The Luxembourg National Library (BnL) serves as the national agency for ISBN, ISSN and ISMN identifiers. It is responsible for assigning identifiers to Luxembourg publications and for monitoring them with international bodies. Publishers wishing to apply for an identifier must contact the BnL.
There are 3 types of identifiers:
- the ISBN (International Standard Book Number): a 13-digit, internationally standardised code used to identify books, brochures, educational kits, microforms, CD-ROMs and other digital publications;
- the ISSN (International Standard Serial Number): an 8-digit, internationally standardised code used to identify all serials, irrespective of their country or language of publication, alphabet, frequency and format (printed, online resources, CD-ROMs, DVD-ROMs, DVD Videos, audio CDs, etc.);
- the ISMN (International Standard Music Number): an internationally standardised code used to identify printed music publications.
Who is concerned
Any natural person residing in Luxembourg and any legal entity having its headquarters in Luxembourg may request an identifier from the BnL.
A number of different monographs require an identifier, including:
- printed books and brochures;
- braille publications;
- publications not intended to be regularly updated or that are released for an indefinite period;
- individual articles or issues of an ongoing publication (but not the publication as a whole);
- films, videotapes, educational resources;
- audio books on cassette, CD or DVD;
- electronic publications made available physically (on machine-readable tapes, disks or CD-ROMs) or online (via download or streaming);
- digital copies of printed monographs;
- works printed on microfiches;
- educational software;
- multimedia publications (primarily composed of text).
Requests for an ISBN, ISSN or ISMN identifier are free of charge.
How to proceed
Benefits of an ISBN, ISSN or ISMN identifier
The ISBN is a unique international identifier for monographic publications, replacing the handling of long bibliographic descriptive records, thereby:
- saving time;
- saving on staff costs;
- reducing copying errors.
The ISBN facilitates the compilation and updating of book-trade directories and bibliographic databases (catalogues of available books).
The ISBN is required for the running of electronic point-of-sale systems in bookshops. Many publishing and supply chain systems are based on ISBN. Correct use of the ISBN allows different product forms and editions of a book, whether printed or digital, to be clearly differentiated, ensuring that customers receive the version that they require.
Both authors and illustrators benefit from the use of ISBN. Digital rights management technology is based on this code.
Used as a standardised identification code, the ISSN is used in IT applications to:
- update files;
- establish links between files;
- exchange data.
Legible to the naked eye, it allows students, researchers and information specialists to give the precise references of a serial publication.
The ISSN plays a fundamental role in effectively managing how documents are shared. Libraries use the ISSN to:
- identify titles of periodicals;
- order periodicals;
- verify that a periodical has been delivered;
- claim missing issues for inter-library loans.
Thanks to bar codes and electronic data interchange (EDI), the ISSN makes managing and distributing periodicals easier and more efficient for publishers and promoters.
The ISMN allows for the accurate tracking of products through their lifetime, as well as better management of these products. It guarantees:
- transparency in the field of copyright;
- streamlined royalty payments;
- simplified legal deposits in libraries.
Filing an application
Publishers wishing to obtain an identifier for their publication must file an application online via MyGuichet.lu. All you need to do is fill in the corresponding form (ISBN, ISSN or ISMN) and send proof of publication by email or post to the relevant national agency:
- the national ISBN agency;
- the national ISSN agency;
- the national ISMN agency.
Response from the national ISBN, ISSN or ISMN agency
Once the application has been sent via MyGuichet.lu, an automatic email will be sent to the applicant confirming that the application has been received.
The applicant will receive their identifier by email within 5 working days.
Forms / Online services
Who to contact
Luxembourg National Library37, Boulevard F.D. Roosevelt
Phone : (+352) 22 97 55-1Fax : (+352) 47 56 72Tuesday-Friday from 10.00 to 19.00 / Saturday from 9.00 to 12.00