International Identifier for serials
and other continuing resources, in the electronic and print world

The ISSN-L for publications on multiple media




 Send to a friend

When a publication is published on several media, a linking ISSN is assigned so that the media can be easily grouped and the contents are easier to manage.

  • What is an ISSN-L?
  • Why an ISSN-L?
  • Reference to the ISSN-L on your publications
  • Changing an ISSN-L
  • Finding the ISSN-L of a publication

What is an ISSN-L?

The linking ISSN, or ISSN-L, is a specific ISSN that groups the different media of the same serial publication.

A single ISSN-L is designated for all media of a serial publication, irrespective of how many there are.

A serial publication is associated with a single ISSN-L.


  • Publication on a single medium
    ISSN-L 1748-7188
    Electronic resource: Algorithms for molecular biology = ISSN 1748-7188
  • Publication on two media
    ISSN-L 0264-2875
    Printed version: Dance research = ISSN 0264-2875
    Electronic version: Dance research (Online) = ISSN 1750-0095
  • Publication on three media
    ISSN-L 1188-1534
    Printed version: Plant varieties journal (Ottawa) = ISSN 1188-1534
    Electronic version: Plant varieties journal (Ottawa. Online) = ISSN 1911-1479
    CD-Rom version: Plant varieties journal (Ottawa. CD-Rom) = ISSN 1911-1460

Why an ISSN-L?

An ISSN-L simplifies the search, recovery and delivery of data for various services including, in particular, search systems and knowledge databases.

Reference to the ISSN-L on your publications

To use the ISSN-L optimally, you should clearly show it on each version of your publication.

The ISSN-L takes the following form:
– the acronym ISSN-L is shown in capitals,
– followed by a space,
– followed by two groups of four digits, separated by a hyphen.

The number must always be preceded by the ISSN-L acronym.

Changing an ISSN-L

A new ISSN-L is assigned to your publication if the titles of all of the media are changed substantially at the same time.

In this case:

  • each version receives a new ISSN, and
  • the publication receives a new ISSN-L.


Printed version:
Acta Physiologica Scandinavica (Print)= ISSN 0001-6772 and ISSN-L 0001-6772
Electronic version:
Acta Physiologica Scandinavica (Online)= ISSN 1365-201X and ISSN-L 0001-6772

Finding the ISSN-L of a publication

The ISSN-L of a publication can be accessed in various ways:

ISSN-L – definition
ISSN-L is defined in the new ISSN standard (ISO 3297) as an “ISSN designated by the ISSN Network to enable collocation or versions of a continuing resource linking among the different media”.
ISSN-L and OpenURL
As part of OpenURL, ISSN-L enables:

  • more precise queries based on citations (query chain),
  • better response rates at the end of the process.

Depending on the context, queries can accordingly encode both:

  • the ISSN, pointing for example to the electronic resource itself, and
  • the ISSN-L pointing to all of the publications’ media.

At the other end of the process, the knowledge bases can associate any ISSN with its ISSN-L, and thereby to all ISSN of the various media.