IG
  • Data Versioning WG
  • Data Fabric IG

Recent Activity

06 Apr 2018

AW: [pid-instruments] [FYI] Meet-up at EGU: Discuss metadata schema

Dear Markus,
Thank you for this - the colleague Roland Koppe will be attending EGU and engage in the PID discussions with the group.
I‘ve just uploaded AWI’s Use Case as discussed in last video conference.
To all a nice weekend and a productive meeting next week!
Best, Ana.
Dr. Ana Macario
Computing and Data Centre
Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine, Bremerhaven, Germany

05 Apr 2018

[FYI] Meet-up at EGU: Discuss metadata schema

Dear all,
for those who attend EGU, there will be a meet-up on persistent
identification of instruments:
Wed, 11 April, Starting at 16:30, Hall X3, X3.56
Co-located with the poster:
Use of the ENVRI Reference Model to Support the Design of Environmental
Research Infrastructures. Abraham Nieva de la Hidalga, Alex R. Hardisty,
Barbara Magagna, Paul W. Martin, and Zhiming Zhao, Wed, 11 Apr,
15:30–17:00, Hall X3, X3.56

21 Mar 2018

facility and instrument IDs in astronomy

People might be interested in the International Virtual Observatory Alliance work on PIDs for facilities and instruments.
Bob Hanisch
- - - - -
Dr. Robert J. Hanisch
Director, Office of Data and Informatics
Material Measurement Laboratory
National Institute of Standards and Technology

06 Mar 2018

Fwd: RDA Council Endorsement - Persistent Identification of Instruments WG

Just in time for the call tomorrow, some very good news from RDA!
Cheers, m.
---------- Forwarded message ---------
From: Yarmey, Lynn Rees <***@***.***>
Date: Tue, Mar 6, 2018 at 3:41 PM
Subject: RDA Council Endorsement - Persistent Identification of Instruments
To: markus.stocker <***@***.***>, ***@***.*** <
***@***.***>, ***@***.*** <***@***.***>,
***@***.*** <***@***.***>

28 Feb 2018

CANCELLED: Splinter session: Requirements for sensor and instruments...

Dear all,
thank you for the feedback! Most of you would prefer to visit the posters,
so I decided to cancel the meeting and released the room...
I would propose we'll meet at Abrahams ENVRI Reference Model poster:
where we'll have a good overview of Environmental RI architecture. I think
this one is best suited to discuss PID for instruments requirements in
best regards,

27 Feb 2018

Next Call March 7, 9 am UTC: Finalize P11 session

We will have our next call on Wednesday, March 7, at 9 am UTC. Following
the poll, this is now the regular time and suits both Australia and Europe.
Americas-based colleagues, please signal interest for calls that suit your
timezone(s). Perhaps we can discuss this at P11.
The main aim of the call is to finalize the P11 session.
Call notes here: