Object IDs in NWB

This example focuses on how to access object IDs from NWB container objects and NWB container objects by object ID. Every NWB container object has an object ID that is a UUID string, such as “123e4567-e89b-12d3-a456-426655440000”. These IDs have a non-zero probability of being duplicated, but are practically unique and used widely across computing platforms as if they are unique.

The object ID of an NWB container object can be accessed using the object_id method.

from pynwb import NWBFile, TimeSeries
from datetime import datetime
from dateutil.tz import tzlocal
import numpy as np

# set up the NWBFile
start_time = datetime(2019, 4, 3, 11, tzinfo=tzlocal())
nwbfile = NWBFile(session_description='demonstrate NWB object IDs',

# make some fake data
timestamps = np.linspace(0, 100, 1024)
data = np.sin(0.333 * timestamps) + np.cos(0.1 * timestamps) + np.random.randn(len(timestamps))
test_ts = TimeSeries(name='raw_timeseries', data=data, unit='m', timestamps=timestamps)

# add it to the NWBFile

# print the object ID of the NWB file

# print the object ID of the TimeSeries

The NWBFile class has the objects property, which provides a dictionary of all neurodata_type objects in the NWBFile, indexed by each object’s object ID.


You can iterate through the objects dictionary as with any other Python dictionary.

for oid in nwbfile.objects:

for obj in nwbfile.objects.values():
    print('%s: %s "%s"' % (obj.object_id, obj.neurodata_type, obj.name))

If you have stored the object ID of a particular NWB container object, you can use it as a key on NWBFile.objects to get the object.

ts_id = test_ts.object_id
my_ts = nwbfile.objects[ts_id]  # test_ts == my_ts


It is important to note that the object ID is NOT a unique hash of the data. If the contents of an NWB container change, the object ID remains the same.

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