ISNI (International Standard Name Identifier) is an ISO standard, in use by numerous libraries, publishers, databases, and rights management organizations around the world. It is used to uniquely identify persons and organizations involved in creative activities, as well as public personas of both, such as pseudonyms, stage names, record labels or publishing imprints. As an open standard, ISNI is not a proprietary "walled garden" - it is diffused widely on the open web, and is a critical component in Linked Data and Semantic Web applications.
The ISNI database is populated from many data sources worldwide, and based on linking through matching algorithms. ISNI identifiers ("ISNIs") are assigned when there is a high level of confidence in matching new names to existing names in the database or when sufficiently rich metadata is available to determine that the new name does not yet exist in the ISNI database.