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An International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) is a unique eight-digit number used to identify a periodical publication at a specific media type. It is internationally accepted as a fundamental identifier for distinguishing between identical serial titles and facilitating checking and ordering procedures, collection management, legal deposit, interlibrary loans etc.
When a periodical is published, with same content, in two or more different media, a different ISSN is assigned to each media type — in particular the print and electronic media types, named print ISSN (p-ISSN) and electronic ISSN (e-ISSN or eISSN).
The ISSN system was first drafted as an ISO international standard in 1971 and published as ISO 3297 in 1975. The ISO subcommittee TC 46/SC 9 is responsible for the standard. To assign a unique identifier to the serial as content (linking among the different media), ISSN-L must be used, as difined by ISO 3297:2007.
The format of the ISSN is an eight digit number, divided by a hyphen into two four-digit numbers. The last digit, which may be 0-9 or an X, is a check digit. The general form of the ISSN code can be expressed by a PCRE regular expression,
The ISSN of the journal Hearing Research, for example, is 0378-5955, the check digit is 5. To calculate the check digit, the following algorithm may be used:
To confirm the check digit, calculate the sum of all eight digits of the ISSN multiplied by its position in the number, counting from the right (if the check digit is X, then add 10 to the sum). The modulus 11 of the sum must be 0.
Also, there is an Online ISSN checker can check validity of ISSN base on above algorithm.
ISSN codes are assigned by a network of ISSN National Centres, usually located at national libraries and coordinated by the ISSN International Centre based in Paris. The International Centre is an intergovernmental organization created in 1974 through an agreement between UNESCO and the French government. The International Centre maintains a database of all ISSNs assigned worldwide, the ISDS Register (International Serials Data System) otherwise known as the ISSN Register. As of 2011[update], the ISSN Register contained records for 1,623,566 items.
ISSN and ISBN codes are similar in concept, where ISBNs are assigned to individual books. An ISBN might be assigned for particular issues of a periodical, in addition to the ISSN code for the periodical as a whole. An ISSN, unlike the ISBN code, is an anonymous identifier associated with a periodical title, containing no information as to the publisher or its location. For this reason a new ISSN is assigned to a periodical each time it undergoes a major title change.
Since the ISSN applies to an entire periodical a new identifier, the Serial Item and Contribution Identifier, was built on top of it to allow references to specific volumes, articles, or other identifiable components (like the table of contents).
Separate ISSN are needed for serials in different media (with the exception of reproduction microforms). Thus the print and electronic media versions of a serial need separate ISSN. Also, a CD-ROM version and a web version of a serial require different ISSN since two different media are involved. However, the same ISSN can be used for different file formats (ex. PDF and HTML) of the same online serial.
This "media-oriented identification" of serials make sense in the 1970s. In the 1990s, with the PCs, good screens, and the Web, what make sense is to consider only content, independent of media. "Content-oriented identification" of serial's contents, arrives with the indecs Content Model and its application the Digital Object Identifier (DOI).
ISSN not updated, but later, in 2007, ISSN-L was defined in the new ISSN standard (ISO 3297:2007) as an “ISSN designated by the ISSN Network to enable collocation or versions of a continuing resource linking among the different media”.
The ISSN Register is not freely available for interrogation on the web but is available by subscription. There are several routes to the identification and verification of ISSN codes for the general public.
An ISSN can be encoded as a Uniform Resource Name (URN) by prefixing it with "urn:ISSN:". For example Rail could be referred to as "urn:ISSN:1534-0481". URN namespaces are case-sensitive, and the ISSN namespace is all caps. If the checksum digit is "X" then it is always encoded in uppercase in a URN.
The util URNs are content-oriented, but ISSN is media-oriented:
A unique URN for serials simplifies the search, recovery and delivery of data for various services including, in particular, search systems and knowledge databases. ISSN-L was created to fill this gap.
The "default" ISSN. ISSN for print media (paper) version of the periodic.
ISSN for electronic media (online) version of the periodic.