An ISNI is a global standard number for identifying the millions of contributors to creative works and those active in their distribution, including researchers, inventors, writers, artists, visual creators, performers, producers, publishers, aggregators, and more. 

It is part of a family of international standard identifiers that includes identifiers of works, recordings, products and right holders in all repertoires (for example, in music, IPI#’sISWC’s, etc).

You can think of an ISNI as a number that identifies you across multiple platforms (where as for example, an IPI# is strictly for songwriting).

The mission of the ISNI International Authority (ISNI-IA) is to assign to the public name(s) of a research
er, inventor, writer, artist, performer, publisher, etc. a persistent unique identifying number in order to resolve the problem of name ambiguity in search and discovery; and diffuse each assigned ISNI across all repertoires in the global supply chain so that every published work can be unambiguously attributed to its creator wherever that work is described.

By achieving these goals, the ISNI will act as a bridge identifier across multiple domains.