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ISNI Assignments Top 6.5 Million

Wikipedia is among groups adopting the new ISNI name identification standard from Bowker.

Cambridge, UK  ()

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 organisations, including Wikipedia. Bowker, an affiliated business of ProQuest and a registration agency for the standard, tracks assignments and usage of ISNIs.

"The rapid uptake reflects the standard's ability to simplify the process of identification," said Beat Barblan, Bowker's Director of Identifier Services. "It's a practical way to ensure accuracy when information organisations share information. With an ISNI, we know we are referring to the correct Joseph Stiglitz or Stephen King or Mark Wahlberg."

The ISNI International Agency, a worldwide group of organisations that serve researchers, rights management organisations, 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 organisations administering rights, simplifying identification and administration of royalties.

Organisations and individuals can apply for an ISNI for any public identity - real or fictional - through a registration agency, such as Bowker.

To apply for ISNIs through Bowker or obtain more information, contact Beat Barblan, Director of Identifier Services, at Use ISNI's free lookup interface at 

About the International Standard Name Identifier (ISNI)

The International Standard Name Identifier (ISNI) is an ISO Standard (ISO 27729:2012) whose scope is the identification of public identities across multiple fields of creative activities. ISNI streamlines content distribution chains, disambiguating natural, legal and fictional parties that might otherwise be confused.

ISNI is a creation of the ISNI International Agency (ISNI-IA) founded by CISAC, the Conference of European National Librarians (represented by the Bibliothèque Nationale de France and the British Library), IFRRO, IPDA, OCLC and ProQuest. The founding members include consortia representing more than 26,000 major world libraries, 300 rights management societies and research information giants OCLC and ProQuest, along with its business unit Bowker.

About Bowker

Bowker is the world's leading provider of bibliographic information and management solutions designed to help publishers, booksellers, and libraries better serve their customers. Creators of products and services that make books easier for people to discover, evaluate, order, and experience, Bowker is the official ISBN Agency for the United States and its territories. A ProQuest affiliate, Bowker is headquartered in New Providence, New Jersey with additional operations in England and Australia.

Editorial Contact:
Nicola Bacon
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