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Frequently Asked Questions on ISSN

1. What is a “Serial Publication”?
A publication, in any medium, issued in successive parts, usually having numerical or chronological designation and intended to be continued with no pre-determined end.
Serials include periodicals, newspapers, annuals journals, series, memoirs, proceedings, transactions etc. of societies.

2. What is an ISSN (International Standard Serial Number)?
The ISSN is an eight-digit number which identifies periodical publications as such, including electronic serials. ISSN numbers are assigned by a centrally coordinated network and are meant to be used widely by all the partners of the information chain.

3. What is the ISSN Network?
The ISSN Network is made up of National Centres whose work is coordinated by the
ISSN International Centre situated in Paris.

4. What is the importance of the Network?
The ISSN Network was established to control the assignment of ISSN, to maintain a database of records for the world’s serial publications, and to act as the standards of authority.

5. When should an ISSN be changed?

  • When the title of the publication is changed.
  • When the medium of publication change (e.g. from printed publication to electronic publication).
  • Mergers with other serials, supplements, other editions should be submitted to the centre which may decide that separate ISSN is needed.

6. What to consider in choosing a title?

  • The title should be unique, concise and distinctive.
  • Avoid words indicating frequently and acronyms.

7. How to present a title?

  • Clearly distinguish your title from any sub-titles.
  • The title should be the same from one issue to the other.
  • The information on the masthead should be stated clearly.

8. Can the ISSN be used to create bar-code?
Yes, the ISSN is used as the identification code by EAN 13, the major bar coding symbology used in commercial distribution throughout the world.

9. What is the difference between ISSN and ISBN?
ISSN are assigned to Serial Publications while ISBN are assigned to Monographs (books).

10. Is ISSN Mandatory?
Yes, all serial publications covered by legal deposit must have an ISSN.


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