CD ballot initiated for the International Standard Content Code, ISO/CD 24138 .

As this is my first post on this forum, it is at the same time a quick update and a short Introduction on our work on ISC/CD 24138 on the International Standard Content Code at ISO/TC 46/SC 9 (Identification and description). Over the last months, working group 18 (WG 18), has been busy to match the scheduled timeline. Last week, the committee draft study/ballot was initiated successfully and in time. This means that after WG internal WD study, the working draft is now entering the stages to receive feedback and comments outside of our working group.

This positive development goes in line with a growing interest and adoption of the ISCC, especially in the context of web3 and NFT projects. But also traditional media sectors and industries (TV broadcasters, publishers, photographers, news and music industry) are investigating novel use cases supported by the ISCC system. 

The International Standard Content Code (ISCC) is an open, interoperable, identifier for digital media assets that use a combination of cryptographic and similarity-preserving hashes. This supports decentralised content identification and matching of same and similar/near-duplicate content. 

The ISCC can be used to identify digital assets of all media-types like text, image, audio and video in all granularities across all industry sectors alongside existing standard identifiers. Content published on the Internet, is dynamic, short- lived and granular, it “continuously re-encodes, resizes, and re-compresses, changing its underlying data as it travels through a complex network of actors and systems” (Titusz Pan). Therefore, unlike existing content-derived identifiers (like e.g., SHA256), as a multi-dimensional identifier the ISCC does not exclusively rely on the functionality of a cryptographic hash alone, but also uses similarity preserving hash functions (e.g., Simhash, Minhash) in the process of generating an ISCC.

The main distinguishing feature of the ISCC to other existing standardised content identifiers (e.g., ISBN, DOI, or ISRC) is the fact that the ISCC is generated from the content file itself. This means that an ISCC can be generated by anyone with access to the digital media asset, free of charge by using open-source software, without the need to exchange any external metadata beforehand. By using ISCC, anyone with access to digital content – it could be the original creator, a publisher, an intermediary, an online platform or a consumer – can decentrally generate the same (or similar) identifier from the same (or similar) digital media asset. This allows anyone to unambiguously identify the same or probabilistically match similar content independent of centralised organisations, registries or proprietary third-party services and software.

If ISCC codes are declared on public blockchain networks, creators and rightsholders can associate metadata, rights management information, credentials or other claims to the identifier. Consequently, anyone with access to the media asset will be able to reverse-lookup all information that may be associated with the identifier. 

ISCC codes are designed to be used in decentralised media environments and the web3. Decentralised content-derived identifiers support a large number of use cases that do not require the use of blockchain networks. In this sense, ISCC codes are perfectly suited to bridge the shift of paradigm from web2 to web3, which we can observe in the media industries and elsewhere. 

If you have any questions about the ISCC, feel free to reach out. I will be happy to update you on the further developments in the coming weeks and months.

ISCC homepage:

ISO/CD 24138:

ISO/TC 46/SC 9: