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Service description

ISBN – International Standard Book Number

The ISBN and related metadata (information about the book) identifies books intended for public use. The Finnish ISBN Agency is responsible for handing out ISBNs in Finland. The agency maintains a national publisher register and provides information about Finnish publishers for national and international use.

The ISBN is an unambiguous identifier of a book. The identifier is used, for example, in

  • acquiring publications
  • inventory lists of publishers
  • invoicing
  • bookshop ordering systems 
  • international and national union catalogues
  • bibliographies
  • library lending systems
  • information searches

Separate ISBNs are granted to every book intended for public use in every publication format and each edition containing changes. The physical format of the book may be printed, audiovisual or electronic.

The ISBN is not required by law, but the majority of publishers use it, because the ISBN identifies the book and its publishers.
The ISBN is free to use.

ISMN – International Standard Music Number

The ISMN is an identifier for sheet music publications. It is meant as a tool for publishing and selling sheet music as well as music library operations. The ISMN makes finding and handling publications easier. The ISMN for sheet music publications corresponds to the ISBN for books. The Finnish ISBN Agency is responsible for both ISBN and ISMN activities.

An ISMN is given to all sheet music publications intended for public use and each part belonging to a sheet music publication available separately.

The ISMN is not statutory, but the majority of publishers use it, because the ISMN identifies the sheet music publication and its publishers. The ISMN is free to use.

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