Obtain an ISSN

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Before you apply

Publications eligible to receive ISSNs

Your publications must be available to the public, and must show significant contributions from Canadian creators (authors or editors) or have sufficient Canadian content to receive an International Standard Serial Number (ISSN).

Publications not eligible to receive ISSNs

ISSN Canada reserves the right to refuse to assign numbers. ISSN Canada does not assign ISSNs to publications that are of temporary or local interest only, such as the following examples:

  • agendas, calendars, college and university course calendars
  • concert and music programs
  • crossword puzzles
  • forms
  • publications not intended for the public (such as those posted on an intranet)
  • multi-volume sets or multi-part works
  • blogs and websites (personal, institutional, community, commercial or promotional)
  • issues that are printed on demand
  • telephone books
  • trade catalogues and advertisements (publishers’ catalogues, shopping catalogues)

When to apply

You may apply for an ISSN before or after publishing your serial or other continuing resource. ISSN Canada usually assigns numbers to online material after publishing. A serial or other continuing resource should have at least 5 articles to make a complete issue.

Number of ISSNs

ISSN Canada assigns a number to a serial or other continuing resource based on title and medium. The ISSN does not identify individual issues. Each issue uses the same ISSN as long as the title remains the same.

Apply for multiple ISSNs when you publish the same title on different media (print or online) or in different languages. A bilingual publication needs only one ISSN for each media type.

Proof of publication or intent to publish

You must provide ISSN Canada with either a mock-up (page proofs) of a forthcoming issue or with the first published issue. A low-quality mock-up is fine as long as it accurately represents the final publication. The mock-up must display the following:

  • a page showing the title of the publication (e.g., cover, title page, title screen, main menu)
  • a page showing the publisher name and the place of publication (such as masthead, copyright statement, "About Us," or "Contact Us") in the Roman alphabet
  • contents or articles in the publication

You may submit the mock-up or the first published issue using one of the following options:

  • using the online form and providing an attachment (6 megabytes [MB] maximum)
  • using the online form and providing a URL (internet location)
  • by mail or fax (see Contact ISSN Canada)

Additional information you need to submit

You must provide this information on the form:

  • transliterated form of the title, if the title is in a non-Roman alphabet or script such as Arabic, Cyrillic, Chinese
  • beginning date of publication
  • numerical/chronological designation of the first issue
  • former title, numerical/chronological designation, former ISSN (if applicable)
  • frequency of publication
  • language of publication
  • format of publication
  • ISSN if one was assigned for the same title in another format
  • URL (internet location) of the online publication in the same series, or email address of a subscription-based publication

Apply for ISSNs

ISSN Canada reserves the right to reject any ISSN application that contains false or misleading information or documentation.

After you apply

  • Mail or fax ISSN Canada your mock-up or first published issue if you didn't provide one with the online form
  • ISSN Canada may ask for additional information or documentation
  • ISSN Canada will process your request within 10 working days
  • ISSN Canada creates a key title that uniquely identifies your publication, and includes it in the ISSN Register
  • You will receive your ISSNs by email along with instructions and guidelines

Learn about presenting ISSNs and publication information to help your users find and identify your publication.