Names Project Blog

NISO recommended practice on institutional identifiers

Posted in identifiers, publications by Amanda Hill on 9 May, 2013

Last month the work of the NISO I2 (Institutional Identifier) group culminated in the publication of a NISO Recommended Practice document entitled Institutional Identification: Identifying Organizations in the Information Supply Chain [PDF]. The I2 group was established in 2008 with the task of looking at the issue of uniquely identifying institutions and other organizations.

From the report:

As the digital information landscape grows increasingly crowded and customized, and as institutions achieve economies of scale through increased collaboration, the need to unambiguously identify organizations engaged in any aspect of information acquisition, supply, archiving, and discovery becomes a critical enabler for efficient and trustworthy information practices.

The use of the International Standard Name Indentifier (ISNI) (ISO 27729) for institutional identification is recommended to achieve both of these goals.

Of the 157 UK research institutions currently identified within Names, 93 also already have ISNIs (in other words they were already identified as creators or publishers in library systems which have contributed data to ISNI). We have now added those ISNIs to the Names records of those institutions and will be requesting identifiers for the remaining 64 institutions in the coming weeks.

Institutions with ISNIs in Names

Our aim by the end of the current phase of the project (July 2013) is to have ISNIs assigned to all of the individuals and organisations identified within Names. ISNI disambiguates and assigns unique identifiers to institutions and individuals internationally. Where ORCID provides a service for individuals to identify themselves, ISNI relies on data from third parties and combines it to create merged records. This means that, in contrast to ORCID, it can include records for organisations and for individuals who may be unable (or unwilling) to manage an online profile.