ISNI: creative personality identification system

Creators and publishers can register their name through the international ISNI system, which is a new, innovative system for identifying creative individuals.


ISNI is a method for uniquely identifying creators and publishers of such types of media content as books, TV shows, newspaper articles, etc. This identifier consists of 16 digits divided into four blocks.

ISNI currently has more than 14 million registered authors and rights holders from around the world. It is used by societies for collective rights management in the digital environment in 164 countries.


ISNI allows you to assign a unique identifier to each creator (for example, an author’s pseudonym) as a unique number. This unique number can be associated with any of the many other identifiers used in the media industry.

An example of the need to use such an identifier is a musician who is also the author of music and poetry. Three different activities may require three different unrelated entries. According to the ISNI system, the author will have one ISNI identifier that associates such records. Different databases can share data about this particular person without resorting to methods such as comparing text strings. The presence of a digital identifier is especially important for the names of matching creators. For example, if there are several people in John Smith’s database, it is not always easy to determine which records refer to which person.

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

ISNI can be used by libraries and archives to share information catalogs, to more accurately search for information on the Internet and in databases, and can help manage rights internationally and digitally.

If desired, each name can be linked to information about the copyright objects that belong to it. Together, these data form a creative portfolio, which is given a unique 16-digit identification number. This digital code helps to distinguish between authors with the same name.

Although entering a name or pseudonym in an international register is not the same as registering a trademark, it is the first and most important step in creating reliable intellectual property protection. In addition, fixing the name will significantly simplify and streamline the procedure for calculating royalties.



авторское право, музыкаThe ISNI service is used by labels from all over the world. After all, this is the only international register of fixation of intellectual property rights, which, moreover, is recognized by the professional community. For example, before concluding a contract with an artist, record companies can use ISNI to check whether the rights really belong to this author, and at the same time get acquainted with his creative portfolio.

The unique code can be obtained by legal entities – music labels, publishers, film studios, record companies, and individual entrepreneurs from various creative fields. You can also register verbal symbols, writing style and graphic elements, as well as, for example, logos.


The standard was developed under the auspices of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) as a draft international standard 27729. The current standard was published on March 15, 2012.

ISNI is regulated by the international agency ISNI-IA. It is a non-profit organization registered in the United Kingdom. The company was founded by a consortium of organizations that include the International Confederation of the Society of Authors and Composers and the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC). The company is managed by a board of representatives from each of the consortium’s organizations, as well as representatives of the National Library of France and the British Library.


To register with ISNI, you must apply to one of the registration agencies of ISNI with a corresponding application, or go through the registration procedure directly on the website of such agency.

Currently the number of agencies is 9:

  • Bibliothèque et Archives Nationales du Québec (BAnQ) – support for the appointment of ISNI to those who contribute to the creation of cultural content in Quebec (Canada)
  • Bibliothèque Nationale de France – providing ISNI with a French mandatory model
  • British Library – provides individual or mass registration of ISNI for creative people
  • Identification Agency, IDA – offers services in Russian
  • Library of the National Assembly of Korea – provides ISNI for creative individuals working in Korea
  • Quansic is the focus of ISNI for the music industry
  • Ringgold – specializes in ISNI for organizations
  • Sound Credit – providing free automated ISNI for the music industry when creating a free account
  • Wiseband – offers free registration of ISNI for music artists and labels; other domains are also welcome


The cost depends on which registration agency you join.

In general, the procedure for registering and obtaining an ISNI code is free (for example, as through the QUANSIC platform), but there may be exceptions, depending on the agency.

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