The ISSN identifies serial publications. The Finnish national ISSN centre is responsible for providing the identifiers in Finland and sends the information about publications that have received an ISSN to the ISSN Portal database.
The ISSN is used for distinguishing newspapers, magazines, periodicals or other serial publications from other publications. The identifiers are used, for example, in
- publishing industry ordering and distribution systems to speed up the identification of publications
- international and national union catalogues
- library lending systems
- information searches
The ISSN is inseparable from the name of the publication; if the name of the publication changes, the identifier must also be changed. A separate ISSN is given to different formats of the same serial publication.
Information about the publications that have received ISSNs is entered in the national Fennica database as well as the ISSN Portal database.
The ISSN identifies serial publications and is not suitable, for example, as an identifier of articles. A serial publication is a text publication with no predetermined conclusion issued in parts under the same title, whether in printed or electronic format. Serial publications include
- traditional periodicals, e.g. journals and magazines published in separate consecutive issues or volumes
- continuously updated publications
Multi-volume works (e.g. encyclopaedias) and project publication series are not considered serial publications, since they are usually intended to be completed eventually.