FAQ

What is an ISSN?
The ISSN (International Standard Serial Number) is an internationally standardised number identifying serial publications concisely and distinctively. The ISSN consists of 8 digits, the last of which being a check digit. The letter X can also have this check function.
Example: ISSN 1660-7325
 
How does the ISSN help?
The ISSN facilitates the automated administration of serial publications in publishing houses, agencies, book retailers and press sorting stations. Institutions administering bibliographic references use the entries on the ISSN-register in their catalogues. The ISSN enables students and researchers to cite serial publications with precision.
The ISSN is recorded together with its corresponding key title in Helveticat, the catalogue of the Swiss National Library, as well as in the International ISSN Register, enabling such a cost-free worldwide distribution of information about each publication.
 
What does the ISSN have to do with the barcode? And how do I receive a barcode?
The ISSN can be represented as a GTIN-13 code and converted into a barcode (EAN-13).
If you require a barcode, you can find further information in this brochure (in German, French and Italian):

The ISSN Centre is only responsible for issuing the ISSN. For further information please contact GS1 Switzerland.

What is the key title?
The key title is the distinctive title which accompanies the ISSN and which, like the ISSN itself, is unique.
 
When is an ISSN issued?
The ISSN can either be issued by the ISSN Centre or on request of a distributor/publisher or of other ISSN users.
The ISSN is closely connected to the title of the publication (key title). If this changes, a new ISSN is generally required.
 
How can I get hold of an ISSN?
An ISSN can be attained by filling out the ISSN application form. If the publication meets the criteria, its ISSN will be available within 72 hours and can be found by performing a title search in Helveticat. Where a publication only appears online, the ISSN will not be issued until after it has appeared.
 
Does the issuance of an ISSN include copyright?
No. Should you have any questions concerning copyright, please do not hesitate to contact:
How much does an ISSN cost?
The ISSN is free of charge.
 
How is the ISSN displayed?
The ISSN should be displayed clearly, always beginning with the ISSN prefix, preferably near the title. For various media issues, it is recommended to also display the ISSN of any other issues in the publications.


Example:  
Swiss journal of palaeontology
ISSN  1664-2376 (Print)
ISSN  1664-2384 (Online)

Where is the ISSN displayed?
For print publications: on the cover or the title page and/or the publisher's imprint.
For electronic publications on physical data media (CD-ROM, DVD-ROM, etc.): on an internal source, such as the title page or the publisher's imprint.
For online publications: on the title screen or alongside the publisher's details.
 
What should I do if the title changes? For how long is an ISSN valid?
An ISSN is valid until the title of a publication changes. If the title changes, please apply for a new ISSN by filling out the ISSN application form.
 

What does ISSN have to do with ISBN?
The ISSN (International Standard Serial Number) identifies a serial publication in its entirety, i.e. it applies to all issues of a magazine, newspaper, yearbook or journal. An ISBN (International Standard Book Number), by contrast, identifies a single book.

Last modification 31.03.2015

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Swiss National Library
ISSN Centre Switzerland
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