If you're comfortable using the VIAF API, then you'll find ISNI links in VIAF records.


-----Original Message-----
From: Code for Libraries [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Eric Lease Morgan
Sent: Friday, April 15, 2016 5:17 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: authority work with isni

I am thinking about doing some authority work with content from ISNI, and I have a few questions about the resource.

As yo may or may not know, ISNI is a sort of authority database. [1] One can search for an identity in ISNI, identify a person of interest, get a key, transform the key into a URI, and use the URI to get back both human-readable and machine readable data about the person. For example, the following URIs return the same content in different forms:

  * human-readable -
  * XML -

I discovered the former URI through a tiny bit of reading. [2] And I discovered the later URI through a simple guess. What other URIs exist?

When it comes to the authority work, my goal is to enhance authority records; to more thoroughly associate global identifiers with named entities in a local authority database. Once this goal is accomplished, the library catalog experience can be enhanced, and the door is opened for supporting linked data initiatives. In order to accomplish the goal, I believe I can:

  1. get a list of authority records
  2. search for name in a global authority database (like VIAF or ISNI)
  3. if found, then update local authority record accordingly
  4. go to Step #2 for all records
  5. done

My questions are:

  * What remote authority databases are available programmatically? I already know of one from the Library of Congress, VIAF, and probably WorldCat Identities. Does ISNI support some sort of API, and if so, where is some documentation?

  * I believe the Library Of Congress, VIAF, and probably WorldCat Identities all support linked data. Does ISNI, and if so, then how is it implemented and can you point me to documentation?

  * When it comes to updating the local (MARC) authority records, how do you suggest the updates happen? More specifically, what types of values do you suggest I insert into what specific (MARC) fields/subfields? Some people advocate $0 of 1xx, 6xx, and 7xx fields. Other people suggest 024 subfields 2 and a. Inquiring minds would like to know.

Fun with authorities!? And, “What’s in a name anyway?"

[1] ISNI -
[2] some documentation -

Eric Lease Morgan
Lost In Rome