Object ID is the international standard for describing cultural objects, to facilitate their identification in case of theft. It includes measurements, the medium or materials used, the theme, maker/artist and any distinguishing features, as well as guidelines on photographing the item.
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 and 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;
- The insurance industry.
Object ID meets the requirements of INTERPOL for the description of cultural objects to be entered in its database.