Persistent Identification of Instruments


Group details

Secretariat Liaison: 
Lynn Yarmey
Not yet endorsed

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

12 Jan 2018

Splinter session: Requirements for sensor and instruments metadata and persistent identifiers Fwd: EGU2018 - splinter meeting request

Dear all,
thank you very much for your positive feedback! I have now reserved a room
at the EGU for Wednesday afternoon: 15:30-17:00.
Feel free to circulate this information within your projects and
communities. We have a room for about about 30 people..
best regards,
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: EGU2018 @ Copernicus Meetings <***@***.***>
Date: Fri, Jan 12, 2018 at 7:50 AM
Subject: RE: EGU2018 - splinter meeting request

10 Jan 2018

Re: [marine-swe-profiles] [pid-instruments] Splinter Meeting at EGU 2018

I unfortunately can not be EGU. Thanks to Lou for participating as PIDIns :-) RDA group. Is it possible to have a facility to participate remotely?
PhD Ecology
CNR - Institute for Electromagnetic Sensing of the Environment (IREA)
Via Bassini 15 (entrance Via Alfonso Corti 12) - I-20133
Milano - Italy

10 Jan 2018

Splinter Meeting at EGU 2018

Dear all,
there still are rooms available at the EGU 2018 to organize a joint "Sensor
and instruments metadata and identifiers' splinter session. We would have
1.5 hrs to discuss these issues. But we would have to be quick. If you like
the idea, please give me a quick notice and I would try to reserve a room
best regards,
Dr. Robert Huber,
MARUM - Center for Marine Environmental Sciences

27 Dec 2017

PIDINST WG Case Statement Published: Ready for Review

on behalf of the (prospective) PIDINST WG, I like to inform you that we
have published the Case Statement. The document can be found here [1], most
importantly the attachment [2]. Please inform us on next steps regarding
the review.
Best regards,
Markus Stocker (on behalf of the co-chairs Louise Darroch, Alessandro
Oggioni, Andrew Janke and the PIDINST WG)

15 Dec 2017

Next Call December 18, 2 pm CET (1 pm UTC): Clear remaining issues re: Case Statement

We will have our next call on Monday, December 18, at 2 pm CET (1 pm UTC).
Final call before the Case Statement and P11 Session Proposal deadline on
December 28. We will discuss any remaining issues and tasks on the Case
Statement. I will try to get some writing done by Monday.
You can find the document here:

08 Dec 2017

Next Call December 11, 2 pm CET (1 pm UTC): Discuss remaining aspects of the Case Statement

We will have our next call on Monday, December 11, at 2 pm CET (1 pm UTC).
Given the time pressure, we are calling for an additional meeting to
discuss any/all remaining aspects of the Case Statement. Apologies for late
notice. There will be one more call on December 18. To my understanding,
the Case Statement is due together with the session proposal on December 28.
You can find the document here:

06 Dec 2017

[FYI] WG Case Statement probably precondition for session at the Berlin meeting

Dear all,
in the context of another BoF Group, I learned that the IG Charter is a
precondition for a session at the Berlin meeting. I suspect that this is
true also for our WG Case Statement. This means that we need to step-up the
work to get it done before December 28. Not unthinkable but surely pretty
Cheers, m.

01 Dec 2017

Next Call December 4, 2 pm CET (1 pm UTC): Review WG Value Proposition and discuss Section 3

We will have our next call on Monday, December 4, at 2 pm CET (1 pm UTC).
The aim of the call is to briefly review the WG Value Proposition (address
issues) and, primarily, discuss Section 3 “Engagement with existing work in
the area” (A brief review of related work and plan for engagement with any
other activities in the area) and possibly start with Section 4 “Work Plan”.
You can find the document here:

30 Nov 2017

Next call Monday December 4, 2 CET (1 UTC)

our next call is scheduled for Monday next week, usual time, but I cannot
provide you with a connection link before tomorrow at the earliest (since I
am moving to another institution). Please mark the time in your calendars
and hold on for further instructions. If you have some spare time before
Monday, please contribute to the Value Proposition and/or note down your
thoughts on the next section ("Engagement with existing work in the area")