October 26, 2021

Metadata: International Standard Name Identifier (ISNI) Assignments Top 7 Million

From Bowker:

Exponential growth in assignments has led to more than 7 million names receiving the ISO-certified [ISO 27729:2012] International Standard Name Identifier known as “ISNI”. 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, syncing alternate or disparate spellings of the same name, and eliminating confusion when names are alike.


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. 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 held in their databases by or about that party. The ISNI then acts as a link for data. So, for example, information about Brian Cox, the physicist and musician, can be linked across research he has done at CERN and music database entries for his former band D:Ream.


Currently, there are more than 700,000 researchers whose names have been assigned ISNIs and 480,000 institutions with ISNI assignments. “These numbers are expected to grow significantly, as organizations such as Macmillan’s Digital Science, LaTrobe University, and the National Library of New Zealand have joined the ISNI International Agency as members,” said Laura Dawson, Product Manager for Identifier Services at Bowker,

Note: You can search for ISNI’s using this interface. 
For example, my ISNI is 0000 0001 1491 993X

Don’t have an ISNI?

See Also: Review the ISNI Knowledgebase

See Also: ISO Publishes the ISNI Standard (March 19, 2012)

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.