Identifiers and CURIEs

Status: DRAFT

One of the GA4GH conventions is to use CURIEs as (external) identifiers.

This is a draft recommendation; please see also a recent discussion on Github, and the links from there.


CURIEs (“Compact URIs”) are namespace-scoped identifiers which can be expanded to Internationalized Resource Identifiers (IRI). A CURIE is comprised of two components, a prefix and a reference, separated by a colon symbol (:). CURIES are case sensitive, although for prefixes this practice is inconsistently being followed.


In GA4GH schemas, CURIEs constitute the recommended syntax for the referencing ontology classes or external references. Here, usually a CURIE as id is combined with a label for the text representation of the , such in the Ontology_term object prototype:

"onset": {
   "label" : "Juvenile onset",
   "id" : "HP:0003621"
"external_references": [
    "id" : "cellosaurus:CVCL_0312",
    "label" : "HOS"

Further Information

@mbaudis  @cmungall 2018-12-24
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