January 22, 2022

ISO Formally Publishes International Identifier Code that Uniquely Identifies Public Parties

From an ISNI Announcement:

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has now officially published the International Standard Name Identifier (ISNI) – a 16-digit code that uniquely identifies public identities of parties – as the ISO 27729:2012 Standard. Created by a global collective of organizations that serve parties across multiple fields of creative activities ranging from scientific research to music performances and beyond, ISNI creates a consistent link between public figures and works related to them. The identifier is shared across databases worldwide, making accurate links simple and straightforward.   

“The fundamental goal of ISNI is to provide a persistent identifier that can be shared and used by any organization that holds information on people and characters, reducing duplication of effort and improving accuracy,” said Olav Stokkmo, CEO of the International Federation of Reproduction Rights Organisations (IFRRO) – a founding partner in the ISNI agency.  “This is especially important for rights organizations in their efforts to reward creators, but we’re looking for the best possible result for any and all organizations that work with information about public figures.”


Despite its youth, the ISNI assignment process has been honed and is now fully established, with more than a million codes assigned. Individuals, their agents, or in the special case of fictional characters, their creators can apply for a unique number through a registered ISNI agency.  The agency then shares the number across the global digital information industry, enabling research organizations to apply it to content by or about the individual held in their databases. Users tapping into any of the organizations that use ISNIs need only a name and just enough background data to zero in on the correct identity.  Then, the ISNI will take over, connecting all the appropriate information.  Users can also start with an ISNI and find the identity and data that matches it.

Read the Complete Announcement (PDF)

Direct to ISNI Web Site

Search/Browse the ISNI Web Database (Powered by OCLC)

See Also: I² and ISNI: Improving the Information Supply Chain with Standard Institutional Identifiers
By Jody DeRidder. Information Standards Quarterly, 2011 Summer 23(3)

See Also: NISO’s I² (Institutional Identifers) Info Page

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.