OCLC Research Partners Task Force on Representing Organizations in ISNI

The OCLC Research Partners Task Force on Representing Organizations in ISNI has been charged by OCLC Research Partners with recommending how organizations should be represented in the ISNI database. The task group's goal was to advise ISNI on ways to improve ISNI record quality, encoding, completeness, user interface, diffusion and to help better engage the community.

The group has reported (links to the deliverables are available below), focusing on the research management sector, and its recommendations are being considered by ISNI. 

The terms of reference for the group were:

  1. identify issues that need to be addressed and work with the ISNI team to find ways to resolve these issues either: a) algorithmically by machine processing b) by manual review and editing, including crowd-sourcing.
  2. develop use cases specific to library and academic needs and then determine how ISNI records could address them. Provide specific examples of ISN records for these use cases that can be used as templates and guidelines.
  3. review any changes the ISNI team makes in processing organization records to verify that they address the problems identified. Review documentation that reflects changes in workflow.
  4. draft documents that would be needed to do the outreach necessary to encourage crowd-sourcing and participation by other organizations. These documents would articulate ISNI's goals, rules, benefits of ISNI organizational identifiers by researchers, libraries and academic institutions, examples of how other organizations (such as ORCID, funders and Wikidata) use ISNIs, and how organizations can establish identifiers.
  5. document how ISNI identity differs from others (where known)
  6. document search tips for finding organizations in the ISNI database which can be added to the ISNI search documentation.

Scope: although all types of organizations may be considered, the task group's primary focus will be on academic institutions and organizations with which academic institutions interact.


Grace Agnew (Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey) – former co-chair of the NISO I2 (Institutional Identifiers) Working Group
Christopher Brown (Jisc) – managing a Jisc-CASRAI-UK Organisational Identifiers Working Group. See http://jisccasraipilot.jiscinvolve.org/wp/ for background.
Kate Byrne (University of New South Wales)
Matthew Carruthers (University of Michigan)
Chiat Naun Chew (Cornell University)
Peter Fletcher (University of California, Los Angeles) Co-leader of UCLA’s International Team
Stephen Hearn (University of Minnesota)
Xiaoli Li (University of California, Davis)
Marina Muilwijk (Utrecht University)
John  Riemer (University of California, Los Angeles) – former chair of the Program for Cooperative Cataloging
Roderick Sadler (La Trobe University)
Jing Wang (Johns Hopkins University)
Glen Wiley (University of Miami)
Kayla Willey (Brigham Young University)

With input from Andrew MacEwan (British Library) and Anila Angjeli (Bibliothèque nationale de France)

From the ISNI team in the OCLC Leiden office:

Janifer Gatenby

From the OCLC Research San Mateo, California office (and facilitator/convenor of this group):

Karen Smith-Yoshimura



Smith-Yoshimura, Karen and others. 2016. Addressing the Challenges with Organizational Identifiers and ISNI. Dublin, Ohio: OCLC Research

ISNI database organisation search guidelines

Optimising the representation of an Organisation in ISNI



Challenges presented by Organizational IDs, Karen Smith-Yoshimura - CNI Spring 2015 Membership Meeting, Seattle WA

The Complexity of Scholar Affiliation in ISNI and VIVO, Karen Smith-Yoshimura, Jing Wang, Janifer Gatenby - 2015 VIVO Conference, Cambridge MA, 13 August 2015.



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