ISNI - International Standard Name Identifier


ISNI (International Standard Name Identifier) is an ISO standard, in use by numerous libraries, publishers, databases, and rights management organisations around the world.

It was developed as a global identification system of Public Identities of parties involved throughout the chain of creation, production, management and distribution of intellectual or artistic contents.

It identifies the Public Identities of Parties such as authors, composers, cartographers, performers, academic and scientific authors, researchers, or publishers.

By uniquely identifying individuals and bodies, ISNI can solve the problem of name ambiguity in applications such as search and discovery, attribution, and payments.

In order to acquire an ISNI, you must first make sure you do not already have one. To find out if you already have an ISNI, please search using the portal and try to find a record matching your identity.

If you cannot find a matching record and you would like to apply for an ISNI, follow the registration instructions on the portal.

The ISNI database receives data feeds from numerous sources, which are listed here.

The ISNI database is built from many databases worldwide, and based on linking through matching algorithms.

Parties can be individual, collective (such as a musical group), organisational (such as a corporate body) or even a fictional character.

A Public Identity is the name by which a party is publicly known.

'Given name' is also known as a first name or forename. 'Family name' is a last name or surname. However, we are aware not everyone will have both these components. Please see below.

In this instance simply fill in the box labelled ‘Family name’. For example you may not have both a given name and a family name, or you may have a performing name which you consider to be a single name.

It is possible for one party to have multiple ISNI numbers if that party has a number of public identities. For example, this would be the case if a party wrote under their real name and a pseudonym - each identity would have a separate ISNI that could be linked if desired.

However, if you discover you have more than one ISNI record and they are not for different identities such as a pseudonym, please contact the ISNI Quality Team.

If your search returns more than one match to your name, this means that potential matches have been found with more than one record.

If you are unsure about whether any of the results correspond to your record, you can contact the ISNI Quality Team. If you think that more than one result refers to you, you still need to inform the ISNI Quality Team.

A record may be provisional if:

  • there is no match in the database (there are no matches with records from other sources)
  • there are too many matches (potential matches have been found with more than one record)

In order to change the status of your record from provisional to assigned, you will need to provide some more details. Please contact the ISNI Quality Team to verify what data needs to be provided.

A PPN is an internal identifier used on a provisional record.

Requests to amend or delete information are possible via the "Suggest changes" button in the full record display. The request will be reviewed by the ISNI Quality Team.

If you are the subject of an ISNI record, then you may request that data should be removed from public display, e.g. birth date. Should you wish to add further details to your records, you can use the "Add data to an ISNI" functionality on the ISNI portal.

If you identify incorrect data on a record, you can inform the ISNI Quality Team via the "Suggest changes" button at the top of the record, or by contacting the team directly at

No, you cannot change an ISNI identifier as it is automatically generated. Once allocated, an ISNI identifier cannot be re-used for another identity or changed.

An individual or organisation is able to request deletion of data elements or complete removal of the ISNI data by contacting the ISNI Quality Team. Such requests are reviewed, verified and enacted by the ISNI Quality Team.

ISNI's policy is to delete records immediately following a user request, click here to see the policy.

Certain data elements (such as date of birth) can be suppressed from public view, if desired.

The ISNI International Agency (ISNI-IA) is committed to protecting the privacy of those who use our website, and the confidentiality of any personal information or details submitted or provided to it. Please see the ISNI privacy policy.

If you require additional support in using the portal, please contact the ISNI Quality Team.