The ISBN is a unique identifier for monographic publications. ISBN stands for International Standard Book Number which is a standard no. 2108 from the International Organization for Standardization, ISO. Each number is unique, and the main purpose of the international book number system, is to distinguish each individual item as well as possible from all others. Through this standardized numbering system for books, there is an increased possibility to use computers, both for publishing companies, book-sellers and libraries.

The National and University Library of Iceland is a National Agency for the ISBN-system. Allocation and information service is provided to publishers for free. In return they need to deposit copies of their publications to the library according to legal deposit law. Each publisher is allocated a sequence of numbers which includes the publisher’s identification number or individual book numbers for small publishers, who publish a few books or perhaps one book only. The Library also supervises that the use of these numbers is correct. A registry of Icelandic publishers is created, which forms a part of an international register, Global Register of Publishers.

The ISBN should not be used for newspapers, journals and musical scores, but rather an International Standard Serial Number - ISSN and an International Standard Music Number - ISMN. The National and University Library is also the service agent for the international numbering systems ISSN and ISMN.

Application form for ISBN number

For further information please send an email to isbn (hjá)


Please introduce yourself by adding name and email.

The chat is open 9:00 - 16:00 on weekdays.

chat loading...