The International Standard Serial Number is a standard no. ISO-3297 from the International Standard Organization. Because of extensive publications of journals in the world, and the creation of computerized journal-catalogues, it was decided to give each title one number which would identify it.

The allocation of ISSN-number for Icelandic journals started during the 1970s and Icelandic publishers have had ISSN-numbers printed in their journal since about 1980. In 1984 the University Library, and later the National and University Library, became the intermediary in supplying ISSN-numbers from the International ISSN Office in Paris which registered our journals on our behalf. By the end of the year 2000 a contract was signed with the International ISSN Office to establish a National Service Centre for the ISSN in the National and University Library of Iceland, which subsequently started operations in 2001. The role of the National Service Centre is to allocate ISSN-numbers for Icelandic journals, register them into the computerized catalogue of the International ISSN Office, promote and propagate the system in Iceland.

Journals are defined as works that are printed with the same title in many parts, most frequently numbered in one way or another, and with publication period not previously defined. This definition covers newspapers, journals, newsletters, annuals/yearbooks and annual reports in printed form as well as electronic.

ISSN-numbers are available for all newspapers, journals, series and yearbooks. Preferably people should apply for and ISSN-number for new journals before the first issue is published. The publisher is responsible for having the ISSN-number printed correctly into the issue, both in normal alphabet as well as in the form of a bar code.

It is possible to send email to the address hkg (hja) for further information.