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Object ID

Object Identification is an internationally recognized standard conceived to document and identify cultural goods.

Object ID website

Object Identification (Object ID) is an international standard used for describing cultural objects, facilitating the identification of collections of archaeological, cultural and artistic objects in case of loss or theft. It sets a standardised procedure to document and describe these objects.

In case of theft, the information gathered using the Object ID norm can easily inform databases of stolen artefacts such as the INTERPOL database of stolen works of art. Object ID was created as a practical tool for facilitating the recovery of stolen cultural goods, and is now internationally recognised as a necessary and effective tool when inventorying a collection.

The standard was launched in 1997, conceived by the Getty Information Institute and developed through the collaboration of the world museum community, police and custom agencies, the art and antiques trade, appraisers and the insurance industry. ICOM holds the license rights to promote the use of this standard among museum professionals and, to this end, organises workshops on its implementation, in collaboration with UNESCO, WCO and INTERPOL.

The Object ID standard defines nine categories of information as well as four steps to fulfill the procedure. The categories are:

  • Type of object
  • Materials and techniques
  • Measurement
  • Inscriptions and markings
  • Title
  • Subject
  • Date or period
  • Maker

The four steps are divided as follows:

  • Taking photographs of the object
  • Informing the above mentioned categories
  • Writing a short description including additional information
  • Keeping the constituted documentation in a secure place

  • Partners

    As the foremost reference for museums and museum professionals, ICOM works with world-renowned partners to achieve common goals