To request general or specific information on the ISSN, fill out the forms that you will find in the drop down menu within the page "Ask the library staff ".

The Italian ISSN Centre operates on the basis of international law ISSN (ISO 3297: 2007, ISO 3297: 2010) and in accordance with the requirements and recommendations from ISSN Network and the International ISSN Centre (

The international ISSN portal ROAD dedicated to open access scientific resources:

23/01/2018, Counter ROAD:   735 Italian publications  in the ISSN directory ISSN of the scientific open access

Click  here  for info on ROAD.

 To view the cataloguing rules ISSN (ISSN Manual 2015) click here


What is a serial publication?

According to the precise definition, based on ISO 3297 (UNI ISO 3297:2010), which also allows you to define the exact scope of ISSN, publication in the series is a "Publication recorded on any support, issued in successive parts, generally equipped with a numeric or chronological designation, which intends to publish without limit of time. "This definition excludes all works intended to be published in a defined number of parties and temporal pre-determined duration. ISSN applies to all of the publications in series, whether past, present or which will be published in the foreseeable future. publications in the series include magazines, newspapers, publications annually (such as reports, yearbooks, catalogues), magazines, necklaces, monographic series, memoirs, reports, proceedings of the society. The serial published on different physical media (eg: paper, DVD, online ...) must be identified by different ISSN codes.

The ISSN is required?

In some countries all serial publications subject to legal deposit must be provided with ISSN and publishers must ensure that it is printed on each file. In Italy the identification of a serial ISSN is not mandatory for publication. The law mandates that the use of bar codes - containing the ISSN - to trace the commercial magazines distribution and periodicals (provided for by DL May 18, 2012 n. 63, Art. 4, paragraph 1) - has been extended to the date the 31/12/2017 (as established by Decree Law 30 December 2016 n. 244, art. 2 "provisions on publishing and term of office of the national Council and the regional Councils of the Order of journalists", paragraph 2).

Editorial types which does not apply the ISSN

The ISSN does not apply to:

-          books or monographs itself concluded assimilated to them, even when they are traded  sequentially in separate parts (as in the case of books in installments, or chapters of the book sold separately); subsequent editions of books, series, or multi-volume monographs published thereafter, the conclusion of which is already clearly predetermined;

-          publications on demand; single articles or papers published in journals or series; extracts; publications that declare themselves "unique numbers";

-          publications which, although designed with the intention of the publishers or authors to become periodical or produce other issues in the future (as in the case of acts of conferences or events for which you provide subsequent repetitions), not showing clearly indicated in the editorial pages bibliographic elements suitable to identify the continuation in the series (explicit indication of periodicity or update; indication of chronological series, sequential numbering of the single issues, etc.). publications in their series of issues do not show always the title significantly identical (as in the case of conference proceedings iterated over time, in which a substantial identity of matter or promoter does not match a formal identity of the title that enables the   'detection of the series under a strictly bibliographic profile);

-          publishing products predominantly designed to use of Office Supply or stationery (such as diaries, school diaries, calendars, etc.). advertising material; postcards, graphic prints; educational composite material  (games, kits formed by several components, etc);

-          publishing products in which, for the purpose of re-marketing, are assembled serial publications or monographs already published previously, and in which, therefore, the packaging or the total bookbinding (cover, packaging, cellophane, cardboard, case, bag, box, strap, dustjacket, etc. , including any advertising sheet / accompanying information leaflets) constitute the only editorial or typographical innovative element;

-          products where the serial publication is composed primarily or exclusively by:

o   only packaging components (eg cover, hardcover, cellophane, envelope, bag, case, etc) that support physically or contain other type of product editorial or not editorial, that constitutes the main content of the total packaging or the  bookbinding;

o   one or more accompanying information leaflets  (illustrative brochure, leaflets, brochures, posters, etc) which show or illustrate the characteristics of one or more products, publishing or not publishing, which constitute the main content of the total packaging or the  bookbinding.

-          websites of nature clearly commercial or advertising; institutional websites / of organization / community; blogs or websites purely personal; websites with ephemeral aim ephemeral (ie whose temporal conclusion is implicit in their design).

When you need to change an ISSN?

It is assigned a new ISSN when you change the title of the publication, or when you change the physical media of publication (eg: transition from online to paper) .There are taken into account other changes to the publication of such change of publisher, place of publication of frequency, editorial policy, etc. However, in the event of a merger with other titles, supplements, other issues, etc. It should consult the National ISSN Centre who decides whether it is necessary to assign new ISSN codes. The assignment of a new ISSN, in the case of a title change, is derived from the principle on which is based the ISSN system, namely the uniqueness of each of the elements that compose the whole ISSN / key title. In fact, if the same ISSN correspond to different titles, not only it would cause ambiguities and misunderstandings, but would also be denied the principle of unique match ISSN / key title.

ISSN number is also attributed to different linguistic or geographic editions of the same serial.

Different ISSN numbers are assigned for different versions of a publication (print, online, on magnetic media, CD-ROM, microfiche ...)?

Yes, registration on multiple media determines the allocation of more ISSN, one for each support, although the title remains unchanged. Only reproductions made in order to replace the original publication (facsimiles) retain the ISSN of the original publication. In the case of online publications it is assigned only one ISSN to identify all the different versions of a serial published with the same title (edition digitized version printed, digital native version; available versions simultaneously in different encoding formats such as PDF or HTML; versions for devices such as mobile phones, e-book readers, etc.).

Has any significance the ISSN?

Unlike ISBN (for books), the ISSN is just an identification number: the figures contained within it does not serve to identify-as in the case of ISBN-nor the geographical/linguistic affiliation, nor the Publisher of the publication. ISSN numbers are assigned in ascending order, from the National ISSN Centres, according to a single sequence for all Centres.

Is it possible to get an ISSN number before the publication of the first issue of a new publication in the series?

Yes, in the case of publications on static physical media (paper, CD, DVD, etc.): This is the so-called pre-allocation, which releases the ISSN in safe mode. The pre-assignment is done according to specific identification criteria, and the publisher is always required to provide, together with the ISSN request, the entire editorial documentation required by the National Reference Centre; after the publication will be sent to the competent ISSN Centre a copy of the first issue published. Without receiving and verifying the first issue actually published there is no way for the ISSN Centre validate permanently assigning the provisional code.

In the case of online publications, however, it is not possible to obtain an ISSN number before the actual publication.

Is there a list of all ISSN assigned?

Yes, all ISSN assigned through the ISSN network  are logged, together with the relevant bibliographic or editorial information, in the ISSN Register, the database managed by the International ISSN Centre. This database is available, to the trade arrangements provided by the International Network, at the website:

What is the difference between ISSN and ISBN?

The ISSN numbers are assigned to serial publications; ISBNs are assigned to monographs.

An ISSN number can be attributed to a set of monographs when they are organized  in series; in this case in addition to the ISSN identifying the title of the series will be assigned to each volume belonging to it an ISBN code. The ISBN and ISSN are handled differently. In fact while to each publisher is assigned a specific ISSN code that identifies it  together with a set of ISBN numbers that the same publisher will subsequently assign to his own books, the numbers are assigned by the ISSN National Centres coordinated within the Network. Each serial publication  , in fact, must be identified unambiguously than any other publication having similar or even identical titles.

Is it possible to use the ISSN to create a barcode?

Yes, the ISSN is used as an identification code to be entered in the EAN 13, the major  symbology of barcode used globally.

The ISSN Centre does not predispose or release barcodes. For further information on barcodes please contact the International Member GS1  that manages them, at the following link:

What is the use?

The ISSN is not "another administrative number". For a serial publication ISSN is an essential element as much as the title. As standardized numeric identification code, the ISSN finds application in automated procedures designed to update and report archives as well as in the recovery and transmission of data. As a code readable to the naked eye, allows students, researchers, librarians and information specialists to refer precisely to a particular publication in series. In libraries  the ISSN is used to identify the title of a periodical, to submit orders, to check arrivals and ask for missing issues, for interlibrary loan, for collective catalogues, etc. The ISSN code, therefore, is a critical tool for the efficient management of the acquisition and delivery of documents. In addition, the ISSN is also a tool for communication between publishers and distributors useful and economical, as it makes the commercial distribution systems  faster and more efficient, thanks to the use of bar codes and the exchange of electronic data (EDI, Electronic Data Interchange).

Is it necessary the ISSN for the issue of a publication?

No, the ISSN identifies the publication in its entirety; it is changed only in the case in which there is a change in the title of the publication in series.

Where and how is printed the ISSN?

In the serial printed publications  the ISSN appears preferably in the upper right corner of the cover. The number must always be preceded by the acronym ISSN. Other correct positions are : the editorial page, the copyright page, and editorial notes. If the serial publication is registered paperless, the ISSN possibly will appear on an internal source as for example the title screen or the home page. Other locations recommended for these formats are the external sources such as headings microfiche; labels cassettes or discs, etc. In the case of publications accompanied by (or contained in) hardback or blurbs, covers, cases, bags or other external envelopes of any type the ISSN code must be printed on the issue/number of actual publication; the printing of the ISSN code only on the accompanying external material  - destined by its nature to a rapid elimination - is not sufficient to ensure the identification of the publication.

In the case where the same serial is published on different physical media (for example, the print version and online version) is appropriate to publish on each version every ISSN assigned to identify the different physical media, adding the appropriate descriptive term to distinguish them. For example:

ISSN 1562-6865 (Online) ISSN 1063-7710 (Print)   or

Online publication: ISSN 1562-6865 Printed Publication : ISSN 1063-7710

A title that has had the ISSN is protected by copyright?

No, most serial publications can have similar or identical titles. However, in several countries, the ISSN is used by institutions responsible for coordination of reproduction rights to manage the coverage of copyright of articles published in the serial publications.

The ISSN guarantees the quality of the publications  in series?

When a serial publication ( printed, online, or on another physical support, of any level or subject area) is identified by an ISSN code ISSN means that it is a publication that meets the requirements for the attribution of ISSN system, and is therefore classified as a “serial” (serial publication). The ISSN does not provide any kind of guarantee with respect to the contents of the serial, neither any assessment about it.

Note that the ISSN code can also be assigned previously to the issue of the first serial number (pre-assignment).

What control activities  compete to ISSN Centre?

Should be submitted requests for pre-assignment code - before the actual publication of the serial - abnormal or accompanied with editorial documentation  unsuitable for sufficient identification, the ISSN Centre can make issue of code to the receipt of authentic documentation of the publication (copy output / issue actually published, to be sent by regular mail).

The ISSN Centre has the power to not release the identification code in cases where the publication for which it received the application does not comply with the bibliographic requirements foreseen by the ISSN identification system identification, or in cases where the application is found to be clearly incorrect , misleading or false.

The ISSN Centre can not accept requests for ISSN code made by publishers who have not successfully completed a previous application process by failing to send the first issue published with ISSN, or by failing to communicate, in the case of serial currently online, the occurred  online publication of the issue and ISSN code.

The ISSN Centre, besides performing checks in the preliminary phase of identification of the serial - in order to establish the conformity with the bibliographic requirements of the editorial product  indicated by the ISSN Network - makes control activities and maintenance of bibliographic data recorded even after the release of the identification code. The Centre can then request to publishers to send a issue / current serial output  even after the receipt of the first issue published with ISSN, to ensure the continuation of the bibliographic characteristics of the  publication that justify the identification through code already assigned.

Should the Centre finds substantial changes in the characteristics of the periodical originally identified may deliver a new ID code even without explicit request from the publisher (cd assignment office). It may also cancel an ISSN already released if it finds that the editorial or bibliographic characteristics of the publication are not actually such that it will fit between the categories  treated by the ISSN identification system, or when it appears that the person who made the original request of the ISSN code has intentionally provided incorrect information, misleading or false.

Possible complaints in respect of decisions taken by the ISSN Centre in relation to the deletion of the code can be forwarded - by those who has received the communication of the decision - to the ISSN Centre itself, which justifiably will respond within thirty days after receipt of the complaint. Further complaint about the reasoned response can be forwarded directly to the ISSN International Centre,


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Biblioteca Centrale 'G. Marconi'

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