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 has 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 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 as a link for the data about an identity and is used across all media industries.
Once an ISNI is assigned by a registration agency, it is shared across the global digital information industry, enabling organisations to apply it to content by or about that party held in their databases. Users tapping into any of the organisations 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.