The Crossref Curriculum

ISSNs and ISBNs

An International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) or International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a number used to uniquely identify a serial or book publication. To obtain an ISSN, you need to register with the ISSN International Centre; and for an ISBN, with your national ISBN agency.

ISSNs/ISBNs are useful in distinguishing between serials or books with the same title. If a publication with the same content is published in more than one format, a different identifier is assigned to each media type. For example, a journal may have a print ISSN and an electronic ISSN, and print and ebooks have different ISBNs.

  • Include the title and ISSN/ISBN when you first deposit metadata for a content item in our system (if applicable)
  • Include both print and electronic ISSNs/ISBNs (if applicable)

If the journal does not have an ISSN at the time of registering content for it, include a title-level DOI for the journal. Once the ISSN is known, deposits should include both the ISSN and the journal-level DOI. Ideally, you would also update the metadata for all the previously registered content to include the ISSN. If you have any queries, please contact us.

We do not verify your title and ISSN combination with an external agency, but we carry out a check digit validation on every ISSN deposited. Once a title or ISSN is deposited, a new publication with the same title or ISSN can’t be created. If you try to make another deposit using a title and ISSN combination that does not match the combination in our system, the deposit will not work. Learn more about updating title records, including ISSNs/ISBNs.

Page owner: Laura J. Wilkinson   |   Last updated 2020-April-08