By Laurie Kaplan, Content Business Analyst Lead
Librarians, publishers, content vendors, subscription agents and others need to exchange data on a daily basis. And anything that can make this process more successful by improving the ability to match updates to existing records is of great interest to these parties. So it is not surprising that at the Charleston Conference in early November 2015 a session advertised as “Improving the Availability of ISSN – A Joint Project” had good attendance. The session led by Gaëlle Béquet of the International ISSN Centre/CIEPS and Laurie Kaplan of ProQuest, discussed a joint project between the two organizations.
The project has just moved out of the pilot phase, and will look for active titles without ISSN in order to have those ISSN assigned by the appropriate ISSN Center. Under the supervision of the International Centre, national ISSN Centers will determine whether the ISSN is simply missing, or has never been assigned.
The starting point is the data behind Ulrich’s Periodicals Directory™, an international resource that has been published by ProQuest and its predecessors since 1932. The ISSN Centre and ProQuest have had a good working relationship for many years. The U.S. ISSN Center, in fact, has had a ProQuest employee working at the Library of Congress since 2000, improving the ISSN coverage and cataloging of ProQuest resources and contributing to the ISSN assignments for the U.S. Center.
This particular project arose out of research that Gaëlle was conducting using Ulrichsweb™. She noticed several active titles that did not have ISSN, and contacted Laurie to discuss the possible reasons. Out of that discussion grew a pilot project, started in February 2015.
The outcome of the project will be a benefit to librarians, publishers, and vendors as more titles will have ISSN registered with the national and International ISSN Centres and in Ulrich’s Periodical Database and Ulrichsweb™. This will improve the electronic loading and matching of titles for any product or system. The pilot project focused on active print and online titles without ISSN from the Netherlands, initially with academic/scholarly titles, then extended to trade publications and other content types. This facilitated working with one local ISSN Center to have a consistent team from which to receive feedback.
Impact of the project:
- It has added over 100 ISSN to date, just from the pilot project
- Raised good conversations about monographic series
- Started the conversation regarding how to get publishers to use these new ISSN, and their ISSN in general when posting titles online and when transferring titles among various parties
The value of the project will extend beyond the ISSN Centers and ProQuest since publishers, libraries, catalog databases, documentation centers, subscription agencies, academic institutions, retailers and wholesalers all rely on ISSN as an identification point for serial publications. Libraries and others worldwide will benefit from this cooperation as it will result in more complete data being available for active periodicals published around the world.
Both parties acknowledge that assigning ISSN is only the first step in furthering the value of ISSN in the publishing world. Newly assigned ISSN must be incorporated into publisher files and included on publisher websites for the ISSN to become part of the process of transferring and updating titles for librarians. ProQuest and ISSN IC will work together to encourage the use of the newly assigned ISSN by the appropriate publishers and providers of serials content.
Ensuring that more periodicals include ISSN, and that those ISSN are registered with the local center and the International ISSN Centre, can only improve the exchange of data and the citation of data for all parties.
See the slides from the presentation.
UPDATE 2/11/2016: News release now available.