Answered By: MCC Librarian
Last Updated: Sep 05, 2020     Views: 1634

ISBN is an acronym for International Standard Book Number. It's a number which is unique to each book title.

ISSN is International Standard Serial Number, and in the same way as the ISBN, is unique for each serial title. Serials, or periodicals, include scholarly journals, magazines and newspapers.

According to the American Library Association (ALA) the ISBN and ISSN standardized numerical systems for books and serials may seem similar but have very different uses: 

Click on the ALA Library Fact Sheet 28 (ISBN and ISSN) for further explanation of their purposes and their differences.


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