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Order an ISSN

What is ISSN?

An ISSN – International Standard Serial Number – is used for identifying a serial publication. It is a unique 8-digit identifier consisting of two 4-digit elements separated by a hyphen and preceded by the abbreviation ISSN (e.g., ISSN 1406-6149). ISSNs do not have any meaningful elements for identifying the language, country, or publisher.

What makes ISSNs useful and necessary?

  • The ISSN allows for the quick and accurate identification of the publication;
  • it facilitates worldwide ordering and sales of the publication;
  • the ISSN can be used to generate an EAN barcode;
  • it enhances the visibility of the publication, as all publications that have received an ISSN are registered in the international database of serials in Paris.

The ISSN is tied to the title of the serial – if the title changes, it must be assigned a new ISSN.

ISSNs are issued for:

magazines, newspapers, annual publications (reports, yearbooks, handbooks, etc.), and serial publications (proceedings, collections, etc.) irrespective of the medium (print, CD-ROM, DVD, online).

ISSNs are not issued for:

publications of transitory value: promotional printed matter, catalogues, calendars, crossword publications, short-term plans and reports of organisations, etc.

What is the difference between ISSNs and ISBNs?

ISBNs are used for identifying books, while ISSNs are assigned to serial publications. Book series, proceedings, and other continuing publications can be given both identifiers: an ISSN applies to the entire series and remains valid as long as the title of the series remains unchanged. Meanwhile, each differently titled part of a series receives a separate ISBN.

ISSN for online publications

The ISSN National Centre for Estonia recommends ISSNs to be obtained for online publications that are published as a parallel version of a printed serial publication – both versions are assigned their own ISSN –, only online, with their own specific title and statement of responsibility, either:

  •  in the form of a traditional magazine or serial publication (in multiple issues or parts); or
  •  in a constantly updated (dated) form.

Please note that an ISSN cannot be assigned to an online publication before it is published, and the publication must have a valid URL. If access to the online publication is restricted, please send us the first published issue in PDF format.

For additional information, visit the website of the ISSN International Centre.

ISSN-L (linking ISSN)

  • A linking ISSN is used to group and link different media versions (print version, online publication, CD-ROM, etc.) of a serial publication;
  • facilitates searching across all media versions in information systems, databases, and library directories;
  • can be connected to other identification and linking systems (e.g., OpenURL);
  • does not affect the use of the regular ISSN, as it is used in addition to it.

ISSN-Ls are assigned by the ISSN International Centre.

Location of ISSN in publications

The ISSN is printed on each issue of the serial publication in the following order of preference: front cover, title page, back cover. On magazines, the ISSN should be printed in the upper-right corner of the front cover. On CD-ROMs and DVDs, the ISSN is placed on the front page, the storage medium, and its cover. The ISSN of an online publication is positioned in a visible location on the home or front page of the publication, preferably near the title.

In the case of publications with multiple media versions, it is recommended to indicate all ISSNs. ISSN-Ls should be printed above the ISSN of each publication.

ISSN-L 2228-0065
ISSN 2228-0065 (print version)
ISSN 2228-0073 (online publication)
ISSN 2228-0081 (CD-ROM) 

ISBN and EAN code

In 1980, an agreement was concluded between GS1 and the ISBN International Agency and ISSN International Centre with the aim of facilitating the obtaining of product barcodes by publishers who have joined the standard numbering system. In Estonia, this register is maintained by the non-profit organisation GS1 Estonia, which is a GS1 member organisation. Publications which have been assigned an ISSN registered with the ISSN National Centre for Estonia are also assigned EAN-13 barcodes. To receive one, the publisher must become a member of GS1 Estonia.

GS1 Estonia can be contacted at:
Roosikrantsi 2, Tallinn 10119
Phone: 660 5535
Fax: 660 5536

Applying for an ISSN in Estonia

The ISSN National Centre for Estonia has been operating at the National Library of Estonia since 1995 and is the only issuer of ISSNs for serial publications in Estonia. The service is provided free of charge.