International Standard Serial Number

What Does International Standard Serial Number Mean?

An International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) is a unique serial number used to identify a publication or printed literature. ISSN is an eight-digit number that helps categorizing books, especially those having the same title. Libraries and bookshops keep the details, cataloging and other such information about books according to their unique serial number.


Techopedia Explains International Standard Serial Number

The International Standard Serial Number is used for serial publications, such as magazines or comic books, as opposed to the International Standard Book Number (ISBN), which is used for books.

The International Standard Serial Number was first approved to be made part of printed publications in a decision made by International Organization for Standardization (ISO) in 1971 and published as ISO 3297 in 1975. A subcommittee responsible for maintaining and keeping check on this application is TC 46/SC 9. With electronic versions of many printed publications, it became a challenge to assign unique ISSNs, as the content in both was the same. This was resolved by placing an e-ISSN on the electronic form of the publication.


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Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…