​Globally Unique Identifiers (GUIDs) (DOIs, ARKs, etc.)​

GUID is an acronym for 'Globally Unique Identifier'.  A GUID is also sometimes called a UUID or 'Universally Unique Identifier." A GUID/UUID is a globally unique ID (string) that identifies a digital entity (person, place, or thing) that needs to be managed and kept available for a length of time. GUIDs are being assigned to research data, research publications, people, organizations, grants, laboratories, and a growing number of places and things.

GUIDs are unique, registered with descriptive and administrative metadata, resolve to a landing page of metadata, and would potentially be persistent (PIDs) offering a seamless redirect or a tomb stone for any changes in resolution. GUIDs “resolve” to a landing page that should include either a complete citation or the GUID in eye readable, actionable (an active link) form. Citations of resources should include the GUID as part of the text of the citation.

GUIDs at the Smithsonian Institution include:

  1. Published materials – DOIs, Digital Object Identifiers:
    GUIDs to uniquely identify digital books, journal articles, theses and datasets:
    Use DOIs:
  2. Objects including collection items – ARKS, Archival Resource Key:
    GUIDs to uniquely identify collection objects, multimedia objects, archival objects and archival multimedia objects:
    Use ARKs:
    • SI collections and archival systems generate SI ARKs when objects are added.
    • Each collection and archival system has a unique datasetID that is part of the ARK. The datasetID resolves to the system. The following file contains the SI datasetIDs and systems to which they are assigned.  
    • If a new collection system is being developed please contact Bess Missell (missellb@si.edu) for guidance on a new SI ARK.
  3. People – ORCID, Open Researcher and Contributor ID; ISNI, International Standard Name Identifier; VIAF, Virtual International Authority File:
    GUIDs to uniquely identify researchers:
  4. Organizations, Projects, and other things:
    GUIDs to uniquely identify projects, activities, funding, organizations, facilities, and laboratory equipment:
    These types of GUIDs are very new, and some are still in development.
    • ROR: The Research Organization Registry. https://ror.org/search
    • Open Funder Registry: Provides a common taxonomy of over 13,000 international funding organization names together with unique IDs for each. See the help page. The list is available to download as an RDF file from GitHub, and is freely available under a CC0 license waiver.
    • RAiD: Research Activity Identifier. FAQ.
    • IGSN: International Geo Sample Number. A unique, persistent identifier that preserves the identity of a sample.
Last Updated March 28, 2024