Friday, September 11, 2009

ISSN Barcodes for Serial Publications

by Nate Schubert


Little noticed but extremely important in terms of organization of incremented publications around the world is the ISSN, or International Standard Serial Number. You know, that barcode usually on the upper right corner of serial publications such as magazines or newspapers. But what do you really know about the ISSN?

Does My Publication Need an ISSN?

ISSN numbers are specifically for serial publications like magazines, newspapers, newsletters, yearbooks, online journals and anything else that is published incrementally with a specific number of parts. Websites and blogs generally do not qualify for an ISSN.

How Much Does an ISSN Cost?

Unlike ISBN numbers which have a fee associated with them, ISSN numbers are completely free. Simply apply for an ISSN from your national center or the international location if your country does not have a national office.

How Do I Create an ISSN Barcode?

ISSN number data should be encoded in an EAN13 barcode. It's important to note that when encoding ISSN into EAN13, the final digit of the ISSN is discarded and should be replaced by the EAN13 mod10 check digit which can be calculated manually, via the online barcode font encoder, or by using a stand-alone application such as the IDAutomation Barcode Image Generator.

It's not very tricky to create an ISSN barcode and can provide a great means of keeping track of your serial publications. If you're not using the ISSN to keep track of your serial publications, don't waste another minute. It's free, it's easy and it's important.

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