January 23, 2022

Metadata: Bowker Reports More than 6.5 Million ISNI (Intl. Standard Name Identifier) Assignments Made

From Bowker:

More than 6.5 million assignments of the ISO-certified naming standard International Standard Name Identifier, known as “ISNI”, are ensuring the right information gets connected with the right name. Published in early 2012, the standard applies a unique 16-digit code to public identities, providing a single identifier that can be leveraged across many applications, helping to sync alternate or disparate spellings of the same name, and eliminating confusion when names are alike.

It’s been quickly accepted by information organizations, including Wikipedia.

The ISNI International Agency, a worldwide group of organizations that serve researchers, rights management organizations, authors, musicians, and other public contributors, created the standard to disambiguate names. The ISNI acts a link for the data about an identity and is used across all media industries. So, for example, information about Charles, Prince of Wales is distinct from information about Charles Prince, an author, or Prince Charles, an R&B artist, and the information attached to, say, “Tolstoy” is also attached to “Tolstoi.”


Once an ISNI is assigned by a registration agency, it is shared across the global digital information industry, enabling organizations to apply it to content by or about that party held in their databases. Users tapping into any of the organizations that use ISNIs will need only a name and just enough background data (such as a birth date or book title) to zero in on the correct identity. Then, the ISNI will take over, connecting all the appropriate public information. ISNIs are especially important for organizations administering rights, simplifying identification and administration of royalties.

Search the ISNI Database (via ISNI Portal)

Read the Complete Announcement (via Bowker)

See Also: List of Wikipedia Articles Using ISNI  ||| Wikipedia Example (ISNI Found Near Bottom of Page)

See Also: Standards: NISO Publishes Recommended Practice for Institutional Identifier

See Also: Who Are You? New International Identifier (ISNI) Connects the Right Person With the Right Credentials (12/12/11)

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.