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

Practical uses of the ISSN




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Beyond its role of identifying titles, the ISSN is an essential daily tool for all serial publication professionals.

  • Electronic archiving
  • Cataloguing
  • Distribution, subscriptions and management

Electronic archiving

The ISSN International Portal is the worldwide catalogue for serial publications. Serial publications are registered in it exhaustively.

Consequently, the ISSN is a bibliographical tool: students, researchers, writers of summaries and librarians can use it to give the precise references of a serial publication.


Used as a standardised identification digital code, the ISSN is used in IT applications to:
– update files,
– establish links between different files, and
– search for and exchange data.

Distribution, subscriptions and management

Libraries use the ISSN to:
– identify titles,
– order and verify serial publications, and
– claim missing issues.

The ISSN simplifies lending operations between libraries, as well as controls and verifications on union catalogues.

The ISSN must be used precisely to ensure OpenURL-based links are resolved correctly.

The ISSN is a practical and cost-effective communication tool between publishers and suppliers.

It helps commercial distribution systems to be fast and efficient.