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General Description of RegID

RegIDs are the authoritative unique IDs guaranteed to identify a UW person permanently.  RegIDs are assigned to a person by the Identity Registration Service, the authoritative source for person data reconciled from several data sources which may represent multiple records and accounts for a single person.  A given RegID will always refer to the same person, regardless of name, status or affiliation changes.  

Characteristics of RegID

  • Who has a RegID? All persons in the UW Identity Registration Service.  RegIDs may also be used to identify certain non-person entities.

  • Assigned by: Identity Registration Service when new unique person record is created.

  • Early creation: RegIDs exist as soon as the person or entity is registered in the service.  This always precedes creation of a UWNetID which may take longer, or may never occur.
  • Permanent: Won’t ever change for a person, despite changes in that person’s name, status, or affiliations.

  • Unique for all time: No other UW person will ever be assigned the same RegID.  It’s possible, in rare cases, for two RegIDs to identify the same person in the case that human error results in the creation of two person records, eventually reconciled to one, for a single individual

  • Universally unique: Guaranteed to be unique within the universal space of UUIDs.  Applications managing users from within and beyond UW can safely use the RegID as a primary person key.

  • Format: DCE UUID structure, a 128-bit numeric value consisting of components representing timestamp and host machine (on which the uuid was generated) address information. 

  • Not user-friendly: RegID is not practical for display in GUIs or other use by humans.  It's meant to be used as an internal system ID and data storage key.

RegID Changes

While RegIDs are never recycled, it is possible that a person/entity in the Identity Registration Service may end up with more than one RegID and when this happens the Registry assigns one of those RegIDs as the primary RegID and the other as a prior RegID.

What Causes Multiple RegIDs to be Assigned to an Entity?

When the Identity Registration Service processes a new person record, it first checks to see if there are any existing people in the Registry whose information matches the new record. If the new record matches an existing person, the new record is associated with the existing person and a new RegID is not created. If no matching records are found, then a new person entity with a new RegID is created. At a later date, if we identify two person entities that match, the two records will be merged and both RegIDs will be associated with the person. Some of the reasons why an individual might not be matched initially even though another entry for that person exists include:

  • Not enough matching data exists to link the two records
  • The person's information was entered incorrectly in one of the records
  • The source of the matching data is not trusted enough to make an automatic join
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