Persistent Identification of Instruments


Group details


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

21 Nov 2017

Use case from GEOFON

Dear all,
you can find a new Google doc in the Google Drive for the group with the
GEOFON use cases. Take it as a first draft, because conceptually is
complete, but I would like to review it in a couple of days again, to
clean it up a little bit.
Javier Quinteros
Tel.: +49 (0)331/288-1931
Fax: +49 (0)331/288-1277
Email: ***@***.***

17 Nov 2017

Use case HZB

Dear all,
in order to start the collection, I did the exercise to formulate a
use case description for the persistent identification of instruments
from the point of view of HZB. I uploaded it to the group's file
repository, see
Best regards,
Rolf Krahl <***@***.***>
Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie (HZB)
Albert-Einstein-Str. 15, 12489 Berlin

13 Nov 2017

Next Call November 20, 2 pm CET (1 pm UTC): WG Value Proposition

We will have our next call on Monday, November 20, at 2 pm CET (1 pm UTC).
The aim of the call is to discuss the WG Value Proposition. (Value
Proposition: A specific description of who will benefit from the adoption
or implementation of the WG outcomes and what tangible impacts should
You can find the document here:

01 Nov 2017

Next Call tomorrow, 1 pm UTC (2 pm CET): WG Charter Update

This comes admittedly late and with short notice, but we will have our next
call tomorrow, Thursday November 2, at 2 pm CET (1 pm UTC).
The aim of the call is to review the current state of the WG Charter.
Thanks Lou for the first draft! We can now discuss and revise it.
You can find the document here:

11 Oct 2017

Next Call Monday, October 16, 2-3 pm CEST: WG Charter

we will have our next conference call on Monday, October 16, 2-3 pm CEST
(note the earlier time to accommodate people from Australia). During this
call we will work on the WG Charter, i.e. draft a concise articulation of
what issues the WG will address within a 18 month time frame and what its
“deliverables” or outcomes will be.
WG Case Statement:

04 Oct 2017

Group decision to focus on instruments alone

at the call on Monday, we agreed among the participants to limit the scope
of this WG to developing a concept for persistent identification of
instrument *instances*. This means:
- Platform (as concept and instance) is out of scope
- Deployment (as concept and instance) is out of scope
- Instrument model is out of scope
- Relationships between platform and deployment are out of scope
- Relationships between instrument instance and instrument model identifier
may be in scope

15 Sep 2017

[FYI] Refined agenda, remote access, session notes

As noted on the session page [1], we will have remote access. I am copying
the GoToMeeting link here:
Also, we have the possibility to collaboratively take notes during the
meeting using this Google Doc:
Finally, the refined agenda: