Addressing the challenges with organizational identifiers and ISNI

OCLC has just published the report from the 14-member OCLC Research task group on Representing Addressing the Challenges with Org IDs Cover for blog 2016-05Organizations in ISNI: Addressing the Challenges with Organizational Identifiers and ISNI.* This work originated from discussions with OCLC Research Library Partners on a previous effort by another OCLC Research Library Partners task group on researcher identifiers, Registering Researchers in Authority Files, published in 2014.  That report noted that a key attribute distinguishing researchers with identical names is to accurately associate them with their institutional affiliations.

A variety of stakeholders need to identify organizations accurately and define relationships among their sub-units and with other organizations. Academic institutions want to aggregate their researchers’ output as comprehensively as possible, as such aggregations affect their reputations which in turn can influence their success in obtaining funding and attracting or retaining faculty. Organizational identifiers provide the means to do that.  The International Standard Name Identifier (ISNI), with a database that already includes over 500,000 institutional identifiers derived from registries of agencies with business needs for identifying institutions, can be used to disambiguate organizations.

OCLC Research Library Partner metadata managers questioned how their institutions were represented in the ISNI database, which led to forming the task group.  The report documents:

  • The special challenges represented by organizations
  • New modeling of organizations that others can adapt for their own uses
  • Twelve use-cases and scenarios
  • Examples of how ISNI can meet the needs identified by the twelve use cases
  • 23 recommendations for improving ISNI
  • Issues for which there are no easy or immediate answers

The report also includes an outreach document targeted to academic administrators presenting the reasons why organizational identifiers are important and the benefits of ISNI membership.

The report will be of interest to academic administrators eager to more accurately aggregate the scholarly output of their institutions; to linked data implementers who need to represent relationships between and among organizational entities; and to all librarians who have had to associate a work’s creator with an institutional affiliation.

Five of the task group members will be presenting highlights from this report on 9 May 2016 in a free webinar open to all interested (register here). We welcome your feedback—post comments to this blog entry or tweet your questions or comments using the hashtag #orgidreport.

* Full citation: Smith-Yoshimura, Karen, Janifer Gatenby, Grace Agnew, Christopher Brown, Kate Byrne, Matt Carruthers, Peter Fletcher, Stephen Hearn, Xiaoli Li, Marina Muilwijk, Chew Chiat Naun, John Riemer, Roderick Sadler, Jing Wang, Glen Wiley, and Kayla Willey. 2016. Addressing the Challenges with Organizational Identifiers and ISNI. Dublin, Ohio: OCLC Research.