International Standard Name Identifier


August 13, 2022

The International Standard Name Identifier (English International Standard Name Identifier, French Code international normalisé des noms, abbreviated ISNI) is a permanent Identifier intended for the unique and global identification of so-called "public identities", i.e. the names of natural persons (including fictitious persons) and corporations, who are in the role of creators, producers, publishers, distributors or administrators of intellectual contents (works). The ISNI identifier is codified by the international standard ISO 27729 (a draft of the international standard ISO/DIS 27729 was published on 20/07/2010, the official first version of the standard was published on 24/11/2011 and the last version so far on 03/06/2012). The international standard was originally prepared from 2006 under the name International Standard Party Identifier (ISPI), but in 2007 it was changed to ISNI in order to clarify the identified entities. The standard was prepared by a working group (WG 6) of the relevant Technical Commission and Subcommittee (TC 46/SC 9) of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO for short).

Identified entities

The ISNI identifier permanently identifies the so-called "public identity" of a party. Public identity means the name by which a party is or was publicly known in the past. Most real persons have a single public identity (a single name), but some may have more than one. Party means a natural person or legal entity or a group of natural and legal persons involved in the creation, distribution and management of intellectual content. Name is defined as a string of characters under which the page is or was usually listed in the past. Public identities will be identified using ISNI identifiers across different content creation disciplines.

Identifier structure and syntax

The ISNI identifier is a non-significant number. It was originally supposed to consist of the letter prefix ISNI and another 13 characters (12 digits and 1 control character). However, as part of the preparation of the standard, it was finally decided in 2009 in view of the planned large volume of identifiers in the future that the total number of characters will be 16 (except for the ISNI letter prefix, 15 digits and one last character as a control). Examples of writing the ISNI number (the given values ​​are real as of January 2012): ISNI 0000 0001 2127 202X (Karel Čapek, 1890–1938) ISNI 0000 0000 8091 155X (Jaroslav Seifert, 1901–1986) ISNI 0000 0001 0844 7446 (Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, 1850–1937) ISNI 0000 0001 2321 5475 (Václav Havel, 1936–2011) ISNI 0000 0001 2138 9690 (Antonín Dvořák, 1841–1904) ISNI 0000 0001 2126 8987 (Ludwig van Beethoven, 1770–1827) ISNI 0000 0001 2129 6144 (René Descartes, 1596–1650) ISNI 0000 0001 0884 0416 (John Amos Comenius, 1592–1670) ISNI 0000 0001 2134 3289 (Božena Němcová, 1820–1862) ISNI 0000 0001 1619 3773 (Jiří Cejpek, 1928–2005) ISNI 0000 0001 2186 288X (Library of Congress) ISNI 0000 0001 2160 811X (Charles University in Prague) For the needs of displaying, printing or other presentation of the ISNI identifier, it is recommended to separate the ISNI prefix from other digits with one space. The total number of 16 digits is divided into blocks of four digits. Individual blocks are also separated by one space. The last check digit can be either a number or an "X". The check digit will be calculated based on the preceding digits in accordance with ISO/IEC 7064:2003 in mode 11-2.

Main principles of identifier assignment

The draft international standard ISO/DIS 27729 establishes the following main principles for assigning ISNI identifiers: The ISNI identifier is assigned by the registration agency (RAG for short) based on the request of the applicant (author, composer, publisher