ISNI (International Standard Name Identifier)

ISNI Registration Agency at the BnF

The National library of France is actively involved in the creation and the maintenance of the ISNI identifier, and ingests ISNIs in its own data. In January 2014 the BnF has established an ISNI Registration Agency.


The BnF is the first national library in the world to become an ISNI Registration Agency and the third organization at international scale to set up one. The aim of the ISNI Registration Agency at the BnF will be to improve data interoperability across communities, both from public and private sector, and to promote trustful data created by libraries on the web of data.

By guarantying full coverage with ISNI identifiers of the data contained in the BnF General Catalogue, the BnF intends to improve the reliability of identification of all persons and organizations related to materials subject to legal deposit, collected and described by the BnF. A particular emphasis will therefore be placed on French publications.

ISNI will be useful to streamline and enhance data exchange between the BnF and its partners such as publishers and other libraries. ISNI already allows expanding research beyond the BnF authority records towards other datasets using the same identifier. The implementation of the ISNIs into increases the visibility of the French cultural heritage on the web and on the web of data.

Our services

The ISNI Registration Agency at the BnF is committed to secure a high level of ISNI assignment for the public identities of parties (persons and organizations) involved throughout the French media content industries and the French cultural heritage collections. It assigns ISNIs to its authority records for persons and organizations. The BnF disseminates all the assigned ISNIs associated to its data through its data diffusion services either in MARC formats, or in RDF in the dumps.

The agency will first address the identification needs related to the materials that the BnF collects and describes. It will address the needs of other French organizations at a later stage.

The ISNI Registration Agency at the BnF provides expertise and advice to all parties interested in ISNI to assist in the adoption and implementation of ISNI identifiers on a national scale and by a variety of stakeholders, including French public institutions and their private partners, institutions involved in processing scientific and technical information, and more.

ISNI and the BnF data

The BnF authority records for Persons and Organizations are ingested in the ISNI international database since its beginning. Updates are regularly uploaded through VIAF, which acts as an intermediary between ISNI and its contributors.

Since the launch of the ISNI database, more than 1 million ISNI identifiers have been assigned to the public identities described in the BnF authority records. These identifiers were integrated into the BnF General catalogue over summer 2013 and a clickable link is made from the BnF authority record to the ISNI record of the international database. In the course of 2016, in addition to the participation of the BnF to VIAF, the exchanges between the BnF Catalogue general and the ISNI base are going to be more direct and frequent : the data visible in the Catalogue general will be updated on a weekly basis.

ISNI statistics in BnF catalogue général (as of March 2015) : 1 275 489

Authority records for Person with an ISNI identifier 80.5%
Authority records for Organization with an ISNI identifier 18.4%

Thursday, February 4, 2016


The BnF assigns ISNI numbers only to the persons and organisations listed in its Authority File.
Please email:

The persons and organisations non listed in this file should send their registration request for the ISNI database to

For more info