An International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) is a unique eight-digit number used to identify a print or electronic periodical publication. The ISSN system was adopted as international standard ISO 3297 in 1975. The ISO subcommittee TC 46/SC 9 is responsible for the standard. Although International Standard Serial Number identifies periodicals, it does not identify specific volume or articles in each volume. Thus, Serial Item and Contribution Identifier (SICI) was developed as an extension of ISSN. SICI is a recognized international standard used by periodical publishers, bibliographic utilities, and library communities.
Today, numerous periodicals are published both in print and online in various languages. Some journals have similar titles and some have identical titles in different foreign languages. It is nearly impossible to organize, manage, and identify journals and articles without these standardized identification methods. ISSN and SICI are the outcome of international collaboration amongst publishing industries, libraries, and other bibliographic institutions.
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.
A "check digit" is a form of redundancy check used for error detection, the decimal equivalent of a binary checksum. It consists of a single digit computed from the other digits in the message. With a check digit, one can detect simple errors in the input of a series of digits, such as a single mistyped digit, or the permutation of two successive digits.
The ISSN of the journal Hearing Research, for example, is 0378-5955. To confirm the check digit, the following algorithm may be used:
Calculate the sum of the first seven digits of above ISSN multiplied by 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, and 2, respectively:
The modulus 11 of this sum is then calculated. Some calculators have a mod() function:
Alternatively, one can divide the sum by 11 and determine the remainder:
This modulus or remainder value is then subtracted from 11 to give the check digit:
An upper case X in the check digit position indicates a check digit of 10.
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. The ISSN Register contains ISSN codes and descriptions for more than one million periodicals with around 50,000 new records added yearly.
ISSN and ISBN codes are similar in concept, where ISBNs are assigned to individual books. For particular issues of a periodical an ISBN might be assigned in addition to the ISSN code for the periodical as a whole. Unlike the ISBN code, an ISSN 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 (see below), was built on top of it, to allow referencing specific volumes, articles, or other identifiable components.
The ISSN Register is not freely available for interrogation on the web but is available on a subscription basis. There are several routes to the identification and verification of ISSN codes for the general public.
An ISSN can be encoded as a URN (Uniform Resource Name) by prefixing it with "urn:issn:". For example Rail could be referred to as "urn:issn:1534-0481." If the checksum digit is "X" then it is always encoded in uppercase in a URN.
The Serial Item and Contribution Identifier (SICI) is a code (ANSI/NISO standard Z39.56) used to uniquely identify specific volumes, articles or other identifiable parts of a periodical. It is “intended primarily for use by those members of the bibliographic community involved in the use or management of serial titles and their contributions.”
It is an extension of the International Standard Serial Number, which identifies an entire periodical (similar to the way an ISBN number identifies a specific book). The ISSN applies to the entire publication, however, including every volume ever printed, so this more specific identifier was developed by the Serials Industry Systems Advisory Committee (SISAC) to allow references to specific parts of a journal.
The variable-length code is compatible with other identifiers, such as DOI, PII, and URN. It is free of charge.
The SICI is a recognized international standard and is in wide use by publishers and the bibliographic community, primarily as an aid to finding existing articles or issues. JSTOR adopted SICIs in 2001 as the primary article identifier, due to their persistence and applicability to the many types of journal content found in JSTOR's archive.
The SICI code is composed of three segments, intended to be both human-readable and easy for machines to parse automatically. The following example SICI is explained below:
All links retrieved April 18, 2014.
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