International standard number for serial publications

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Logo of the German Institute for Standardization DIN ISO 3297
Area Information and documentation
title International standard number for serial publications (ISSN)
Brief description: ISSN
Latest edition 2007-09
ISO 3297

The International Standard Serial Number ( Engl. International Standard Serial Number , ISSN ) is a number that periodicals and serials clearly identified. The equivalent for books is the ISBN , for digital objects the DOI . The ISSN is based on the international standard ISO 3297 from 1975. The ISSN is administered centrally by the Center International de l'ISSN in Paris. Since the end of 2013, scientific blogs and blogs of general interest can also receive an ISSN.

Structure of the ISSN

An ISS number consists of eight digits , which are subdivided into two groups of four digits each by a hyphen , such as 1234-5679(instead of a digit, an “X” can be placed in the last position, see below). In the ISSN - unlike the ISBN  - it is not possible to identify from the number components from which language area or publisher a collective work originates, even if the two groups with four digits each suggest this. The hyphen is only used as a visual distinguishing feature from other coding systems such as the ISBN and for better readability. In terms of content, the first seven digits represent the actual ISSN, the eighth digit is a check digit .

To calculate the check digit, the checksum of the first seven digits, weighted in descending order from 8 to 2, is calculated (eight first digit plus seven second digit, etc.). The check digit is now calculated as follows:

The check digit is represented as the character . X

To validate the check digit, you can simply calculate the checksum of all 8 digits, weighted in descending order from 8 to 1. If this can be divided by 11 without a remainder, the check digit is correct.

The publications by Elizabeth H. Groot listed below contain a literature compilation on the historical and technical development of the ISSN up to 1977.

Award and principles

The ISSN is assigned by national ISSN centers, which together form the ISSN network ; in Germany this is, for example, the German National Library in Frankfurt am Main, in Switzerland the Swiss National Library in Bern. According to ISO 3297, a separate ISSN should be assigned for each media type in a magazine, for example one for paper and one for CD-ROM. In practice, however, this is not always done that way, because the digital media meanwhile enable PDF output that does not differ from the paper output.

Once an ISSN has been issued, it also applies retrospectively to previously published volumes.

ISSN as an EAN code

The thirteen-digit EAN code is used to convert the ISSN into a barcode . Similar to the implementation of the ISBN , the seven digits of the ISSN (i.e. without the check digit) are preceded by a 977. Numbers 11 and 12 can be used for special or double editions. If not used, these reserve digits are "0". The thirteenth digit is the check digit according to the EAN guidelines.

In Germany, however, the ISSN is not sufficient as a basis for coding if the magazine is to be sold in newsagents. Magazines appearing here require their own title code , the so-called VDZ object number, which is assigned by GS1 . The reason is consideration for small sales outlets that do not have an inventory control system that can be used to assign codes to the appropriate prices. The detour via a system is also not necessary for magazines, because there is price maintenance: every magazine always costs the same everywhere.

The fixed price allows the price of the magazine to be permanently coded into the sequence of digits, thus keeping the technical effort at the kiosks low. The following are encoded: the VAT rate, the title number and the price. The sequence of digits 419, for example, defines the VAT rate of 7%. It is followed by the five-digit title number, then the four-digit price and the check digit.

Technically, the magazine title code is produced like the 13-digit EAN code. The determination of the check digit is also the same.

Extensions (eISSN, SICI)

The eISSN is the international standard electronic journal number . Electronic editions and print versions do not have to have the same journal number. If issues of identical titles appear in different media formats at the same time, they usually receive their own ISSN.

Since the ISSN only designates entire series, the Serial Item and Contribution Identifier (SICI) was introduced especially for electronic access , specified in ANSI / NISO Z39.56, which can also uniquely identify individual sections and articles in issue volumes. It is primarily intended for use by those members of the bibliographic community involved in the use or management of journal titles and their contributions serial titles and their contributions ”). In 2001 JSTOR took it over for article numbering.

Identification numbers for other publications

There are separate numbering systems for other forms of publication such as books and notated musical works:

  • ISAN - International Standard Audiovisual Number
  • ISBN - International Standard Book Number
  • ISMN - International Standard Music Number (for printed and digitized music notations)
  • ISRC - The International Standard Recording Code
  • ISRN - International Standard Technical Report Number
  • ISTC - International Standard Text Code
  • ISWC - International Standard Musical Work Code


  • DIN ISO 3297, German version, successor to DIN 1430t.
  • ÖNORM A 2652.
  • Elizabeth H. Groot: Unique identifiers for serials: an annotated, comprehensive bibliography. In: The Serials Librarian 1976 ( ISSN  0361-526X , CODEN SELID4), Vol. 1, Ed. 1, pp. 51-75.
  • Elizabeth H. Groot: Unique identifiers for serials: 1977 update. In: The Serials Librarian 1978 ( ISSN  0361-526X , CODEN SELID4), Vol. 2, Ed. 3, pp. 247-255.

Web links


  1. ^ The ISSN International Register | ISSN. Retrieved November 4, 2018 (American English).
  2. Newsletter standardization and development. German National Library, Standardization Office, December 24, 2013, accessed on November 4, 2018 .
  3. Identification with the EAN 13 barcode | ISSN. Retrieved November 4, 2018 (American English).