What Is An International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)?

What is an International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)?

Defining the International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

Welcome to another installment of our “Definitions” series. Today, we will explore and demystify the concept of the International Standard Serial Number (ISSN). Whether you’re a publisher, researcher, or avid reader, understanding the ISSN can be beneficial in navigating the vast world of publications. So, let’s dive right in!

Key Takeaways:

  • An ISSN is a unique identification number assigned to a serial publication
  • It helps to ensure accurate identification and retrieval of publications

Now, you might be thinking, “What exactly is an ISSN?” Well, an International Standard Serial Number, or ISSN for short, is a unique numerical identifier assigned to a serial publication. These publications can include journals, magazines, newsletters, newspapers, and even online publications. Essentially, an ISSN serves as a digital fingerprint, distinguishing one publication from another.

But why is this identification necessary, you might ask? The answer lies in the ever-expanding volume of available publications. With countless journals and magazines being published globally, it can be challenging to accurately identify and retrieve specific publications. That’s where the ISSN comes to the rescue.

Here are a couple of key takeaways:

  • Accurate Identification: An ISSN provides a standardized way to uniquely identify a publication. Just like a fingerprint, no two publications have the same ISSN, enabling seamless identification in databases and libraries.
  • Efficient Retrieval: With the help of the ISSN, researchers, librarians, and readers can easily locate and retrieve specific publications from a vast sea of information. It streamlines the process, saving time and effort.

So, how does an ISSN actually work? The International Standard Serial Number consists of eight digits, divided into two groups of four, separated by a hyphen. For example, an ISSN could look like this: 1234-5678. The last digit is a check digit calculated based on the previous seven digits, ensuring the validity of the ISSN.

It’s important to note that an ISSN is generally assigned to the publication as a whole, rather than individual issues or volumes. In the case of publications with different editions or variations, each variant may be assigned a separate ISSN.

Now that you have a better understanding of what an ISSN is and its significance let’s recap the key takeaways:

  • Accurate Identification: An ISSN helps to accurately identify a publication and distinguish it from others.
  • Efficient Retrieval: The ISSN facilitates easy retrieval of specific publications, saving time and effort in research.

The International Standard Serial Number plays a crucial role in the organization and access to serial publications. By providing a unique identifier, it ensures that publications can be easily identified, located, and accessed by researchers, librarians, and readers worldwide.

We hope this article has shed some light on the meaning and importance of the ISSN. Stay tuned for more informative posts in our “Definitions” series!