New Edition of the ISBN Standard is Published

The fifth and latest edition of the ISBN Standard has now been published by ISO (International Organization for Standardization).

The new Standard has been developed by an international working group of 41 experts from 14 countries who were involved with the project for three years, providing advice, feedback and discussion points as the work progressed. The International ISBN Agency was also represented on the working group.

While ISBN remains the key identifier for books in the supply chain and will retain its current 13-digit structure, there are significant changes in the Standard.

The new Standard contains:

  • expanded guidance on assignment to digital publications
  • revised metadata specifications which now bring these in line with ONIX 3.0
  • expanded terms and definitions sections
  • further clarity on the scope of eligible products
  • detailed guidance on the granularity of individual products and the impact on ISBN assignment, such as changes in usage constraints (allowing printing of some pages of a digital publication or lending to a friend), or different product form details (jacketed versus unjacketed hardback)
  • an informative annex about how to make ISBN resolvable on digital networks using persistent identifiers, such as expressing an ISBN in DOI or URN
  • explanation about the conditions of compliance when implementing ISBN

The new ISBN standard is available from ISO.

The International ISBN Agency and a group of experts from national ISBN agencies have now prepared a new Users’ Manual and series of FAQs based on the latest edition of the Standard. The Users’ Manual is the definitive guide to the ISBN Standard and system. The FAQs provide quick advice on some of the key aspects of ISBN and, in some cases, there are links directly back to the Users’ Manual for further information. The new Users’ Manual and FAQs are available in English only at present from this webpage. Translations will be made available as and when they are ready.