Object ID

Object ID is the international standard for describing cultural objects, in order to facilitate their identification in case of theft.

In order to combat the illicit trade in cultural objects, international collaboration among a variety of types of organizations in both the public and private sectors is required.

The standard defined by Object ID is used by specialists and non-specialists alike. As such, it identifies broad concepts rather than specific fields and uses simple, non-technical vocabulary. It has been translated into 17 languages.

The standard was created with the following aims:

  • To provide a checklist of the information required to identify stolen or missing objects;
  • As a documentation standard that establishes the minimum level of information needed to describe an object for purposes of identification;
  • To develop information networks that will allow diverse organizations to exchange descriptions of objects rapidly;
  • To provide a solid basis for training programmes to teach the documentation of objects.

Object ID was conceived by the Getty Information Institute in collaboration with six key communities:

  • Cultural heritage organizations (including museums, national inventories, and archaeological organizations);
  • Law enforcement agencies;
  • Customs agencies;
  • The art trade;
  • Appraisers;
  • The insurance industry.

Object ID meets the requirements of INTERPOL for the description of cultural objects to be entered in its database. 

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