International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

What is an International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)?

An International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) is a unique eight-digit number used to identify a periodical publication at a specific media type, for example a scholarly journal title. It is internationally accepted as a fundamental identifier for distinguishing between identical serial titles and facilitating checking and ordering procedures, collection management, legal deposit, interlibrary loans etc.

Each ISSN is unique. The ISSN refers to the ISSN for the traditional/printed/paper version of the scholarly journal, while the online ISSN refers to the electronic/digital/online version of the journal.

Therefore - if a scholarly journal is published in both formats (printed and online), it must have two ISSNs: one for the printed version and one for the online version.

Clearly display the ISSN for a scholarly journal on each version, and - for clarification - additional ISSN's to distinguish all, for example the online ISSN.

Example: South African Journal of Industrial Engineering

ISSN 2224-7890 (Online) ; ISSN 1012-277X (Print)

Apply for an ISSN and online ISSN

Apply through a registered ISN Agency. The National Library of South Africa (NLSA) will no longer issue ISSNs. It must now be done directly via the ISSN International Centre: Request an ISSN

Click here to find an ISN Agency (all other countries).

Find an ISSN

ROAD provides free access to those ISSN bibliographic records which describe scholarly resources in Open Access: journals, conference proceedings and academic repositories.

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Ulrich's Web (subscription required)


Advanced Science Index Online ISSN Checker

ISSN Lookup

Useful Links

International Standard Serial Number International Centre

The ISSN for electronic media

Wikipedia ISSN