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ISSN and the SISAC Barcode (International Standard Serial Numbering)
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issn.gif (7603 bytes)The ISSN system is used for identifying serial publications (print and non-print); these are publications like magazines, newpapers, annual reports, etc. that are published at regular intervals.  The standard that governs the ISSN is ISO 3297-1975/ANSI Z39.9-1979.

An ISSN uniquely identifies a title regardless of language or country of origin.  The number is 8 digits long and looks like this:

            ISSN 1234-5679 

The first 7 digits identify the title; the last digit is a check digit.  If the final digit computes to a 10, an X is used (Roman numeral 10).  At the time an ISSN is registered the title is associated with it; if the title of the publication changes a new ISSN must be assigned.

The coordination of the ISSN is international, with registration initiated at the national level where serials are published. The National Serials Data Program (NSDP) within the Library of Congress is the U.S. Center of the ISSN Network. The ISSN International Centre located in Paris coordinates the network. NSDP is responsible for registering and providing ISSN for serials published in the United States and for promoting use of the ISSN.

For more details on the ISSN, visit the Library of Congress ISSN site at or ISSN International Headquarters at  You can contact the Library of Congress at:

Library of Congress
National Serials Data Program
Washington, D.C. 20540-4160

Tel.: (202) 707-6452
Fax: (202) 707-6333

The SISAC (Serials Industry Systems Advisory Committee) barcode symbol uses Code 128 to uniquely identify each issue of a serial publication using the ISSN, date of publication, and volume or issue number.  The SISAC symbol is a barcode representation of the SICI code (Serial Item and Contribution Identifier), which is described in the ANSI/NISO Z39.56-1991 standard.  Here is an example of a barcode with the SICI code underneath:

 issn.gif (7603 bytes)


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