Home > Making and Providing Bibliographic Data > Japanese National Centre for ISSN

Japanese National Centre for ISSN

What is an ISSN?

The ISSN (International Standard Serial Number) is an international code number to identify serial publications. A particular ISSN corresponds to a particular media version of a serial publication. The ISSN is widely used as an identifier on a global scale. The ISSN is defined by the international standard (ISO 3297) and its corresponding national standard (JIS X 0306).

The National Diet Library (NDL), which acquires national serial publications exhaustively as the only national and deposit library in Japan, plays a role as the Japanese National Centre for ISSN.

As of the end of 2018, the Japanese National Centre for ISSN manages about 45,000 bibliographic records for serials with ISSN. They are included in the over 2 million records registered by the ISSN Network, an international organization managing the ISSN system.

*A "serial publication" is a publication which meets all the following criteria:

-Issued in a succession of discrete issues or parts (i.e., published continuously under a unique title and separately in volumes, etc.)

-Bearing numbering (e.g., a volume, number, issue, month, year, etc.)

-With no predetermined conclusion

To the head of this page

Outline of the Requirements for ISSN Application

The Japanese National Centre assigns an ISSN only when there is a request from a publisher or an agent of the publisher who made some contribution for editing, production, printing, etc.

The Japanese National Centre is in charge of and accepts ISSN applications only for publications published in Japan.

* Regarding ISSN applications for publications published/to be published in other countries than Japan, these have to be sent to the relevant foreign ISSN Centre which is responsible for ISSN assignment in the country.

* Regarding ISSN requests for publications published/to be published in several countries in rotation, these have to be submitted to the ISSN International Centre.

Publications to be registered for ISSN

The Japanese National Centre for ISSN is currently registering serial publications* which are published in Japan, in the following media:

-Printed publications

-Packaged electronic publications (CD-ROMs, DVD-ROMs, magnetic discs, etc.)

-Publications in other physical mediums (microfilms, braille materials, etc.)

-Network electronic publications (online journals, databases, etc.)

* "Serial publications" include periodicals, newspapers and monograph series, etc. In addition, ongoing integrating resources such as loose leaf materials or databases can also be assigned ISSN.

Conditions for the registration for ISSN

  • Publications in physical media (printed publications, packaged electronic publications, microfilms, etc.):
    Must meet the criteria for the legal deposit system in Japan and actually be held or will be held by the NDL.
    For details, please refer to "Request for Deposits" (in Japanese).
  • Online journals:
    Must be published in separate volumes, leave the back issues available online, and indicate their place of publication which has to be inside Japan.
  • Databases which satisfy three conditions as follows:
    (1) currently published on a continuous basis
    (2) indicate the frequency
    (3) the latest date of updating

Please note that:

-The ISSN and the key-title of a publication correspond to each other. In principle, the ISSN of a publication must be changed when the key-title of the publication is modified significantly.

-The same publications in different mediums (for example, a printed journal and an online journal) must be assigned with different ISSN.

To the head of this page

ISSN Registration Procedures

After reading the description "Outline of the Requirements for ISSN Application", fill in the ISSN application form (web) to apply for an ISSN if your publication is appropriate for an ISSN:

  • *You can also send us the ISSN application form by e-mail, by fax or by postal mail:

In Japan, ISSN are assigned and maintained free of charge.

In general, the applicants are informed of the ISSN by advance notice within about one week of receiving the application.

In the case of publications already published but not yet possessed by the NDL, please send us the past issues as far back as possible for legal deposit. ISSN will be announced within about one week of receiving both the application and the past issues.

As application procedures for registration differ from one type of serial publication to another, the NDL welcomes inquiries on application and any other matters about ISSN.

Contact Us

Japanese National Centre for ISSN
Serials and Non-book Materials Division,
Acquisitions and Bibliography Department,
National Diet Library
Fax: +81-3-3581-1330
E-mail: issnjpnat n d l dot g o dot j p

To the head of this page

Indications of ISSN(in case of "printed publications")

To maintain and further develop the ISSN Network, the assigned ISSN should be printed on each issue of the serial publication. The ISSN printing position is, in principle, at the top right-hand corner of the front cover. If this is difficult for design or other reasons, the ISSN may be printed in another prominent position, for example, in another area of the front cover, on the backcover, title page, colophon.
Note: In case of electronic serials, such as CD-ROMs, online journals, the position of indications differs from above. For details, please contact to the Japanese Centre.

To the head of this page

Construction of ISSN

The ISSN assigned to a serial publication is a simple eight-digit identification number consisting of a seven-digit number plus a check digit. The eight digits are divided into two groups of four digits each, linked with a hyphen and suffixed with the capital letters "ISSN" as the following example.

ISSN 0914-6601

Unlike the ISBN (International Standard Book Number), ISSNs are simple identification numbers without any meanings attached. The eighth (last) digit number serves to prevent typographical errors and in some cases is replaced by the capital letter "X". The ISSN was officially established in ISO 3297, and its Japanese counterpart JIS X 0306-1988 was formally established in Japan on February 1,1988.

To the head of this page

Serial Publications and ISSN

Serial publications -- for example, periodicals, newspapers, and yearbooks -- differ from books in that serials often undergo changes in their titles, publishers, frequency of publication etc. Moreover, the number of published serials amounts to hundreds of thousands in the world and is said to be increasing at a pace of tens of thousands every year.
To gain accurate information on serials in spite of their fluid nature and vast number is an important but challenging task for users, libraries, publishers, publication distributors, and vendors alike. In response, publishers and libraries draw upon computers to manage serials information and facilitate the distribution and use of serial publications.
Consequently it has become necessary to identify serials by their code numbers, while the ISSN (International Standard Serial Number) is a widely recognized numbering system for serial publications. The ISSN system is managed by an organization called the "ISSN Network."

To the head of this page

The Japanese National Centre for ISSN and the ISSN Network

Official logo of the Japanese National Centre for ISSN

The ISSN Network* is an international organization promoting the exchange of information on serial publications among ISSN National Centres with the ISSN International Centre at Paris serving as the data bank.

The ISSN Network consists of the ISSN International Centre (Paris, France) and ISSN National or Regional Centres located in various countries. The bibliographic data for publications with ISSN, which is assigned by each ISSN Centre, is finally registered to the database called the ISSN International Register. This database is maintained by the ISSN International Centre and contains all the authorized records.

For the details of the ISSN International Centre and the ISSN Network, please refer to the web page of the ISSN International Centre (in English and five other languages).

The NDL took over becoming a Japanese National Centre for ISDS ("ISDS" is the former name of the ISSN Network) in 1973, and has actively served as the Japanese National Centre for ISDS since January 1976. The name changed to Japanese National Centre for ISSN in 2002.

The Japanese Centre is in charge of the assignment and management of the ISSN for publications published in Japan. As its daily work, the Japanese Centre also corrects the data of the registered ISSN, for example, corresponding with changes to serial publications (i.e., change of publisher or editor, suspension or end of publication). In addition, when a publication with a changed key title is found, the Centre also advises the publisher to acquire an ISSN. If a publisher fails to print the ISSN already assigned, the NDL prompts the printing of the ISSN.

The Japanese National Centre for ISSN cannot achieve its full mission of promoting the ISSN Network without the cooperation of publishers. It is essential that publishers actually print the assigned ISSN on their serial publications and that, whenever planning to start a new publication or to change the title, the publishers notify the Japanese National Centre in advance. For this purpose, the NDL and publishers need to maintain close communication, and the NDL seeks all-out cooperation from government agencies, universities, academic societies, and other libraries.

* The ISSN Network was created as part of the UNISIST (World Science Information System) which was established through the resolution of the 1967 UNESCO general conference. In 1971 the ISO formulated a draft ISSN standard, followed in 1972 by the establishment of an international serials registration centre in Paris by the concerted effort of UNESCO and the French government.
UNESCO member nations were invited to create their own domestic or regional registration centres in order to expand the serials registration data to the world size.
As of January 2019, the ISSN Network embraced 90 National Centres.

Here is the link to the ISSN Manual used commonly in the ISSN Network:

Please note that:

The Japanese National Centre for ISSN deals with requests for ISSN somewhat differently from the description in the ISSN Manual.

The following are some examples:

-Regarding the applicants, the Japanese National Centre for ISSN assigns the ISSN only at the request of the publisher or the agent of the publisher who made some contribution for editing, production, printing, etc.

-Regarding publications in physical media (printed publications, packaged electronic publications, microfilms, etc.), the Japanese National Centre accepts applications only for publications which meet the criteria for the legal deposit system in Japan and are actually held or will be held by the NDL.

To the head of this page

Advantages of ISSN

The foremost advantage of ISSN is that any serial publication with an ISSN can be easily identified irrespective of its publishing country, publisher, language, and genre. The ISSN is used to increase the efficiency of receiving, photocopying, lending, indexing serials at libraries and performing the order placement, receiving and other business operations of publishers and book stores with a faster speed and greater accuracy. Further, when registered at the ISSN International Centre, Japanese serial publications will have greater opportunities for overseas circulation.

To the head of this page

ISSN and Key Titles

Under the ISSN system, a serial is defined as a publication issued in successive parts, usually having numerical or chronological designations and intended to be continued indefinitely. Serials include periodicals, newspapers, annuals (reports, yearbooks, etc.), the journals, memoirs, proceedings, transactions, etc. of societies, and monographic series. When a serial publication is registered at the ISSN International Centre, a code number (ISSN) is given and a publication name called "key title" is assigned. Each key title is required to be necessary and sufficient to identify the registered serial publication.
If the key title must be changed, the ISSN of the publication is also changed irrespective of the reasons for change such as the merger and split of serial publications. Once assigned to a publication, an ISSN will never be reused in another publication even if the first publication becomes defunct. It is the responsibility of the national centres to decide a key title, assign an ISSN, and carry out international registration for each serial publication published in their respective countries.
Where the key title is in a Western language, it is recorded in its abbreviated key title according to the "List of Serial Title Word Abbreviations" developed jointly by the ISSN International Centre and ISO.

To the head of this page

Registration and Public Relations

The ISSN International Centre puts registered serials into an online database and publishes the data in the ISSN Portal. Using it, anyone has access to ISSN information on the key titles, abbreviated key titles, place of publication, publishers, variant titles, and bibliographical notes of serials. As of the end of 2018, 2,063,390 serials were registered at the International Centre.

To the head of this page

Contact Us

Japanese National Centre for ISSN
Serials and Non-book Materials Division, Acquisitions and Bibliography
Department, National Diet Library
Fax: +81-3-3581-1330
E-mail: issnjpnat n d l dot g o dot j p

To the head of this page