International Standard Name Identifier

The International Standard Name Identifier (ISNI) is an identifier for uniquely identifying the public identities of contributors to media content such as books, television programmes, and newspaper articles. Such an identifier consists of 16 digits. It can optionally be displayed as divided into four blocks.

ISNI can be used to disambiguate names that might otherwise be confused, and links the data about names that are collected and used in all sectors of the media industries.

It was developed under the auspices of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) as Draft International Standard 27729; the valid standard was published on 15 March 2012. The ISO technical committee 46, subcommittee 9 (TC 46/SC 9) is responsible for the development of the standard.

International Standard Name Identifier
IntroducedMarch 15, 2012
Managing organisationISNI-IA
No. of digits16
Check digitMOD 11-2

ISNI format

The FAQ of the websites states "An ISNI is made up of 16 digits, the last character being a check character." [1]

Format without space

Format with space

In display it is frequently shown with spaces.

Uses of an ISNI

The ISNI allows a single identity (such as an author's pseudonym or the imprint used by a publisher) to be identified using a unique number. This unique number can then be linked to any of the numerous other identifiers that are used across the media industries to identify names and other forms of identity.

An example of the use of such a number is the identification of a musical performer who is also a writer both of music and of poems. Where he or she might currently be identified in many different databases using numerous private and public identification systems, under the ISNI system, he or she would have a single linking ISNI record. The many different databases could then exchange data about that particular identity without resorting to messy methods such as comparing text strings. An often quoted example in the English language world is the difficulty faced when identifying 'John Smith' in a database. While there may be many records for 'John Smith', it is not always clear which record refers to the specific 'John Smith' that is required.

If an author has published under several different names or pseudonyms, each such name will receive its own ISNI.

ISNI can be used by libraries and archives when sharing catalogue information; for more precise searching for information online and in databases, and it can aid the management of rights across national borders and in the digital environment.


ORCID (Open Researcher and Contributor ID) identifiers consist of a reserved block of ISNI identifiers for scholarly researchers[5] and administered by a separate organisation.[5] Individual researchers can create and claim their own ORCID identifier.[6] The two organisations coordinate their efforts.[5][6]

Organisations involved in the management

ISNI Registration Authority

According to ISO the Registration Authority for ISO 27729:2012 is the "ISNI International Agency".[7] It is located in London (c/o EDItEUR)[8]

It is incorporated under the Companies Act 2006 as a private company limited by guarantee.[9]

The 'International Agency' is commonly known as the ISNI-IA.[10][11]

This UK registered, not-for-profit company has been founded by a consortium of organisations consisting of the Confédération Internationale des Sociétés d'Auteurs et Compositeurs (CISAC), the Conference of European National Librarians (CENL), the International Federation of Reproduction Rights Organisations (IFRRO), the International Performers Database Association (IPDA), the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) and ProQuest. It is managed by directors nominated from these organisations and, in the case of CENL, by representatives of the Bibliothèque nationale de France and the British Library.

ISNI Registration Agencies

A registration agency provides the interface between ISNI applicants and the ISNI Assignment Agency.[12]

List of Registration Agencies in order as on ISNI-IA website
Name (as on ISNI-IA website) Since Relation
Biblioteca Nacional de España (BNE) Spain
BnF (Bibliothèque nationale de France) 2014[13] France
Bibliothèque nationale de Luxembourg Luxembourg
British Library UK
Casalini Libri
China Knowledge Centre for Engineering Sciences and Technology (CKCEST)
Identification Agency (IDA) Russia
Koninklijke Bibliotheek Netherlands
Kültür ve Turizm Bakanliği Turkey
National Assembly Library of Korea South Korea
National Library of Korea South Korea
National Library of Poland Poland
Numerical Gurus
Program for Cooperative Cataloging (PCC)
Ringgold organisations, international
YouTube 2018[14] international

ISNI Members

ISNI members (ISNI-IA Members[15]) as of 2018-07-11:[15]

  • ABES (French Bibliographic Agency for Higher Education)
  • Brill
  • CDR (Centrale Discotheek Rotterdam)
  • Copyrus
  • FCCN
  • French National Archives (Archives nationales de France)
  • Harvard University
  • Iconoclaste
  • Irish Copyright Licensing Agency (ICLA)
  • ISSN International Centre
  • La Trobe University
  • Library of Congress
  • MacOdrum Library, Carleton University
  • National Library of Finland
  • National Library of New Zealand
  • National Library of Norway
  • National Library of Sweden (Kungliga Biblioteket)
  • Publishers' Licensing Services
  • UNSW Library

ISNI assignment

ISNI-IA uses an assignment system comprising a user interface, data-schema, disambiguation algorithms, and database that meets the requirements of the ISO standard, while also using existing technology where possible. The system is based primarily on the Virtual International Authority File (VIAF) service, which has been developed by OCLC for use in the aggregation of library catalogues.

Access to the assignment system and database, and to the numbers that are generated as the output of the process, are controlled by independent bodies known as 'registration agencies'. These registration agencies deal directly with customers, ensuring that data is provided in appropriate formats and recompensing the ISNI-IA for the cost of maintaining the assignment system. Registration agencies are appointed by ISNI-IA but will be managed and funded independently.

ISNI coverage

  • As of 5 August 2017 ISNI holds public records of over 9.41 million identities, including 8.757 million individuals (of which 2.606 million are researchers) and 654,074 organisations.[16]
  • As of 19 April 2018 9.86 million identities, including 9.15 million individuals (of which 2.86 million are researchers) and 714,401 organisations.[16]
  • As of 11 July 2018 10 million identities, including: 9.28 million individuals (of which 2.87 million are researchers) 717,204 organisations.[16]
  • As of 13 August 2018 10 million identities, including: 9.32 million individuals (of which 2.87 million are researchers) 717,795 organisations.[16]
  • As of 17 October 2018 10 million identities, including: 9.39 million individuals (of which 2.87 million are researchers) 719,010 organisations.[16]
  • As of 5 December 2018 10 million identities, including: 9.4 million individuals (of which 2.88 million are researchers) 826,810 organisations.[16]
  • As of 11 March 2019 over 10 million identities, including: 9.59 million individuals (of which 2.88 million are researchers) 864,999 organisations.[16]

In 2018, YouTube became an ISNI registry, and announced its intention to begin creating ISNI IDs for the musicians whose videos it features.[17] ISNI anticipates the number of ISNI IDs "going up by perhaps 3-5 million over the next couple of years" as a result.[18]

See also


  1. ^ "ISNI - FAQ". Retrieved 19 April 2018.
  2. ^ Office, Library of Congress Network Development and MARC Standards. "Encoding the International Standard Name Identifier (ISNI) in the MARC 21 Bibliographic and Authority Formats". Retrieved 19 April 2018.
  3. ^ "ISNI 000000012281955X Ai-en-ssu-tan (1879-1955)". Retrieved 19 April 2018.
  4. ^
  5. ^ a b c "What is the relationship between ISNI and ORCID?". About ORCID. ORCID. Retrieved 29 March 2013.
  6. ^ a b "ISNI and ORCID". ISNI. Archived from the original on 4 March 2013. Retrieved 29 March 2013.
  7. ^ "Maintenance agencies and registration authorities". Retrieved 2018-07-16.
  8. ^ "ISNI International Agency - ISNI International Agency". Retrieved 2018-07-16.
  9. ^
  10. ^ "ISNI". Retrieved 19 December 2014.
  11. ^ "About the ISNI International Agency". Retrieved 19 December 2014.
  12. ^ "Registration Agencies". ISNI. Retrieved 2018-07-16.
  13. ^ "BnF: First National Library In the World to Become an ISNI Registration Agency". ISNI. Retrieved 2018-07-16.
  14. ^ "YouTube Adopts ISNI ID for Artists & Songwriters". ISNI. 2018-01-22. Retrieved 2018-07-16.
  15. ^ a b "Members". ISNI. Retrieved 2018-07-16.
  16. ^ a b c d e f g "ISNI". Retrieved 19 April 2018.
  17. ^ "YouTube Adopts ISNI ID for Artists & Songwriters". ISNI. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
  18. ^ "Transcript: YouTube Knows Who You Are". Beyond the Book. 18 March 2018. Retrieved 1 June 2018.

Further reading

  • Karen Smith-Yoshimura, Janifer Gatenby, Grace Agnew, Christopher Brown, Kate Byrne, Matt Carruthers, Peter Fletcher, Stephen Hearn, Xiaoli Li, Marina Muilwijk, Chew Chiat Naun, John Riemer, Roderick Sadler, Jing Wang, Glen Wiley, and Kayla Willey. 2016. "Addressing the Challenges with Organizational Identifiers and ISNI." Dublin, Ohio: OCLC Research.

External links

Atsuko Miyaji

Atsuko Miyaji (Japanese: 宮地充子, born 1965) is a Japanese cryptographer and number theorist known for her research on elliptic-curve cryptography and software obfuscation. She is a professor in the Division of Electrical, Electronic and Information Engineering, at Osaka University.

Digital Author Identifier

In the Dutch research system, the Digital Author Identifier (DAI) system assigns a unique number to all academic authors as a form of authority control. The DAI links the PICA database in institutional libraries with the METIS national research information system.

The Digital Author Identifier is a unique national number for every author active within a Dutch university, university of applied sciences, or research institute. The DAI is prepared from the ISO standard “ISNI” (International Standard Name Identifier). The DAI brings several publications from an author together, and distinguishes between authors with the same name.

E-Theses Online Service

E-Theses Online Service (EThOS) is a bibliographic database and union catalogue of electronic theses provided by the British Library, the National Library of the United Kingdom. As of March 2018 EThOS provides access to approximately 480,000 doctoral theses awarded by over 140 UK higher education institutions, with around 3000 new thesis records added every month.

ISO 7064

ISO 7064 defines algorithms for calculating check digit characters.

ISO TC 46/SC 9

ISO TC 46/SC 9 is the ninth subcommittee of ISO technical committee 46, and is responsible for identification and description of information resources.

As of April 2008, the TC 46/SC 9 Secretariat was transferred to ANSI (U.S.A.).

International Securities Identification Number

An International Securities Identification Number (ISIN) uniquely identifies a security. Its structure is defined in ISO 6166. The ISIN code is a 12-character alphanumeric code that serves for uniform identification of a security through normalization of the assigned National Number, where one exists, at trading and settlement.

International Standard Audiovisual Number

International Standard Audiovisual Number (ISAN) is a unique identifier for audiovisual works and related versions, similar to ISBN for books. It was developed within an ISO (International Organisation for Standardisation) TC46/SC9 working group. ISAN is managed and run by ISAN-IA.

International Standard Music Number

The International Standard Music Number or ISMN (ISO 10957) is a thirteen-character alphanumeric identifier for printed music developed by ISO.

International Standard Musical Work Code

International Standard Musical Work Code (ISWC) is a unique identifier for musical works, similar to ISBN for books. It is adopted as international standard ISO 15707. The ISO subcommittee with responsibility for the standard is TC 46/SC 9.

International Standard Number

International Standard Number may refer to:

International Standard Book Number, a unique numeric commercial book identifier based upon the 9-digit Standard Book Numbering code

International Standard Serial Number, a unique eight-digit number used to identify a print or electronic periodical publication

International Standard Name Identifier, a unique sixteen-digit number used to identify the public identities of contributors to media content

International Standard Music Number, a thirteen-character alphanumeric identifier for printed music

International Standard Audiovisual Number, a unique identifier for audiovisual works and related versions

ISWN, the abbreviation of International Standard Wine Number, a coding scheme intended to give a unique identifier for each wine worldwide

International Standard Recording Code

The International Standard Recording Code (ISRC) is an international standard code for uniquely identifying sound recordings and music video recordings. The code was developed by the recording industry in conjunction with the ISO technical committee 46, subcommittee 9 (TC 46/SC 9), which codified the standard as ISO 3901 in 1986, and updated it in 2001.

An ISRC identifies a particular recording, not the work (composition and lyrical content) itself. Therefore, different recordings, edits, and remixes of the same work should each have their own ISRC. Works are identified by ISWC. Recordings remastered without significant audio-quality changes should retain their existing ISRC, but the threshold is left to the discretion of the record company.

International Standard Serial Number

An International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) is an eight-digit serial number used to uniquely identify a serial publication, such as a magazine. The ISSN is especially helpful in distinguishing between serials with the same title. ISSN are used in ordering, cataloging, interlibrary loans, and other practices in connection with serial literature.The ISSN system was first drafted as an International Organization for Standardization (ISO) international standard in 1971 and published as ISO 3297 in 1975. ISO subcommittee TC 46/SC 9 is responsible for maintaining the standard.

When a serial with the same content is published in more than one media type, a different ISSN is assigned to each media type. For example, many serials are published both in print and electronic media. The ISSN system refers to these types as print ISSN (p-ISSN) and electronic ISSN (e-ISSN), respectively. Conversely, as defined in ISO 3297:2007, every serial in the ISSN system is also assigned a linking ISSN (ISSN-L), typically the same as the ISSN assigned to the serial in its first published medium, which links together all ISSNs assigned to the serial in every medium.

International Standard Text Code

The International Standard Text Code (ISTC) is a unique identifier for text-based works. The ISO standard was developed by TC 46/SC 9 and published in March 2009 as ISO 21047:2009. The authority responsible for implementing the standard is The International ISTC Agency.

Léonce de Saint-Martin

Léonce de Saint-Martin, born on 31 October 1886 in Albi (France) and died on 10 June 1954 in Paris (France), was a French organist and composer.

As the successor of Louis Vierne in 1937, he was organist at Notre-Dame de Paris until his death in 1954.


The ORCID iD (Open Researcher and Contributor ID) is a nonproprietary alphanumeric code to uniquely identify scientific and other academic authors and contributors. This addresses the problem that a particular author's contributions to the scientific literature or publications in the humanities can be hard to recognize as most personal names are not unique, they can change (such as with marriage), have cultural differences in name order, contain inconsistent use of first-name abbreviations and employ different writing systems. It provides a persistent identity for humans, similar to that created for content-related entities on digital networks by digital object identifiers (DOIs).The ORCID organization, ORCID Inc., offers an open and independent registry intended to be the de facto standard for contributor identification in research and academic publishing. On 16 October 2012, ORCID launched its registry services and started issuing user identifiers.


ResearcherID is an identifying system for scientific authors. The system was introduced in January 2008 by Thomson Reuters.

This unique identifier aims at solving the problem of author identification. In scientific literature it is common to cite name, surname, and initials of the authors of an article. Sometimes, however, there are authors with the same name, with the same initials, or the journal misspells names, resulting in several spellings for the same authors, and different authors with the same spelling.

On the ResearcherID website, authors are asked to link their ResearcherID to their own articles. In this way, they can also keep their publication list up to date and online. A comprehensive view of an author's total output can thus be given, since not all publications are indexed by Web of Science. This is particularly important for researchers in fields that predominantly use peer-reviewed conference articles (computer science) or in fields that focus on publishing books and chapters in books (humanities and disciplines in the social sciences).

The combined use of the Digital Object Identifier with the ResearcherID allows a unique association of authors and scientific articles. It can be used to link researchers with registered trials or identify colleagues and collaborators in the same field of research.ResearcherID has been criticized for being commercial and proprietary, but also praised as "an initiative addressing the common problem of author misidentification".ResearcherID enables data exchange between its database and ORCID, and vice versa.

Ringgold identifier

A Ringgold Identifier (Ringgold ID or RIN) is a persistent numeric unique identifier for organizations in the publishing industry supply chain. Ringgold's Identify Database includes almost 500,000 Ringgold IDs representing organizations and consortia who acquire scholarly publications and content.The Ringgold ID was introduced in 2003. Ringgold developed it in response to an issue raised by Oxford University Press, namely how to identify institutional subscribers unambiguously. The system is owned and administered by Ringgold, Inc. and Ringgold, Ltd., who also publish a taxonomy for classifying the subject interests of the listed organizations.Ringgold is an International Standard Name Identifier (ISNI) registration agency, and as such the US National Information Standards Organization (NISO) recommended that Ringgold IDs be used to identify organizations involved in scholarly communications. Ringgold Identifiers are used by ORCID, to record the institutional affiliation of individual researchers.

Virtual International Authority File

The Virtual International Authority File (VIAF) is an international authority file. It is a joint project of several national libraries and operated by the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC).

Élisabeth Lebovici

Élisabeth Lebovici (born 1953) is a French art historian, journalist, and art critic.

International numbering standards
ISO standards by standard number

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