May 21, 2022

Metadata: Changes at ISNI

Full Text of Announcement From ISNI:

2017-08-29_17-36-28The ISNI International Agency Ltd (ISNI-IA) today announces changes to its infrastructure focused on providing open identifiers for organizations working in the field of scholarly communications.

The will enable organizations to change and correct their own records and allow the research community to identify author affiliations persistently and authoritatively, thereby supporting analysis of research output and impact.

ISNI is already an open party identifier, widely used in various sectors and designed to work in many contexts such as resource discovery and royalty payment attribution. The ISNI Registry contains identity records associated with named individuals [8.75 million] and organizations [654,000] involved in the scholarly and wider media industries.

The ISNI-IA will manage its database of organization records separately. The information it contains will be published under a CC0 licence and data will be available as a download and through an API that enables both retrieval and resolution of ISNI records.

ISNI-IA will also set up an Advisory Board for the ISNI Organizations Registry to ensure that the scholarly communications community has open and transparent access to ISNI-IA and is able to steer the efforts to ensure adoption of ISNI Organization records and cross-walks between all of the important and relevant datasets.

The significant milestones leading to the launch of the ISNI Organizations Registry are:

  • Segmentation of the organization records and respective ISNI IDs into a database with a searchable user interface
  • The ISNI Organization IDs and associated core metadata available to all under a CC0 licence
  • Regular data downloads of the entire ISNI Organizations Registry
  • An API for retrieval of ISNI IDs and records with the ability to resolve an existing ISNI ID
  • An online form for organizations to supply updates to their own record
  • A new Advisory Board with representatives of the scholarly communications community to guide the efforts of the ISNI Organizations Registry

This development responds to the requirements of the academic research community for identifying organizations, as articulated in a number of working groups (initiated by Jisc CASRAI-UK, OCLC, ORCID/Crossref/DataCite, and others). ISNI-IA has been involved in much of this work and this announcement reflects the needs expressed by research organizations and ISNIs own membership  in particular for open access to core identification data and giving user groups influence over the direction and development of the system.

Tim Devenport, Executive Director of ISNI-IA said In working with the various groups that represent and service the research community, ISNI-IA has become aware that several key changes to the ISNI system would allow it to meet their needs much more effectively. ISNI was established by ISO as an identifier for organizations as well as individuals, and is already served by a number of Registration Agencies that have tight links to the research community. ISNI also plays a pivotal role in providing robust linking IDs, allowing cross-walks between it and other identifier schemas. Therefore, ISNI-IA has made the decision to address the issues expressed by the scholarly communications community, meaning more transparency, better technology and wider direct engagement with that community. We hope that this is met with enthusiasm across the board.

Read the Complete Announcement

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( 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, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.