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ISAN - What is ISAN

The ISAN (International Standard Audiovisual Number) is a voluntary numbering system for the identification of AV works. ISAN gives registered works a unique, permanent, internationally recognised, reference number.

ISAN is designed to be read by humans and processed in information systems, as a 24-bit hexadecimal number or as a 96-bit binary number, for easier systems integration.

The structure of an ISAN reflects many hours of careful analysis and thought by leading AV industry experts. It has been designed to meet the diverse needs of the entire AV supply chain.

ISAN Number Definition

The root section identifies a work throughout its existence whether it is a feature film, serial, documentary, live broadcast or any other type of work.

The episode section identifies parts of a serial work sharing a common root.

In the case of a different version of a work, for example another language, edit, or format, this can be indicated by using the version section.

Both the episode and version sections share a common root.

The ISAN is not a "content descriptor". It is a "dumb" number, meaning that it does not include any codes or other signifying elements. Its purpose is to identify the work with a unique number, not to provide any type of descriptive information about the work. ISAN can be affixed to any work, digital or analogue.

ISAN identifies individual AV works, not publications, nor right holders and relates to specific descriptive metadata such as original and alternative titles, language, type, duration, cast etc.

ISAN is an ISO standard, designed for all users of AV content from authors, creators, producers, and rights holders, to broadcasters, platform operators, content aggregators, retailers and consumers.