Glossary of Metadata Terms
International Standard Name Identifier (ISNI) - The 16-digit ISNI is an ISO (defined in the International Organization of Standards entry below) standard for the identification of "Public Identities." ISNIs are assigned to the "Public Identities" of parties that participate in the creation, production, management, or distribution of cultural goods. The party can be a person, such as a book author, or a legal entity, such as a record label. It provides a tool for pulling together different forms of a name (such as linking pseudonyms to the appropriate identity), or to disambiguate multiple identities with the same name (John Smith, for example). Consistent use of ISNI as part of book metadata about contributor names makes it much easier for bookseller sites to correctly display all titles by the same author, even if the author's name is identical or similar to many other author names.
International Standard Text Code (ISTC) - a numbering system to uniquely identify text-based works, was published as an ISO standard in 2009. Unlike the ISBN, the ISTC identifies a "work" rather than a "product" and allows linking together of publications with the same basic content. For example, Sense and Sensibility is a "work" that is available as many different "products" that are packaged in many formats (paperback, hardcover, ebook, etc.) by various publishers. Each of these products should have a unique ISBN but should carry the same ISTC, allowing the entire range of choices to be easily retrieved and displayed to consumers on bookseller websites.
International Standard Book Number (ISBN) - the ISO-approved global standard for identifying a book product. ISBN use facilitates commerce activities across countries and systems by providing a unique identifier that always refers to the same product. The identifier provides reliable and unambiguous machine matching to a specific version of a book for buying and selling activities. Since January 2007, all ISBNs issued conform to a 13-digit standard. The expansion increased capacity and also allowed ISBN to merge with the GTIN (Global Trade Identification Number) data structure. The GTIN family includes the UPC (Universal Product Code) that is used in creating machine-readable barcodes. The ISBN is now consistent with the international product identification system used by multiple industries to buy, sell, and track non-book products.