What is an ISSN?
You have certainly already noticed or used this perhaps mysterious code on serials which you read or consult or in references concerning articles or serials : the ISSN (International Standard Serial Number).
The ISSN is the standardized international code which allows the identification of any serial publication, including electronic serials, independently of its country of publication, of its language or alphabet, of its frequency, medium, etc. The ISSN number,therefore, preceded by these 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.
ISSN numbers are assigned by the ISSN national Centres coordinated in a network. All ISSN are accessible via the ISSN Register. The ISSN is not "just another administrative number". The ISSN should be as basic a part of a serial as the title.
- 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.
- As a human readable code, the ISSN also results in accurate citing of serials by scholars, researchers, information scientists and librarians.
- In libraries, the ISSN is used for identifying titles, ordering and checking in, claiming serials, interlibrary-loan, union catalog reporting etc.
- ISSN is a fundamental tool for efficient document delivery. ISSN 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 EDI (electronic data interchange).