A key function of OpenSanctions is to merge entities from multiple sources - in particular sanctions lists - into merged profiles. Source and combined entities use different sets of identifiers to enable data integration.
As data is collected from a broad range of data sources, the same logical entity - persons, companies, even aircraft or addresses - may be referenced in several sources. To avoid duplicate search and matching results and allow for an integrated view of relevant information, these entities are combined when exported or shown on the web site.
NOTE: This guide is about IDs used by OpenSanctions to identify entities, not the identifiers - company registration numbers, passport, tax or national ID numbers - included in the data itself.
Check out our 2021 blog post to learn more about how we actually decide which entities to merge. In short, the process is the following:
ofac-, while those on the European sanctions list begin with
eu-fsf-. The remainder of the ID will be generated from the source data. It is often an identifier assigned by the data publisher, or some other key that remains stable over time.
NK IDs are random unique text identifiers. They are sometimes called canonical IDs in the data and documentation.
Q12345). Q-IDs are Wikidata item identifiers. They are preferred over
As you use entity data or import it into another system, you should be aware of the following rules in order to ensure data consistency:
ofac-81717) to a canonical ID (
Q12345). This transition would either happen if the same logical entity already exists in another source, or some time later, as a second source begins referencing the same logical entity.
referents attribute of the published entity data. This list can be used to update existing references to an entity if needed.
Q12345). However, this is not likely to be fully implemented in the near term. In the interim, people IDs will be a mix of QIDs and NK-IDs.