International ISMN Agency

The International Standard Music Number for Notated Music.
A System for Publishing, Distribution and Library Practices

Czech Republic

Music Publishers in the Czech Republic and the ISMN

Participation in the ISMN system is still voluntary in the Czech Republic. But there is a precondition of having the valid licence for publishing activity in case of physical subjects and in case of legal subjects goverened by statutes, a mention of this activity worded in these statutes. Each publisher is obliged to be acquainted with the working of the system and its aim as described in the ISMN Users' Manual and the standard CSN ISO 10957. A publisher interested in ISMN gets these publications from the NA ISMN beforehand. The new publisher must also fill in the registration form making a basis for building the database of music publishers.

We constantly try to attract new music publishers but the scene of music is small in our republic and should not be compared with the scene of book publishers (in the last year 168 new book publishers entered the ISBN system!). New publishers get the block of ISMNs with a perspective of 30 years in accordance with their present annual publishing activity. The block of ISMNs also contains a calculation of the number into the bar code. But our Agency does not provide filmmasters for the publishers; these they must obtain from a printer by themselves.

Although music publishers and music publications form a relatively small part of the cultural activities of the Czech Republic, they are a traditional and integral part of those activities, and ISMN is now already its unseparable feature.

Collecting and Organizing the ISMN Data

Every new publisher must fill out a registration form making a basis for building the database of Czech music publishers. Until Autumn 2001 this database was maintained in the CDS/ISIS as an autonomous database. In October it was converted into the ALEPH system making a unified database of both book and music publishers participating in ISBN and/or in the ISMN system, and also other publishers which are still not participating in these systems. The updates from the database are sent to the International ISMN Agency in due terms. The database is available on the web site of the National Library ( A printed version of this database is presented as a supplement to the annual directory of Czech book publishers. The annual directory 2001 should be published in the Spring 2002.

In 2001, we checked ISMNs in 240 titles of music which came to the National Library of the Czech Republic under the Legal Deposit Law. The copies were presented to us by our colleagues from the Domestic Acquisition Department. If we come across any mistake, we contact the publisher and inform him/her about it. If one number was assigned to two items, then the publisher had to assign a new ISMN to the other title. If a publisher is still not participating in the ISMN system, we assign to its music an ISMN from block of the identifier M-66051 instead of him/her (in 2001 it applied to 22 titles). It means that all entries of music presented in the Czech National Bibliography have their ISMN which then becomes the unique access point.

As up-to-date information about the titles of music to be published we issue the bi-monthly "O.K. - Ohlasene knihy." We collect the data for it from so-called announcing cards which the publisher is obliged to send us the moment the manuscript comes to a printing office. We can also detect any mistakes or misprints on the cards and manage to correct them in the publication by informing the publishers.