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ISNI : a persistent identifier for creatives and associated organizations / Tim Devenport (ISNI)

CILIP MDG
CILIP MDG

Recent interest in persistent identifiers (PIDs) within the research and library sectors is bringing discussions about the adoption of standards – such as ISNI and DOI, and other ID schemes such as ORCID, Ringgold, ROR, CrossRef, etc. – to the fore, casting a spotlight on the PIDs already in use and their relationships to one another. In its capacity as a bridging identifier and a critical component in Linked Data applications, clearly ISNI has a major part to play in these discussions. With a view to explaining the benefits of ISNIs for researchers, academic and scholarly publishers, institutions, funders, and other stakeholders – including information about ISNI’s centrally-managed database and the curation functions carried out by its direct data contributors – ISNI-IA continues to promulgate the ISNI standard within the research and library sectors, showing not only the importance of using ISNIs, but also the strength and quality of data that can be achieved when research identifiers operate collaboratively. This presentation will be an opportunity for those in the library and research community to learn about progress with the ISNI standard to date, within the library, research, and publishing sectors and beyond! Attendees will learn about: • What the ISNI standard is. • How the ISNI standard interacts with other identifiers. • The benefits of ISNIs for the research sector. • The level of adoption across the sectors that ISNI represents (including the library, music, publishing, research, and entertainment sectors). • Upcoming ISNI projects (including the National Library of Finland’s ongoing project in collaboration with 5 prominent Copyright Management Organizations). Paper presented at the Metadata & Discovery Group Conference & RDA Day (6th - 8th Sept 2023 at IET Austin Court, Birmingham)

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A Persistent Identifier for Creatives and
Associated Organizations
CILIP Metadata and Discovery Group, 7th September 2023
Tim Devenport
Executive Director
The ISNI International Agency (ISNI-IA)
CILIP Metadata & Discovery Group Conference 2023
#CILIPMDG2023
A Persistent Identifier for Creatives and
Associated Organizations
CILIP Metadata and Discovery Group, 7th September 2023
Tim Devenport
Executive Director
The ISNI International Agency (ISNI-IA)
The International Standard Name Identifier | isni.org | info@isni.org
A Quick Heads Up
• What is ISNI and what’s it for?
• A collaborative venture: the membership of ISNI
• Creative sectors using ISNI: similarities and differences
• “ISNI infrastructure” and how it’s supported
• How to interact with the ISNI database
• ISNI for organizations
• ISNI and other identifiers
• For further information…
A Persistent Identifier for Creatives and
Associated Organizations
CILIP Metadata and Discovery Group, 7th September 2023
Tim Devenport
Executive Director
The ISNI International Agency (ISNI-IA)
The International Standard Name Identifier | isni.org | info@isni.org
ISNI – identifying names of public personas
• International Standard Name Identifier = ISO standard:
ISO 27729
• Identifying the names of ‘parties’, or more generally,
the public ‘personas’ of persons or organizational
entities
• Our target: assist in supporting contributors to
creative works and those active in their distribution
or exploitation, very broadly defined
A Persistent Identifier for Creatives and
Associated Organizations
CILIP Metadata and Discovery Group, 7th September 2023
Tim Devenport
Executive Director
The ISNI International Agency (ISNI-IA)
The International Standard Name Identifier | isni.org | info@isni.org
ISNI by numbers
• Individuals: natural persons, pseudonyms, noms de plume,
stage names … totalling over 13.4 million identities to date
(of which at least 3 million are researchers)
• Organizations: academic institutes, companies, publishers,
brand names, imprints, music labels, film studios, music bands
and orchestras … over 1.7 million entities to date
• Around 75 member organizations in > 25 countries
• Total ISNIs assigned since 2011: 15 million and counting!
A Persistent Identifier for Creatives and
Associated Organizations
CILIP Metadata and Discovery Group, 7th September 2023
Tim Devenport
Executive Director
The ISNI International Agency (ISNI-IA)
The International Standard Name Identifier | isni.org | info@isni.org
Features of an ISNI ID
The ISNI assigned to the name of a particular persona should be:
• Unique
• Persistent
• Presented in a standard format
• ISNI: 0000 0000 7851 9858 – Taylor Swift
• ISNI: 0000 0000 3437 5143 – Sonny Boy Williams
• Accompanied by a minimum basic set of metadata to enable disambiguation
Additionally, it should:
• Have its sources of provenance clearly defined
• Be capable of enrichment with further, extended metadata
0000000078519858
0000000034375143
No spaces necessary
for ONIX users:
A Persistent Identifier for Creatives and
Associated Organizations
CILIP Metadata and Discovery Group, 7th September 2023
Tim Devenport
Executive Director
The ISNI International Agency (ISNI-IA)
The International Standard Name Identifier | isni.org | info@isni.org
What are ISNIs for?!
• Resolving problems of name ambiguity in search and discovery
• Attributing published works accurately to their creators
• Acting as a robust bridge identifier
across multiple schemes and
domains
• Thus becoming a critical
component in linked data and
semantic web applications

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ISNI : a persistent identifier for creatives and associated organizations / Tim Devenport (ISNI)

  • 1. A Persistent Identifier for Creatives and Associated Organizations CILIP Metadata and Discovery Group, 7th September 2023 Tim Devenport Executive Director The ISNI International Agency (ISNI-IA) CILIP Metadata & Discovery Group Conference 2023 #CILIPMDG2023
  • 2. A Persistent Identifier for Creatives and Associated Organizations CILIP Metadata and Discovery Group, 7th September 2023 Tim Devenport Executive Director The ISNI International Agency (ISNI-IA) The International Standard Name Identifier | isni.org | info@isni.org A Quick Heads Up • What is ISNI and what’s it for? • A collaborative venture: the membership of ISNI • Creative sectors using ISNI: similarities and differences • “ISNI infrastructure” and how it’s supported • How to interact with the ISNI database • ISNI for organizations • ISNI and other identifiers • For further information…
  • 3. A Persistent Identifier for Creatives and Associated Organizations CILIP Metadata and Discovery Group, 7th September 2023 Tim Devenport Executive Director The ISNI International Agency (ISNI-IA) The International Standard Name Identifier | isni.org | info@isni.org ISNI – identifying names of public personas • International Standard Name Identifier = ISO standard: ISO 27729 • Identifying the names of ‘parties’, or more generally, the public ‘personas’ of persons or organizational entities • Our target: assist in supporting contributors to creative works and those active in their distribution or exploitation, very broadly defined
  • 4. A Persistent Identifier for Creatives and Associated Organizations CILIP Metadata and Discovery Group, 7th September 2023 Tim Devenport Executive Director The ISNI International Agency (ISNI-IA) The International Standard Name Identifier | isni.org | info@isni.org ISNI by numbers • Individuals: natural persons, pseudonyms, noms de plume, stage names … totalling over 13.4 million identities to date (of which at least 3 million are researchers) • Organizations: academic institutes, companies, publishers, brand names, imprints, music labels, film studios, music bands and orchestras … over 1.7 million entities to date • Around 75 member organizations in > 25 countries • Total ISNIs assigned since 2011: 15 million and counting!
  • 5. A Persistent Identifier for Creatives and Associated Organizations CILIP Metadata and Discovery Group, 7th September 2023 Tim Devenport Executive Director The ISNI International Agency (ISNI-IA) The International Standard Name Identifier | isni.org | info@isni.org Features of an ISNI ID The ISNI assigned to the name of a particular persona should be: • Unique • Persistent • Presented in a standard format • ISNI: 0000 0000 7851 9858 – Taylor Swift • ISNI: 0000 0000 3437 5143 – Sonny Boy Williams • Accompanied by a minimum basic set of metadata to enable disambiguation Additionally, it should: • Have its sources of provenance clearly defined • Be capable of enrichment with further, extended metadata 0000000078519858 0000000034375143 No spaces necessary for ONIX users:
  • 6. A Persistent Identifier for Creatives and Associated Organizations CILIP Metadata and Discovery Group, 7th September 2023 Tim Devenport Executive Director The ISNI International Agency (ISNI-IA) The International Standard Name Identifier | isni.org | info@isni.org What are ISNIs for?! • Resolving problems of name ambiguity in search and discovery • Attributing published works accurately to their creators • Acting as a robust bridge identifier across multiple schemes and domains • Thus becoming a critical component in linked data and semantic web applications
  • 7. A Persistent Identifier for Creatives and Associated Organizations CILIP Metadata and Discovery Group, 7th September 2023 Tim Devenport Executive Director The ISNI International Agency (ISNI-IA) The International Standard Name Identifier | isni.org | info@isni.org Yes, but practical uses …? • Identify rights-holders • Protect rights and their management • Assist in royalty collection and distribution • Support scholarship • Help clarify questions of attribution • Aid clean-up & enhancement of databases • Act as bridge ID to facilitate cross-walks, both “manual” and via machine- to-machine Linked Data and other mechanisms
  • 8. A Persistent Identifier for Creatives and Associated Organizations CILIP Metadata and Discovery Group, 7th September 2023 Tim Devenport Executive Director The ISNI International Agency (ISNI-IA) The International Standard Name Identifier | isni.org | info@isni.org Integrating ISNI into key workflows • ISNIs in isolation are already useful • Their usage becomes more powerful when they are a routine part of key workflows • Good examples here include embedding ISNIs in the ONIX files that underpin book publishing operations • Functioning already in France, UK, planned in Finland, under discussion in the USA • Other applications link up with legal deposit operations, production of CIP (cataloguing in publishing) entries and creation of author pages
  • 9. A Persistent Identifier for Creatives and Associated Organizations CILIP Metadata and Discovery Group, 7th September 2023 Tim Devenport Executive Director The ISNI International Agency (ISNI-IA) The International Standard Name Identifier | isni.org | info@isni.org Some recent applications • Centrally allocating IDs to researchers SURF university consortium, The Netherlands • Applying ISNI identification to the work of copyright management organizations National Library of Finland and five CMOs • Correlating ISNI with other major identifiers British Library and US LoC NACO file
  • 10. A Persistent Identifier for Creatives and Associated Organizations CILIP Metadata and Discovery Group, 7th September 2023 Tim Devenport Executive Director The ISNI International Agency (ISNI-IA) The International Standard Name Identifier | isni.org | info@isni.org Information contributed to ISNI • ISNI assignments have been based on numerous authority files and databases worldwide • Primary role of assembly and curation played by ISNI Member organizations and ISNI Registration Agencies • Assertions of identities (effectively, ISNI assignment requests) are matched and rated algorithmically • Smaller proportions start with self-registration of basic metadata by individuals – but still under the responsibility of the respective Registration Agency
  • 11. A Persistent Identifier for Creatives and Associated Organizations CILIP Metadata and Discovery Group, 7th September 2023 Tim Devenport Executive Director The ISNI International Agency (ISNI-IA) The International Standard Name Identifier | isni.org | info@isni.org ISNI’s Membership • ISNI’s Founding Members, of whom five are still very actively involved • Currently 70+ member organizations, and growing • 36 regular or founding Members • 39 Registration Agencies or “RAGs” • Located so far in 25 countries • But coverage is world-wide • Interest remains high: active pipeline of prospect RAGs looking to address various market niches or new territories
  • 12. A Persistent Identifier for Creatives and Associated Organizations CILIP Metadata and Discovery Group, 7th September 2023 Tim Devenport Executive Director The ISNI International Agency (ISNI-IA) The International Standard Name Identifier | isni.org | info@isni.org ISNI Members
  • 13. A Persistent Identifier for Creatives and Associated Organizations CILIP Metadata and Discovery Group, 7th September 2023 Tim Devenport Executive Director The ISNI International Agency (ISNI-IA) The International Standard Name Identifier | isni.org | info@isni.org ISNI Registration Agencies
  • 14. A Persistent Identifier for Creatives and Associated Organizations CILIP Metadata and Discovery Group, 7th September 2023 Tim Devenport Executive Director The ISNI International Agency (ISNI-IA) The International Standard Name Identifier | isni.org | info@isni.org Creative sectors using ISNI • Interesting and exciting to see ISNI’s uptake across various sectors • More recently broadening out into areas of music, rights and copyright management, book publishing and the research sector • Expressions of interest from further afield, including film/TV, photography, patent management, theatre • Initial interest was strongest in the realm of Libraries, which remain numerically the biggest contributors and users
  • 15. A Persistent Identifier for Creatives and Associated Organizations CILIP Metadata and Discovery Group, 7th September 2023 Tim Devenport Executive Director The ISNI International Agency (ISNI-IA) The International Standard Name Identifier | isni.org | info@isni.org Generic challenges / sector specifics • Reassuring that many issues or challenges have great generic similarities between the sectors (unique identification, disambiguation, de-duplication, …) • But to maintain and reinforce ISNI’s relevance, we must listen to and communicate with the user communities • Creation of ISNI Consultation Groups (four so far): • Libraries • Music • Book publishing • Research sector
  • 16. A Persistent Identifier for Creatives and Associated Organizations CILIP Metadata and Discovery Group, 7th September 2023 Tim Devenport Executive Director The ISNI International Agency (ISNI-IA) The International Standard Name Identifier | isni.org | info@isni.org How to interact with ISNI data • Importantly, ISNI is an open standard and the database of ISNI identifiers is largely open, too • Whether you come from an ISNI member organization or not, you can: • Search the database “manually” • Search the database using a simplified API • Download single records or data dumps in RDF/XML or JSON-LD • Member organizations have access to more facilities: • Dedicated web interface • An API for real-time ISNI assignment requests • More complex and unlimited API searches • Subscribable extracts from the main database
  • 17. A Persistent Identifier for Creatives and Associated Organizations CILIP Metadata and Discovery Group, 7th September 2023 Tim Devenport Executive Director The ISNI International Agency (ISNI-IA) The International Standard Name Identifier | isni.org | info@isni.org Further development of ISNI facilities • Already several mechanisms or routes are available to interact with the ISNI database: • APIs for search or for assignment requests • Batch loading or matching • Web interface/manual input • Others in progress or under consideration: • Exploring possibilities for creating a new API that supports the modification of existing records • Deployment of a so-called de-duplication crawler • Structural improvements to the database structure • Introduction of separate mirrored “production” and “publishing” servers
  • 18. A Persistent Identifier for Creatives and Associated Organizations CILIP Metadata and Discovery Group, 7th September 2023 Tim Devenport Executive Director The ISNI International Agency (ISNI-IA) The International Standard Name Identifier | isni.org | info@isni.org ISNI for organizations • Much of the traction for ISNI in its first decade has revolved around ISNIs for individuals • But it was always envisaged that ISNIs could be assigned to organizations too • Major effort in this area has been carried out by Ringgold – by assigning ISNIs to Ringgold ID entities it has established a broad coverage for ISNI in the academic and research space 1.7 million ISNIs assigned to organizations to date
  • 19. A Persistent Identifier for Creatives and Associated Organizations CILIP Metadata and Discovery Group, 7th September 2023 Tim Devenport Executive Director The ISNI International Agency (ISNI-IA) The International Standard Name Identifier | isni.org | info@isni.org ISNI for organizations (continued) • From different vantage points, we’ve seen keen interest in our Consultation Groups on various ‘organizational’ assignments: • In the music sector, ISNI views bands, orchestras, music publishers, record labels and more as organizations • In book and serials publishing there’s a parallel interest in assigning ISNIs to publishers and imprints
  • 20. A Persistent Identifier for Creatives and Associated Organizations CILIP Metadata and Discovery Group, 7th September 2023 Tim Devenport Executive Director The ISNI International Agency (ISNI-IA) The International Standard Name Identifier | isni.org | info@isni.org ISNI and other identifiers • ISNI co-exists alongside a number of other identifier schemes, including IPI, ORCID, ROR, VIAF, and others • ISNI was explicitly designed to act as a bridge or linking ID, and can therefore act in that capacity by bridging between other IDs • Cooperation between ISNI and ORCID – namespace, shared memorandum of understanding, aim for interoperability • The ISNI database and ISNI IDs assigned are open and public, as well as being persistent • ISNI assignment requests and their supporting metadata are curated by the submitting RAG IPI VIAF
  • 21. A Persistent Identifier for Creatives and Associated Organizations CILIP Metadata and Discovery Group, 7th September 2023 Tim Devenport Executive Director The ISNI International Agency (ISNI-IA) The International Standard Name Identifier | isni.org | info@isni.org For further information… • Check out the ISNI website: https://isni.org/ • Contact ISNI-IA: tim@editeur.org or info@isni.org • Follow us and help us spread the word: @ISNI_ID linkedin.com/company/isni-ia/ facebook.com/ISNI.International.Agency/ ISNI International Agency • Sign up for our mailing list and e-newsletter, ISNI News

Editor's Notes

  1. Let’s start with a quick heads up on what I’d like to cover today, which I can summarise as follows: What is ISNI? What’s it for? Who’s using it? How might it fit in with your own goals? For the those of you newer to ISNI, I’ll attempt to lift the veil on how it all works and who keeps it running (certainly not just me!) The ISNI database is itself a valuable resource, which I’d encourage you to use and perhaps contribute to. From a slightly different perspective, ISNI is often thought of in conjunction with names of individuals but we like organizations too! Finally, I’d like to conclude with a few words about how we co-exist with other identifiers in the metadata ecosphere And I’ll be happy to take questions at the end of the presentation
  2. A quick reminder of the nature and purpose of ISNI. As many of you know, it's an ISO standard for identifying names of various parties in creative supply chains. ISNI is a sibling of other well-known ISO standards like ISBN (books), ISSN (periodicals), ISRC (musical recordings, and so on ISNI provides a way of identifying public personas (real names, stage names, pseudonyms and so on) of various kinds for all sorts of contributors These ISNI data subjects can include authors, illustrators, publishers, composers, performers, visual artists, researchers, inventors - you name it!
  3. To give you a first idea on uptake and usage, ISNI has been around since 2011 and so far just over 14.9 million ISNIs have been assigned As you can see, assignment to persons/individuals has so far been the primary area of focus Though there’s also significant interest in using ISNI to identify organizational entities too. Underpinning this activity is ISNI’s continued growth in membership and a presence in many countries around the world.
  4. So what does an ISNI look like? Here are the key features: uniqueness, persistence, standard presentation, and association with a set of carefully selected metadata. The ISNI itself is just a dumb, but of course unique (!) 16-digit string including a check digit. Note the cautionary presentational remark for ONIX users [CLICK] Multiple provenance is pretty common in many domains – by which I mean that the same identity may well be reported by many contributing sources. For example we note here the ISNI for Taylor Swift, for which at least 28 separate sources have contributed their own records to substantiate or corroborate the identity. I guess we might call this approach “curated crowd-sourcing”, which actually we’ll come back to later! In contrast, some ISNIs are based on single sources with rich supporting metadata: at the time of writing, only the US Library of Congress had so far contributed information to ISNI about the great blues guitarist, Sonny Boy Williams.
  5. ISNI as a system, and ISNIs themselves, are intended to perform a variety of functions, as we see here So at a high level, we can discern a number of generic challenges Disambiguation, attribution of works to creators, bridging between multiple schemes, and various kinds of system and data inter-operability – that are encountered across many creative spheres or domains
  6. Moving from the generic to the specific, ISNIs can help practitioners manage a range of real-world tasks, such as those you see here, which hopefully strike a chord with some of you today. Remember, though, that ISNI addresses only one piece in the wider metadata puzzle. ISNIs deliberately focus on identifying the creative entities and NOT on the creative works with which they are associated. So for example, ISNI holds in its database significant numbers of ISRCs and track names for musical performers and ISBNs and book title data for authors. We use that other, work- or manifestation-related data purely to assist in record matching, disambiguation, and unique identity assignment But it’s NOT our aim in any way to offer or compete with catalogues, compilations or registries of works – we’re quite busy enough with the identity side of the puzzle!
  7. Of course, like other identifiers ISNI could be prey to the single-telephone conundrum – not much use on their own But ISNI positively thrives on open-ness, wide disclosure and the public availability of all assigned ISNIs – the more people know about them the more useful they become Putting ISNI to work in key workflows starts to reveal the power and utility of the standard I’ve singled out for particular attention a couple of book publishing workflows but there are of course others
  8. Of course, like other identifiers ISNI could be prey to the single-telephone conundrum – not much use on their own But ISNI positively thrives on open-ness, wide disclosure and the public availability of all assigned ISNIs – the more people know about them the more useful they become Putting ISNI to work in key workflows starts to reveal the power and utility of the standard I’ve singled out for particular attention a couple of book publishing workflows but there are of course others
  9. So where does ISNI’s information come from? As you’ll see, this is very much a question of global team work, where our membership And particularly our Registration Agencies act as expert gate-keepers, each in their own domain or area of specialization. The default setting is that as much of this information as possible is public domain, although we make special provision for cases where the submitting body requests confidentiality (and may only be contributing the data, e.g. dates of birth, to improve matching confidence). In such cases we hold that specific data as confidential Worth mentioning in passing a small but growing number of self-service user portals for the general public. (examples include BANQ, BL, Sound Credit and others) We place a high premium on data quality and accuracy, both in terms of the algorithms and other techniques we use for machine matching and in expert control and scrutiny – the ISNI Quality Team staffed by the British Library and the Bibliothèque nationale de France is central to ISNI’s operations and controls.
  10. Yes, that all-important membership! Here are some numbers showing the types of organization involved and our increasing span, both geographically and in terms of specialist domains. I should say in passing that any of our Registration Agencies can if they so choose provide ISNI services to customers in any country – unlike e.g. ISBNs or ISSNs, ISNI has no territorial exclusivity
  11. Introducing our member organizations…
  12. … and active ISNI Registration Agencies
  13. One of the fascinating aspects of working with ISNI is its appeal across a number of different sectors As you see here, ISNI was rather library-centric during its formative years But while library interest has remained strong, others notably in the music industry and in book publishing Are keen on adopting ISNI or giving serious consideration to doing so
  14. I have a strong belief that this continued growth is because ISNI can address important generic needs While remaining flexible enough to incorporate or respond to sector-specific requirements or terminology Maintaining the balance and relevance of ISNI has led us to establish a number of Consultation Groups Which are turning out to be great sounding boards as well as positive “hot beds” of new suggestions!
  15. When thinking about this talk, I thought it might be useful To say a few words about how you or your organization can interact with ISNI data (Which, you’ll recall, we positively encourage!) Well here are what you might call the workhorse methods for interacting with the ISNI resource And as we say, “horses for courses” – there may be facilities or information that would be particularly valuable for you
  16. Alongside the increasing volumes of ISNI assignments that are carried out, year on year, the ISNI system itself continues to be developed. There are of course already a set of facilities in place for interacting with the database, as shown here, with two main APIs, batch upload routines, and a web interface. We continue to explore changes or additions to these facilities, in response to user requests. Four such enhancements are mentioned here and other ideas are in the wings. As ever, a major constraint here is a very tight development budget, but we get by and also selectively seek external funding where appropriate
  17. ISNIs can be used to identify the names of organizational entities and not just those of individuals Indeed, this was an explicit aim in the original construction of the standard Quite a number of organizational ISNIs already exist and interest is growing in other sectors Music: publishers and labels. Book publishing: publishers and imprints. Etc And in passing, the names of musical bands/groups, orchestras, etc are “organizational” records in ISNI terms
  18. ISNIs can be used to identify the names of organizational entities and not just those of individuals Indeed, this was an explicit aim in the original construction of the standard Quite a number of organizational ISNIs already exist and interest is growing in other sectors Music: publishers and labels. Book publishing: publishers and imprints. Etc And in passing, the names of musical bands/groups, orchestras, etc are “organizational” records in ISNI terms
  19. We are not alone! Or as the disclaimers on advertisements might put it, “other identifiers are available!” On my lengthy to-do list, one of the more persistent items is to write a clear and balanced Comparison of these and other identifiers that inhabit parts of the same ecosphere. All are of course valid and all serve slightly or very different needs. Peaceful co-existence is my watchword. Some of you may be familiar particularly with ORCID, highlighted here [call out main items] But otherwise, and pending the completion of my magnum opus, I would stress ISNI’s key characteristics: It’s open and public, not closed and/or proprietary; It’s persistent; It’s curated rather than crowd sourced; It’s built to act as a bridging ID.
  20. Thanks so much for your attendance and attention today and here are some contact details in case you’d like to get in touch in future.