International Standard Serial Number


January 21, 2022

The International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) is an international number that uniquely identifies a serial publication. It therefore concerns newspapers, reviews and collections of monographs, whatever the medium. Beyond its role as a permanent identifier for titles, the ISSN is an essential tool for the management of periodicals for electronic archiving, cataloguing, distribution, subscription management and digitization. Monographs use ISBN numbering. The ISSN is standardized by the text ISO 3297:2020 (ICS no 01.140.20) and depends on the technical committee ISO/TC46 (Information and documentation). Originally published in 1975, the official text was revised in 1986, 1998, 2007, 2017 and 2020. This standard can be ordered from the ISO website.


An ISSN number is in the form of two groups of four digits separated by a hyphen, preceded by the acronym “ISSN” itself. The eighth digit is a check digit calculated according to a modulo 11 algorithm on the basis of the previous seven digits, it can be an "X" if the result of the calculation is equal to 10, in order to avoid any ambiguity. As the value of the last digit is totally dependent on those of the first seven, there are ten million possible ISSNs (10 power 7) of which just under two million have already been assigned (in June 2017), i.e. 20% of all combinations, and about 700,000 more in March 2019 (nearly 27% of possible ISSNs), which leaves a relatively short time before the ISSN reserve is exhausted (about twenty years only if the rate of attribution remains constant). Example: For the ISSN number (seven digits) ISSN 0395-203 what is the control key? That is a total of 114 whose remainder of the Euclidean division by 11 is 4. The control key is therefore 11 - 4 7. The full ISSN is: ISSN 0395-2037 (this is the ISSN of the daily Le Monde). It is a numeric code that has no intrinsic meaning (unlike the digits of an ISBN). An ISSN is linked to: a title a period (year-year) a tongue a medium (paper or electronic) Each time one of these four parameters changes, the ISSN also changes. If a publication changes title and then reverts to its old title, then three separate ISSNs will be required because the periods will be separate. The ISSN is associated with the title of the publication; if this is significantly modified, a new ISSN must be assigned without canceling the previous number (e.g.: ISSN 1273-9006 for the journal France-observer (1954-1964) then ISSN 0029-4713 for The New Observer (Paris) (1964-).

General Principles


The ISSN (International Standard Serial Number) identifies all continuing resources, regardless of their medium, printed or electronic: newspapers annual publications (reports, directories, directories, etc.) journals magazines collections Web sites data base blogs, etc. The ISSN identifies the publication as such, with reference to its title and medium. Thus, we will always have the same ISSN for: all issues of a periodical all issues of a magazine all the CD-Roms of a series, etc. If the publication is available on different media (electronic publication, publication in Braille, etc.), an ISSN number is required for each medium.

Print ISSN

The "p-ISSN" (in English: press ISSN) is the default ISSN, which concerns the written press.

Electronic ISSN

The "e-ISSN" (or eISSN, in English electronic ISSN) is the ISSN for the electronic press (online). Example: ISSN 2380-5382 and e-ISSN 2469-6722 correspond to the journal Texas R

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