What are ISSN and ISBN?
ISSN is the standardized international code, which allows the identification of any serial publication, including electronic serials, language or alphabet and frequency. The ISSN number is therefore preceded by the letters and appears as two groups of four digits, separated by a hyphen, has no signification in itself and does not contain in itself any information referring to the origin or contents of the publication.
As a standard numeric identification code, the ISSN is eminently suitable for computer use in fulfilling the need for file update and linkage, retrieval and transmittal of data.
It also results in accurate citing of serials by scholars, researchers, information scientists and librarians. ISSN is used for identifying titles, ordering and checking in, claiming serials, interlibrary-loan, union catalog reporting etc. It provides a useful and economical method of communication between publishers and suppliers, making trade distribution systems faster and more efficient, in particular through the use of bar-coding and electronic data interchange (EDI).
ISSN codes are assigned by a network of ISSN National Centers, usually located at national libraries and coordinated by the ISSN International Center based in Paris. The International Center is an intergovernmental organization created in 1974 through an agreement between UNESCO and the French government. The International Center maintains a database of all ISSNs assigned worldwide. The ISSN Register contains ISSN codes and descriptions for more than one million periodicals with around 50,000 new records added yearly.
ISSN and International Standard Book Number (ISBN) codes are similar in concept, where ISBNs are assigned to individual books. For particular issues of a periodical an ISBN might be assigned in addition to the ISSN code for the periodical as a whole. Unlike the ISBN code, an ISSN is an anonymous identifier associated with a periodical title, containing no information as to the publisher or its location. For this reason, a new ISSN is assigned to a periodical each time it undergoes a major title change.
The ISSN Register is not freely available for interrogation on the web but is available on a subscription basis. There are several routes to the identification and verification of ISSN codes for the general public.
a. The print version of a periodical typically will include the ISSN code as part of the publication information
b. Most but not all periodical websites contain ISSN code information
c. Derivative lists of publications will often contain ISSN codes, which can be found through on-line searches with the ISSN code itself, or periodical title
An ISSN provides a serial title with a fingerprint that allows publishers, book suppliers and libraries to easily locate and order it.