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  International ISMN Agency 




For electronic versions of the ISMN Newsletter click here.

All news 2015 up to now

News archive 2001 - 2014



News from the International ISMN Agency 2015 up to now








All news 2015 up to now




New member country: Botswana

And there is yet a new ISMN agency on the African continent: The Botswana National Library Service will be the 60th member. We hope that they will also become operational, soon.


New member country: Morocco

We have a new member country: The National Library of Morocco will establish the fourth agency on the African continent. The International ISMN Agency now has 59 member agencies. We hope that the Bibliothèque Nationale du Royaume du Maroc will become operational, soon.


Important dates:

The Frankfurt Music Fair will take place 11 - 14 April 2018. Find all information here.

ISO TC 46, the standards body to which the International ISMN Agency with its standard ISO 10957 belongs, will have its next meeting in Lisbon, Portugal, 14 - 18 May 2018.

IAML, the International Association of Music Libraries, Archives and documentation Centres, will have its 2018 congress in Leipzig, Germany, 22 - 27 July. Please view the congress website here.






Musical works database in the United States

The US performing rights societies ASCAP and BMI start cooperation to create a new comprehensive musical works database. It will deliver an authoritative view of ownership shares in the vast majority of music licensed in the United States. It will offer industry-wide data transparency and include song and composition titles, performing artist information, aggregated shares by society for ASCAP and BMI, International Standard Work Codes and other unique identifiers as well as IPI names and numbers. View more information on the ASCAP website or on the BMI website

Frankfurt Book Fair

The Frankfurt Book Fair, one of the most important book fairs in the world, will welcome the international publishing world from 11 October till 15 October 2017. This year's Guest of honor will be France. View more information here


Europeana Music

The virtual library Europeana Music, supported by Europeana sounds, now brings together more than 371,000 music recordings, pieces of sheet music and other music items from across Europe. Access to these items can be found at


Reports on the IAML Congress

IAML, the International Association of Music Libraries, Archives and Documentation Centres, held its annual congress in Riga, Latvia, from 18 - 22 June. Reports and papers presented there - including an ISMN update - are continuously put on their website and can be viewed at


SESAC and SUISA started joint venture

The U.S. music rights organization SESAC and the Swiss collective management organization SUISA allied in Mint Digital Services to administer licenses to use musical compositions in multi-territorial online music services on behalf of publshers. The company will be responsible for invoicing and administration of these licence agreements with online service providers.
View the press release at


Europana Music website launched

"Imagine looking at original handwritten manuscripts of a piece of music while listening to different interpretations of it, and reading a biography of the composer."
Europeana Music is a new websource bringing together music recordings, sheet music and other music related collections of libraries, archives and museums across Europe. So far, more than 320,000 items are to view at





Advantages of the ISMN in small countries

There is sometimes the question whether the ISMN is really useful to countries with a small music production.
There are indeed advantages:

  • Complete bibliographical control over published material
    It is necessary to list and preserve the national production of publications - usually the responsibility of national libraries which issue national bibliographies. If notated music is left out a possibly significant part of the publications would be neglected and would not be preserved. Bibliographic resolution is usually managed by international standard numbers, in the case of music by ISMN.
  • Making music publications internationally more visible
    While music publications of large publishers and organisations are easy to find those from small music countries would not be included in databases and bibliographic catalogues without ISMN to allow easy record management. If not to be found in such catalogues the publications are considered non-existent or not available.
  • Facilitating identification, especially also those in less common languages
    ISMN allows easy identification and overcomes the obstacles of foreign languages and scripts and can be read and used by anybody.
  • Allowing including of titles in music catalogues and music in print publications
    As the ISMN is designed for notated music it filters out music items from the big amount of other publications and makes searches fast and manageable.
  • Facilitating ordering and distribution, especially internationally
    International standard numbers are the identifiers used by the trade for ordering and distribution. items without these numbers cannot be processed automatically and are neglected.


New member country: Montenegro

One of the few European countries that so far had not been members of the International ISMN Agency just signed the contract. The agency is run by the National Library of Montenegro and will be operational soon.


New member country: Myanmar

Myanmar is the fourth country in South East Asia that hosts an ISMN agency. The agency is run by the same institution, PYI Zone, that runs the ISBN agency and will be operational soon.





Do we need a separate ISMN standard?

Music publishers often use an ISBN for their publications which is not according to either the ISBN or the ISMN standard. Hartmut Walravens, Chairman of the International ISMN Agency, listed the reasons for having a separate ISMN standard. Please view the paper here.


Paper on 'History and success of the ISMN' published in Fontes Artis Musicae

At the IAML congress in Antwerp 2014 Hartmut Walravens and Carolin Unger from the International ISMN Agency gave a presentation on the history and success of the ISMN. The text gives a good overview of the benefits of the ISMN and how the number is being used. It was first published in Fontes Artis Musicae, Volume 62, Issue 1, page 26-36. You can see the English version here and the Spanish version here.

ISMN Newsletter only on our website

As of number 25 the ISMN Newsletter will no longer be printed but published as PDF on our website only. It can be viewed here.

Translations of the ISMN Users'Manual

Thanks to the commitment and kind cooperation of several national ISMN agencies, the International ISMN Agency can now provide translations of the ISMN Users' Manual on its website.
Besides the English original the manual can so far be viewed in Albanian, Armenian, Czech, Estonian, Hungarian, Latvian and Spanish. More languages will follow.

View the translations here.


Visitor at the International ISMN Agency: Pia Shekhter

Pia Shekter, Secretary General of IAML, the International Association of Music Libraries, visited the office of the International ISMN Agency on 17 April 2015. ISMN and IAML are closely connected since the impulse to have a separate numbering system for printed music was made possible and promoted thanks to IAML colleagues.
The International ISMN Agency was very glad to welcome Pia. We enjoyed a very vivid meeting and intend to intensify our cooperation.


New member country: Malta

The 57th country to join the ISMN system is Malta. The ISMN agency is hosted by the National Book Council in the Central Public Library. The agency will be operational soon.


International ISMN Agency joins Linked Content Coalition

The International ISMN Agency is glad to announce that it has joined the Linked Content Coalition (LCC). LCC is a not-for profit global consortium of TC 46 standards bodies and other stake-holders. The group aims to improve legal access to online content. In its Ten Targets for a Digital Future it describes the way to ensure the identification of creators and creations on the Internet, the possibility of having machine-readable rights information linked to the creations and to make the existing media standards more interoperable.




News Archive 2001 - 2014























SUISA joined Armonia

Armonia, the world's largest network for international music licences, got a new member: SUISA, the Cooperative Society of Music Authors and Publishers in Switzerland. The membership will strengthen SUISA's position in the online music bisiness. View the complete press release here.

Linked Content Coalition

The Linked Content Coalition (LCC), the unique media project that recently published its innovative technical framework to improve the management and communication of and access to online rights information, has been re-constituted as a permanent organization. The new LCC is a not-for-profit global consortium of standards bodies and registries with a remit to facilitate and expand the legitimate use of content in the digital network. Its Ten Targets for a Digital Future aim to ensure that every creator and every creation can be automatically identified on the net if they wish to be; that every creation can have machine-readable rights information linked to it (whether for commercial or free use); and that existing standards of different media types can be interoperable. View the complete press release here.

Amazon and ISMN

Amazon, perhaps the topmost global player in the book-trade, fell victim to a deplorable misunderstanding. They did not know the ISMN despite the fact that they are now dealing with notated music on a small but considerable scale. For this reason they put pressure on music publishers in a number of countries, e.g. Scandinavia and Hungary, to drop the ISMN and adopt the  ISBN - a clear breach of international standards. ISO 2108 (ISBN) clearly states that music is excluded ...
It does happen all the time that staff make mistakes, and we could just quote: O Lord, forgive them as they do not know what they are doing! and continue our work. But in the case of Amazon the situation is more serious - because of its strong position on the market the company cannot be easily reached - there are no email addresses that can be found easily, and using them would not lead to a reply; the same holds good with regular mail, not only with Seattle but also with national branches.
So does that mean that big companies can cancel international standards?
Fortunately, GS 1 the worldwide barcoding company rescued ISMN - in their update of the authoritative GTIN Validation Guide they included a clear statement that ISMN is - technically – on the same level as ISBN and is a valid identifier and transaction number. Thank you, GS 1 colleagues!
No comments from Amazon so far ...
If there are any further difficulties please report to the International Agency.
The GTIN Validation Guide can be downloaded here.


ISMN Standard is up for revision

As every five years, the ISMN Standard will be up for systematic review now. If a ballot proves that the ISO member countries are in favour of a revision a working group will be formed towards this end. This would give the possibility to update the standard a bit where necessary.


Agreement for easier identification of digital music

CISAC and BMAT, a technology company specialized in music identification technologies, signed an agreement to integrate the ISWC into Vericast, a global music identification service that monitors millions of songs over radios and televisions across more than 50 countries worldwide. this will improve transparent and efficient royalty distribution. View the complete press release here.


Benefits of standard numbers: ISANs streamline workflow processes

As CISAC reports ITV, PRS for Music and Soundmouse announced a significant advancement in the automation and streamlining of the music reporting workflow process for broadcasters, using ISAN (International Standard Audiovisual Number) to identify productions and music cue sheets. View the complete press release here.


Three Scandinavian collective rights management organisations cooperate

As CISAC (the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers) reports Koda, Kono and Teosta, three Scandinavian collective rights management societies, formed a cross-border alliance called Polaris Nordic. It "aims to create higher value for music creators, and lead the way for the future of music rights management". They have agreed to develop, and run, joint back-end systems for music reporting and distribution of the revenues collected by the organisations. View the complete press release here.




The British Copyright Hub

The Copyright Hub has launched its pilot website. It is a gateway to information about copyright in the UK and gives users the possibility to learn about copyright in general, to get permission to use s.b. else's work or to find out about protection of their own works. View the website here.


International Music Council: List of national music councils

The International Music Council accepted two new member countries and now has 45 national music councils. A list of these can be found here.


Regional meeting for Balkan agencies

On 20/21 May 2013 the International ISMN Agency attended a regional meeting of ISBN and ISMN agencies from the Balkan region and around. The event was excellently organized by Emilija Brasic from the Serbian ISBN agency and her colleagues from the National Library of Serbia in Belgrade. Participants came from Bulgaria, Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia, Slovenia and Srpska.
In a special workshop lively discussions brought an overview of music publishing in these countries. The situation differs a lot, e.g. in some countries there are only about 10 music publishers, in others 100. Also, there is no more than one music store in Serbia anymore whereas there are several special music shops in Slovenia.
ISMN is used by nearly all publishers in the Balkan region, due to a good information policy of the agencies who offered seminars to music publishers and explain the ISMN system on their libraries' websites.
It was evident that under the prevalent circumstances of economic decline music departments in libraries become the more important to give users access to sheet music.
For their daily ISMN administration the agencies use special software (Cobiss or Aleph) which also produces barcodes for the publications.

New member country: Iceland

The 57th country to join the ISMN system is Iceland. The ISMN agency is situated at the National Library in Reykjavík.

Annual General Meeting in Washington D.C.

The ISMN Annual General Meeting 2013 will take place on 13 September 2013 in Washington D.C.. The Library of Congress will kindly host this 21st Panel meeting and 7th AGM of the International ISMN Agency.




New member country: Argentina

Argentina is now a new member of the ISMN system. The ISMN agency is hosted by the Biblioteca Nacional in Buenos Aires.

New member country: USA

The United States of America have joined the ISMN system. The U.S. ISMN agency is hosted by the Library of Congress. The online publisher registration and music number generation systems are currently being tested by music publishers new to ISMN and those who used ISMN in the past.


BISG report on metadata

Source: Book Industry Study Group (BISG)
A new report from BISG again stresses the importance of metadata. Survey results show that more metadata fields are needed by publishers and the supply chain to improve the presentation of published items. The article posted on 11 June 2012 may be viewed here.


New member country: Kenya

As third African country, after Ghana and South Africa, Kenya joined the ISMN system. The agency is run by the Kenya National Library Services.


ISO published standard name identifier

Source: ISNI International Agency
ISO has officially published the International Standard Name Identifier (ISNI), a 16-digit code for the identification of public identities across multiple fields of activities. ISNIs are assigned to the public identities of parties that participate in the creation, production, management or distribution of cultural goods in the digital environment. It streamlines distribution chains, disambiguating natural, legal and even fictional parties that might otherwise be confused. ISNI's founding members are the Bibliothèque nationale de France, the British Library, the conference of European National Librarians, the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC), the International Federation of Reproduction Rights Organisations (IFRRO), the International Performers Database Association, OCLC and ProQuest. More information may be viewed here.


The 20th Panel Meeting and 6th Annual General Meeting of the International ISMN Agency will take place on Wednesday, 12 September 2012, in Chisinau, Moldova, by kind invitation of the National Book Chamber of Moldova.

A brochure on ISMN benefits

The International ISMN Agency just published a brochure explaining the benefits and options of applications the International Standard Music number offers music publishers, music trade, rights organizations and libraries:

ISMN. International Standard Music Number.

Berlin 2012, 48 pages. ISBN 978-92-990051-4-9.


- ISMN: ismn story, ismn benefits, ismn applications, ismn beneficiaries
- Music publisher: tracking, communication, interoperability, automation
- Music trade: tracking, data management, ordering and sales, information exchange
- Rights organization:
metadata, tracking, copyright, royalty payments
- Library: legal deposits, acquisition, library catalogues
- Standards: understanding, administration, ismn and isbn

A copy can be downloaded here




UK government publishes consultation on copyright

Source: Music Publishers Association (MPA)
The British government plans to improve UK's copyright laws. For this purpose Professor Ian Hargreaves earlier this year had given recommendations which also covered topics important to music publishers. Following his report, the government now launched its 'consultation on copyright' which will run until 21 March 2012. The article posted on 14 December 2011 and more information may be viewed here.

BISG Policy Statement on assigning ISBNs to digital products

Source: Book Industry Study Group (BISG)
BISG has published a policy statement that details best practices for assigning ISBNs to digital products. It aims to prevent product identification confusion. The article posted on 7 December 2011 may be viewed here.

Global Repertoire Database Working Group launches scoping study

Source: International Conferderation of Music Publishers (ICMP)
The Global Repertoire Database Working Group, has now launched its Stakeholder Engagement and Scoping Study. The Study will involve a 20-week industry-wide consultation to determine the technical, data, business process and organisational design aspects of the Global Repertoire Database, as well as the approach to governance and funding. The article posted on 27 September 2011 may be viewed here.

WIPO outlines future challenges

Source: World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)
As WIPO Director General Francis Gurry resumed the international intellectual property (IP) community faces three major challenges in the coming years – management of demand of IP applications, the migration of all cultural content to the Internet, and enhancing the capacity of least developed and developing countries to use the IP system for encouraging innovation and creativity. The article posted on 26 September 2011 may be viewed here.

Presentation of the ISMN system

ISMN took part in a Regional Seminar for African ISBN agencies on 14 September 2011 in Pretoria with a presentation of the International Standard Music Number.

New member country: South Africa

On the occasion of the ISMN Annual General Meeting on 13 September 2011 in Pretoria South Africa became new member of the ISMN community. The ISMN agency will be oprated by the National Library in Pretoria. The photo shows John Tsebe, National Librarian of South Africa, and Hartmut Walravens signing the contract.

Use of RFID in the supply chain

Source: Supply Chain Digest
During the last months the Supply Chain Digest published several articles on the pros and cons and the future of RFID technology. Some of them may be viewed here: 6July2011, 27July2011, 10August 2011, 8September2011.

CISAC's World Copyright Summit

Source: International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC)
At the third World Copyright Summit, organised by CISAC (the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers) on June 7 and 8 in Brussels, over 730 participants brought representatives from all creative repertoires together to discuss the future of the creative industry. They found to "share a common goal in supporting the rights of creators. Participants also agreed on the necessity to jointly find workable solutions for the challenges of the current digital marketplace. These include: initiatives for a Global Repertoire Database (GRD) and cross-border licensing for musical works; proposals to uphold the value of book content through a specific pricing model of eBooks, or the use of DRMs and the launch of legal platforms by book publishers; the harmonisation of the resale right for visual artists in Europe and hopefully worldwide; the need to harmonise audiovisual copyright laws across Europe to support digital distribution of films and ensure that authors get remunerated every time their works get used." The article posted on 11 August 2011 may be viewed here.

Featured Artists Coation (FAC) and Younison on collective rights management

Source: Featured Artists Coalition (FAC)
Younison as a pan-European pressure group that strives to get the voice of music artists heard by politicians at the European Union (EU) level teamend up with the Features Artits Coalition to make sure the European Commission (EC), the executive body of the EU, takes into consideration artists’ needs whilst drafting a new directive on collective rights management. They also proclaimed a growing need for a pan-EU licensing system. The article posted on 25 June 2011 may be viewed here.

ICMP comments on Common Framework for "Copyright Alerts"

Source: International Conferderation of Music Publishers (ICMP)
"This significant agreement which aims to educate and direct people towards legal content online reflects the increasing awareness of the importance of copyright protection and enforcement throughout the world and optimises the relationship between creators, service and content providers and consumers." "Online theft not only jeopardises jobs and the creative economy but threatens the very creativity that provides us with such a rich cultural environment. This "Copyright Alert" system will help people become more aware of the wide variety of legal offers that exist." Ger Hatton, Secretary General, ICMP, the global voice of music publishing. The article may be viewed here.

WIPO announces Rights Registry Project for West African states

Source: World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)
WIPO announced a project to build a common digital platform which will help streamline the identification of protected musical works across 11 West African countries, helping creators from these countries get paid for their work through a simplified and standardized rights registration system. The article posted on 8 June 2011 may be viewed here.

Creative sector worldwide welcomes G8 leaders' commitments on Intellectual Property

Source: International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC)
Representatives of the creative sector worldwide have welcomed commitments on intellectual property protection made by the G8 Summit today in Deauville, France.The Netherlands have joined the ISMN system. The joint statement of 16 organisations may be viewed here.

New member country: The Netherlands

As a new member, The Netherlands have joined the ISMN system. The agency, run by the Muziek Centrum Nederland, will become operational, soon.

ICMP Panel at Frankfurt Music Fair 2011

Source: International Conferderation of Music Publishers (ICMP)
The ICMP Newsletter of 26 April 2011 reports - amongst other topics - on a Panel they had organised at the Frankfurt Music Fair: "New models for selling printed music online". It showed that many models for selling online already existed but that a big challenge for the industry was competing with the ‘Freemium’ model. Now, paid-for services had to be created. The participants saw that PDF should remain the format for digital sheet music files and that new software would adapt around it. The newsletter may be viewed here.

ISMN Panel and Annual General Meeting 2011

This year's Panel and AGM will take place on 13 September 2011 in Pretoria, South Africa, by kind invitation of the National Library of South Africa.

IAML Conference Program 2011

Source: International Association of Music Libraries, Archives and Documentation Centres (IAML)
The preliminary program for the IAML conference in Dublin on 24th-29th July 2011 may be viewed here.

Pass It On: Preservation Week April 24-30, 2011

Source: Association for Library Collections and Technical Services (ALCTS)
ALA encourages libraries and other institutions to use Preservation Week to connect communities through events, activities, and resources that highlight what can be done, individually and together, to preserve personal and shared collections. More about the event may be found here.

FAC Submission to Hargreaves Review of Intellectual Property and Growth

Source: Featured Artists Coalition
In the UK, Professor Ian Hargreaves is currently leading an independent review for the government into how the intellectual property system can better drive growth and innovation. The article posted on March 8th 2011 may be viewed here.

Digital Data Exchange: Taking a Byte Out of Information Miscommunication

Source: Music Industry Newswire
"If there could be agreed-upon standardized methods of communicating data …, the metadata that describes them (and the identifiers themselves that uniquely identify them), it would be a big step towards more accurate accounting of use." The article posted on March 4th 2011 may be viewed here.

Younison Joined by Featured Artists Coalition, Technopol and DJ Monitor in Creation of Pan-European Platform in Support of Artists' Rights

Source: Younison (Younison is an advocacy platform for music professionals dedicated to ensuring that they are fairly, accurately and directly compensated for the use of their works in the new digital environment.)
Featured Artists Coalition (UK), Technopol (FRA) and DJ Monitor (the Netherlands) have joined forces with Younison to advocate for changes to the collective rights management framework in the European Union (EU), in order to ensure that artists are accurately and efficiently rewarded for the commercialization and use of their creative works across the EU. The article from Younison posted on March 4th 2011 can be found here.

International ISTC Agency Announces New Registration Agency Appointments in Australasia and in Europe

Source: International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC)
The International ISTC Agency, the official Registration Authority for the International Standard Text Code (ISTC), recently announced the appointment of four new official registration agencies (ISTC-RAs). All will start operating in early 2011. The text posted on March 2nd 2011 may be viewed here.

WIPO Director General Addresses the Future of Copyright

Source: World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)
"…In this respect, Mr. Gurry said "an international music registry -- a global repertoire database -- would be a very valuable and needed step in the direction of establishing the infrastructure for global licensing."The text dated 24th February 2011 may be viewed here.

How to Create Value in the Digital Economy? World-Renowned Creators, Political Leaders and Key Industry Players to Convene at World Copyright Summit in Brussels, June 7-8, 2011

Source: International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC)
CISAC announced the main program topics and speakers for the third World Copyright Summit - 7 & 8 June 2011: The release published on February 23rd 2011 may be viewed here.

Free Trove of Music Scores on Web Hits Sensitive Copyright Note

Source: New York Times
The International Music Score Library Project has grown to be one of the largest sources of scores anywhere. The article posted on February 22nd 2011 may be viewed here.

Registration Open for IFLA Presidential Meeting 2011

Source: The European Library
Registration is now open for The IFLA Presidential Meeting 2011. The theme is Libraries Driving Access to Knowledge: Action for Europe and the two-day conference will be held on April 14-15 in The Hague at the National Library of the Netherlands. The announcement may be viewed here.

ICMP response to European Voice article 'A lack of digital harmony'

Source: International Conferderation of Music Publishers (ICMP)
ICMP Secretary General Ger Hatton comments on European Voice article 'A lack of digital harmony' by Ian Wishart. The response from the ICMP can be found here.

ZMX Music Launches; Reinvents Sheet Music Industry

ZMX Music today launched its new direct-to-fan sheet music delivery system. The article posted on February 16th 2011 may be viewed here.

Reduce Copyright Piracy and Market Access Barriers to Secure American Creative Jobs, Increase Exports, and Grow the Economy

Source: International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA)
IIPA's 25th Piracy Report Documents the Challenge of Online & Physical Piracy in 40 Countries. The press release dated 15th February 2011 may be viewed here.

How can RFID Help the Soft Goods Supply Chain - Let Us Count the (60) Ways

Source: Supply Chain Digest
"Other segments also focus on using RFID to improve their inbound and outbound quality, as well as minimize their shrinkage and manage their inventory". The article on how RFID helps the (apparel) retail supply chain posted on 2nd February 2011 may be viewed here.

Digital Book World

Source: Book Industry Study Group (BISG) - USA
The Book Industry Study Group (BISG) is the leading U.S. book trade association for supply chain standards, research, and best practices. Comments surrounding the BISG research report on ISBN posted on 26th January 2011 may be viewed here.

Handling Scanned Sheet Music and Audio Recordings in Digital Music Libraries

Source: Max-Planck-Institut
The report "Handling Scanned Sheet Music and Audio Recordings in Digital Music Libraries" may be viewed here.

How to Sell More Books with Metadata

Source: Publishing Perspectives
"Enhanced metadata can increase discoverability of books and provide marketing information to the entire publishing supply chain." The article posted on 27th January 2011 may be viewed here.


Source: Publishers Weekly
Five Degrees Of Metadata: Small Changes Can Mean Big Sales. The blog posted on 24th January 2011 may be viewed here.

International Standard Name Identifier (ISNI)

Source: International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC)
How to easily identify all digital content contributors? The answer is ISNI - ISNI International Agency Established in London. The latest press release which was published on 23rd January 2011 may be viewed here.

Increase Sales and Lower Costs With Better Metadata

Source: Booknet Canada
ONIX (Online Information Exchange) is the standard in the publishing industry for computer-to-computer communication about bibliographic data. ONIX gives publishers the ability to share infinitely more information about their books with infinitely more people. More may be read about this topic here.

Authors' Royalties Collections Rebound in 2009

Source: International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC)
CISAC's Global Economic Survey analyses the royalty collection figures of CISAC's members worldwide and shows how they are protecting the interests (and incomes) of creators under a constantly changing environment. The latest Global Economic Survey which was published on 20th January 2011 may be viewed here.

IFPI publishes Digital Music Report 2011

Source: International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI)
The report outlines the way that record companies have revolutionized their business models to meet the demands of digitally literate consumers. The Digital Music Report 2011 which was published on 20th January 2011 may be viewed here.

Sheet Music Download Sales Increase 25% At In 2010

Source: Music Industry News Network, the leading digital sheet music retailer and publisher, announced today sales of digital sheet music at its online store grew 25% in 2010. The article posted on 18th January 2011 may be viewed here.

Digital Libraries Initiative

Source: European Commission, Information Society
"Comité des Sages" on bringing Europe's cultural heritage online presents its report "The new Renaissance". The report which was published on 10th January 2011 may be viewed here.

Digital Libraries

Source: Europeana/The New York Times
US playing catch-up in a digital library race. The article posted on 8th January 2011 may be viewed here.

ISBN and e-books

Source: International Standard Book Number (ISBN)
The Board of the International ISBN Agency commissioned a study from Digital Publishing Partners LLC to provide an evidence base for developing its policy and actions regarding the assignment of ISBNs to e-books. The study which was posted on 5th January 2011 may be viewed here.




Global Repertoire Database

Source: Global Repertoire Database
The Global Repertoire Database Working Group releases its recommendations for: "The Way Forward for the Development of a Global Repertoire Database". The document which was published on 10th December 2010 may be viewed here.

RightsFlow, Major Digital Music Players To Adopt DDEX Standards

Source: RightsFlow
Digital Data Exchange ("DDEX"), a consortium of leading media companies, music licensing organisations and digital service providers focused on creating digital supply chain data standards for common use, today announced that several digital music retailers, labels and other rights owners have made strategic commitments to begin using the DDEX content and metadata messaging specification as part of their digital music supply chain infrastructure. The article published on December 10th 2011 may be viewed here.

Digital Libraries Initiative

Source: European Commission, Information Society
Europeana is a project funded by the European Commission with the goal of making Europe's cultural and scientific heritage accessible to the public. Europeana gives online access to over 14 million examples of Europe's cultural heritage. The press release which was published on 18th November 2010 may be viewed here.

Visitors from China

On 2 November, 2011, a delegation from the Chinese Institute of Publishing Science (CIPS) in Beijing visited Berlin. Dr. Hartmut Walravens, Dr. Joachim Jaenecke and Carolin Unger had the pleasure to meet Mr. Wei Yushan, Vice President of CIPS, and his colleagues Mr. Liu Yongjun (Director of the Department of Publishing Theory), Mr. Zhang Li (Director of the Department of Digital Publishing), and Ms. Zhou Zhixu (Secretary of the Department of Publishing Standardization). We hope that the good and informative talks will soon lead to the implementation of the ISMN system in China. The meeting was kindly hosted by Mr. Andreas Lamm, responsible for cooperation with ISO TC 46 at the DIN, the German Institute for Standardization.


Source: European Commission, Information Society
Commission calls on industry and European standardisation organisations to speed up the development of a common European sign for RFID. The news which was published on 5th October 2010 may be viewed here.

Companies get guidance on how to tag pallets and containers

Source: GS1
Two new guidelines show how to use GS1 EPCglobal standards-compliant RFID tags to tag assets in the supply chain. The press release published on September 13th 2010 may be viewed here.

New feature on our website: The ISMN Directory

The Music Publishers' International ISMN Database can be used to quickly find the publisher and the country of origin for a given ISMN. It lists addresses and telecommunication numbers of several thousands of music publishers and similar institutions linked to the production of notated music, from many countries all over the world. The database is the most comprehensive up-to-date reference tool for the notated music trade and the library world. It will be constantly updated with data supplied by the national ISMN agencies.

Just published: ISBN Bibliography

Hartmut Walravens: ISBN International Standard Book number: Bibliography - Literature on the ISBN and ISMN - From all over the world, Compiled and with a review about 40 years ISBN
Berlin 2010, Simon Verlag für Bibliothekswissen , 228 p. ISBN 978-3-940862-21-1, € 25,00
This international bibliography lists publications about different aspects of the ISBN system, the use of ISBN in publishing, booktrade and libraries, as well as about the ISMN system and other standards like DOI, ISAN, ISRN, ISRC, ISSN and SAN. Of special interest for many readers will be Hartmut Walravens' review of 40 years ISBN from it's early beginnings in 1966, the establishment of the International ISBN Agency in Berlin, Germany, in 1972, until the handing over of the agency to a London office in 2006. Hartmut Walravens was director of the agency from 1986 until 2006 and has profound knowledge of and his own share on the history of this successful ISO standard.

The future of music in the digital world

Source: International Association of Music Information Centres (IAMIC)
The IAMIC held its Annual Conference in Dublin, Ireland. The brochure "The future of music in the digital world" dated June 2010 may be viewed here.

Survey of the use of ISMN in Australia

The Australian ISMN agency conducted a survey of ISMN-registered publishers in the country, the results of which might be very interesting and useful for other agencies, as well.

Music Culture

Source: International Music Council (IMC)
Sustainable futures for music cultures project publishes first newsletter. The newsletter which was published on 1st March 2010 may be viewed here.

Online Catalogue of Musical Sources

Source: The International Inventory of Musical Sources - Répertoire International des Sources Musicales (RISM)
The International Inventory of Musical Sources - Répertoire International des Sources Musicales (RISM) - is a multinational, non-profit joint venture which aims for comprehensive documentation of extant musical sources worldwide. In September, 2008, the U.S. RISM Office embarked on a two-year project to catalog music manuscripts. The article posted on 15th June 2010 may be viewed here.

New member country: Colombia

As of February 2010, Colombia joined the ISMN system. The agency, based at the Cámara Colombiana del Libro, will become operational, soon.

Retailing sheet music

Source: Midem
DigiClef is a brand new way of retailing sheet music via smartphones. DigiClef unlocks the value held in sheet musical arrangements, packages it in state-of-the-art technology, and then delivers it directly to musicians on their iPhones. The presentation may be viewed here.




September 2009

ISMN Newsletter 19 appeared

The ISMN Newsletter 19 presenting the minutes of the Third Annual General Meeting of the Internationale ISMN-Agentur e.V. and the Panel Meeting in Bonn can be downloaded here.


August 2009

Revised ISMN Standard ISO 10957

The revised ISMN Standard ISO 10957 has been published by the International Standard Organisation. The English and French version can be obtained at

Streamlining Book Metadata Workflow

Source: National Information Standards Organization (NISO) and OCLC Online Computer Library Center, Inc.
"The metadata that enables readers to identify and acquire books online also drives multiple functions for the publisher supply chain and for library workflows both before and after publication." The white paper dated June 30th 2009 may be viewed here.

March 2009

ISMN Annual General Meeting and Panel meeting 2009

The ISMN Annual General Meeting and Panel meeting will take place in Bonn, on 29 and 30 June, by kind invitation of the German ISMN agency.

January 2009

New member country: Kyrgyz Republic

As of January 2009, the Kyrgyz Republic is member of the ISMN system. The agency is situated in the National Book Chamber in Bishkek.

Thoughts on the Supply Chain for Recorded Music

Source: The Business of Classical Music
"The music recording industry involves a number of discrete businesses. These businesses link together in a sophisticated way to create a "supply chain"." Full article posted on December 14th 2008 may be viewed here.


October 2008

ISMN Newsletter 18 appeared

The ISMN Newsletter 18 presenting the results of the Second Annual General Meeting of the Internationale ISMN-Agentur e.V. and the Panel Meeting in Yogyakarta can be downloaded here.



September 2008

New member country: Bulgaria

As of September 2008, Bulgaria joined the ISMN system. The agency is situated in the St. Cyril and St. Methodius National Library in Bukarest.

September 2008

Minutes of the last Annual General Meeting and Panel Meeting

The ISMN Newsletter 18 is ready for download here. It contains the minutes of the AGM and Panel Meeting and a report of the Seminar on Standard Music Numbering in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, in June 2008.
The international seminar was organized by the National Library of Indonesia on Tuesday, 17 June. It was aiming at colleagues from the music publishing business, music librarians and other interested parties coming from several South Asian, East Asian, Australian and Oceanian countries.

Some personal impressions of the trip to Indonesia by Dr. Bettina von Seyfried can be found here (in German language).

August 2008

Update of the ISMN Users' Manual

A revised version of the updated ISMN Users' Manual is ready for download here.

June 2008

Luxembourg, a new ISMN agency

As of June 2008 the Centre d'études et de documentation musicales, CEDOM, at the National Library of Luxembourg starts acting as ISMN agency.

June 2008

New ISMN Users' Manual

Due to the approval of the revised ISMN Standard 10957, the updated new ISMN Users' Manual is now ready for download here.


May 2008

Draft International Standard ISO 10957 approved

Guidelines for the Implementation of 13-digit ISMNs

On 20 May, the final ISMN working group meeting took place at the ISO TC46 SC 9 meeting in Stockholm. The revised ISMN standard DIS 10957 was approved 100 percent and the SC 9 plenary passed the resolution to recommend the immediate publication of the standard. No changes in the text of the DIS were necessary.


January 2008

Arnold Broido passed away

We received the sad news of the passing of Arnold Broido who was one of the active supporters of the International Standard Music Number.

Quoted from HFA Soundcheck (November 2007)



November 2007

ISMN Newsletter 17 appeared

The ISMN Newsletter 17 presenting the results of the First General Assembly of the Internationale ISMN-Agentur e.V. and the Panel Meeting in Oslo can be downloaded here.



November 2007

Standard revision will become effective as of 1 January 2008

Guidelines for the Implementation of 13-digit ISMNs

We hope that you are aware of the current revision of the ISMN standard (ISO 10957) and the important changes that will be made in the number structure of the ISMN system. The Guidelines for the Implementation of 13-digit ISMNs are intended to provide you with information and advice concerning the changes in the number and the effect that this will have on notated music sector systems.

Major changes to be aware of, and addressed by the guidelines, include the following:

  1. The ISMN will change from 10 to 13 digits on 1 January 2008
  2. There will be a transition period of several months, but by end of 2008 all publications of notations should be listed with the 13-digit number
  3. Existing ISMNs will be prefixed by 979-
  4. The leading M- of the 10-digit ISMNs will be replaced by 0- (zero)
  5. The resulting 13-digit number will be identical with the EAN-13 number that is currently encoded in the bar code
  6. Bar codes will carry the 13-digit ISMN with hyphenation above the barcode and the EAN-13, the identical number without hyphens or spaces, below the bar code

We hope that you will find the guidelines helpful and encourage you to distribute them as widely as possible. Any queries, requests for further guidance or suggestions for additional material should be addressed to the International ISMN Agency, E-mail:



Guidelines for local ISMN agencies on the Implementation of 13-digit ISMNs

The guidelines for local ISMN agencies on the Implementation of 13-digit ISMNs are available as a PDF-file here



ISMN Users' Manual (Fourth edition 2008)

The ISMN Users' Manual for the new standard that will be used from 2008 will be available on this website as a pdf document by early 2008



ISO/TC 46/SC 9 Project 10957: Revision of the ISMN standard

The International Standard Music Number (ISMN) is based on an ISO International Standard that was first published in 1993 as ISO 10957.
ISO 10957 specifies the basic structure of an ISMN, the rules for its allocation, and the administration of the ISMN system. ISO 10957 is currently under revision to deal with changes to the ISMN system. For further information concerning the project status of the revision please contact the following URL:

Copies of ISO 10957 will be available for purchase from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and its national member organizations.





September 2007

Outlook on standard revision 2008

It is expected that by January 2008 the ISO TC46 SC9 vote on the ISMN Draft International Standard (DIS) will have approved positive and the revised Standard will have been published both in English and French.
One of the most important features of the new version of the Standard is the transition from 10 to 13 digits. In practical terms it means that the initial "M" will be replaced by 979-0 while the check digit will remain unchanged.




August 2007

Miscellaneous news from August 2007

- Axel Roepke, our long time database administrator suddenly died. For more than 15 years he had worked for the ISBN and ISMN publisher directories. We will miss his kindness, advice and great expertise.

- IFLA Conference in South Africa. ISMN report given at the Conference of Directors of National libraries.

- Finalizing of ISMN DIS.




July 2007

Change of the Secretary of the Association

As of 1 July 2007, Dr. Ulrich Wegner left the International ISMN Agency. Carolin Unger, who had already worked for ISMN in the 1990ies and, since 1991, for the International ISBN Agency is his successor .




June 2007

Update on the ISMN Revision process, a circular sent to the ISMN agencies on 8 June 2007

"ISMN News - ISMN Panel On May 31 and June 1, 2007, the annual ISMN Panel took place in Oslo, Norway, by kind invitation of the National Library of Norway. It also served as the Annual general meeting of the newly formed ISMN association (International ISMN Agency).
The proceedings will be published in the form of a newsletter, as usually.
Two subjects will be mentioned here already in order to speed up the flow of information:

- ISMN Revision
The ISMN Standard ISO 10957 has been under revision for some time. On March 30, 2007, the voting period for the ISO CD ended, and it turned out that vote was 100% positive. A number of countries made numerous remarks and suggestions, and on May 9, 2007, in the context of the ISO TC46 meeting at Santiago de Compostela, Spain, an ad hoc working group chaired by Hartmut Walravens (International ISMN Agency) answered the comments and amended the CD. As a result, the amended version was forwarded to the SC9 secretariat, and ISO TC46/SC 9 resolved "that CD 10957, Information and Documentation, International Standard Music Number (ISMN), as modified by the descisions of the Ad Hoc Group meeting held 2007-05-09, should be advanced to the Enquiry stage for distribution and voting as DIS 10957 by 30 June 2007."
The French colleagues promised to have the required French translation ready by that date. This is a big step forward, and it is now the time to alert the ISMN and the user communities that hopefully by the end of this year the official implementation of the revised standard will be an urgent task. This means that ISMN agencies should develop strategies to spread the news in their respective countries, inform the music publisher organisations, distributors and wholesalers, teleordering systems, software developers, and, of course, the music libraries about this development. This is particularly important as by the extension to 13 digits ISMN will even more obviously than so far use the 979 EAN prefix, and many users worldwide may consider this simply a wrong number - they expect ISBN to start on the 979 contingents some time in the future, and they may not be aware that 979 is also used by ISMN. So in order to avoid obstacles to electronic transactions it will be very important to make this very clear to all user communities.
When in doubt please contact the International ISMN Agency.

- Membership Dues
The Panel approved the proposed list of membership contributions after careful consideration. It was agreed that the combination of the criteria of overall annual music publications and the GNI (purchasing power of a country) were a suitable way of determining the quota. If members are unhappy with the published data they are asked to contact the International ISMN Agency and provide more reliable data and their sources.
The ISMN Panel resolved:


The General Assembly resolves:
The annual membership fee of a member country or region of the Internationale ISMN-Agentur e.V. will be calculated on the basis of (1) the output of editions of printed music in a certain year, and (2) the figure for the Gross National Income (per capita, method Purchasing Power Parity [PPP]) for the same year. A multiplication of both figures leads to a number which is to be matched with the following payment ranges:

Output x GNI

Figures will be updated on a yearly basis.
All members have to pay membership fees without exception as stated in the Statutes. If for economical reasons they are unable to pay, the Internationale ISMN-Agentur e.V. will investigate each individual case and the General Assembly will decide on further procedures. The same applies when objections are raised against the amount of the contribution.

******** .




May 2007

The ISMN Panel meeting in Oslo, Norway

On 31 May - 1 June the 15th ISMN Panel meeting took place at the Nasjonalbiblioteket of Norway. At the same time, this was the 1st meeting of the ISMN General Assembly, following the regulations of the new association structure. The participants were kindly invited by Berit Holth, head of the Norwegian ISMN Agency who had organised the meeting splendidly.
The main topic of discussion was, of course, the ISMN revision process and the calculation of membership fees. Also, there were two very interesting reports, one from Hilde Holbaek-Hanssen, senior Advisor of the Music Information Center MIC on "MIC in Norway - Coping with a lack of Domestic Music Publishing Industry". The other report was given by a representative of the music publishing company NOTAM, a production centre for work with sound in music, research, education and mediation.
A detailed report about the meeting will be published in the ISMN Newsletter No. 17. For an update on the ISMN standard revision process and the calculation of membership fees see June 2007 .




May 2007

Revision of the ISMN Standard

The ballot for the committee draft of ISO 10957 ended on 31 March and yielded full approval, except for some minor editorial comments regarding proper grammar, terminology etc. In May, an ad hoc working meeting in Santiago de Compostela, Spain, with colleagues from ISO, Geneva, took place and revised the Committee Draft by addressing all comments.




April 2007

Singapore, a new ISMN member country

The National Library of Singapore decided to introduce the ISMN in Singapore and registered as the national agency as of 1 April 2007. Singapore is the third Southeast-Asian country to join the ISMN community.




April 2007

A new office for the International ISMN Agency

The Internationale ISMN-Agentur e.V. moved from the State Library Berlin - Prussian Cultural Foundation - to a new office. The address is:

Internationale ISMN-Agentur e.V.
Schlossstr. 50
12165 Berlin
Fon +49-30-7974 5002
Fax +49-30-7974 5254




March 2007

Kazakhstan, a new ISMN member country

The National Book Chamber in Almaty signs the contract for acting as ISMN Agency in Kazakhstan.




February 2007

Belgium, a new ISMN member country

Partitor vzw, the Belgium Music Publishers Association, decided to introduce the ISMN in Belgium and signed a contract with the International Agency. This seems the more a promising development for the dissemination of the ISMN in Belgium as the scope of work of Partitor covers both the Flemish and the Walloon areas of the country.




November 2006

The new Association, the standard revision: the state of affairs

Dear Colleagues,

Finally I have ISMN news for you --- some good, some bad, or let's say, less good.

The good news first: After several months of bureaucratic struggles the new International ISMN Agency is finally registered as an association under German law. The current (interim) board consists of Dr. Joachim Jaenecke (State Library, deputy chair), Dr. Bettina von Seyfried (German Music Archives, treasurer), and myself (chair). Building on the experience of ISBN we decided to start the association with German members only --- not as a discrimination but in order to shorten the registration formalities: Nowadays the courts suspect you always of trying to establish money laundries, or other odd activities, and therefore they check very thoroughly.

The next step is to establish an account, and get some other formalities taken care of. Very soon I shall send all of you a form stating that you (i.e. your institution) become member of the International ISMN Agency and that the existing contracts remain valid. Actually, the Agency remains the same, the address the same, the people the same --- it is just that the Agency will no longer be an integral part of the State Library but will just have its office. Therefore I assume that the signing of an additional form seems the easiest way to handle the matter. Will your administrations have difficulty with that?

You are all aware of the next ISMN Panel to be hosted by the National Library of Norway, at the end of May, 2007. That will then be the first Annual General Assembly as prescribed by law.

The second news item is less positive. Some of you have been asking for a while how the standard revision is going on. No progress, unfortunately! The year started auspiciously: At the ISO TC46/SC9 meeting we discussed an improved Committee Draft, and things looked good. Then the secretary of SC9 took the notes with her to Paris (in April), to an ISSN meeting, to work on it during the weekend. At the dinner in the evening (at a restaurant) the notes were stolen!! Since then the secretary has tried to reconstruct the draft but also got other work to do in her library, owing to a restructuring of operations. I keep sending regular notes to Ottawa to remind poor Jane Thacker of our needs. Brian Green, chair of SC9, emphasized our desperate needs by phone.

Unfortunately, before the missing draft has not been voted upon, we cannot make any definitive statement on the future standard --- We keep at it --- and things can now only get better!!

Best wishes,

Hartmut Walravens



October 2006

The new ISMN Association registered

On 31 October 2006, the new Association "Internationale ISMN-Agentur e.V." has been registered by the district court in Berlin. The Inaugural Assembly had taken place on June 29.



September 2006

ISMN Newsletter 16 appeared

The ISMN Newsletter 16 presenting the results of the Panel Meeting in Helsinki can be downloaded here. A printed version will soon be on its way.



September 2006

First announcement: ISMN Panel Meeting 2007

The 15th International ISMN Panel Meeting will take place in Oslo at the kind invitation of Berit Holth and the Norwegian ISMN Agency. The meeting is scheduled for May 31 and June 1.



June 2006

New ISMN governance: The "Internationale ISMN-Agentur e.V." founded!

On June 29, 2006, the Inaugural Assembly of the "Internationale ISMN-Agentur e.V." took place. The Statutes were accepted and an Interim Board elected. Board members are: Dr. Hartmut Walravens (Chair Person), Dr. Joachim Jaenecke (Vice Chair Person), and Dr. Bettina von Seyfried (Treasurer). National ISMN Agencies will be asked to become members of this new Association. The first regular General Assembly will be held during the 15th International ISMN Panel Meeting in Oslo in May/June 2007.



June 2006

The 14th International ISMN Panel Meeting in Helsinki

On June 8-9, 2006, the 14th International ISMN Panel Meeting took place in Helsinki at the Helsinki University Library at the invitation of the Finnish ISMN Agency which is headed by Maarit Huttunen.

Discussions focussed on the institutional changes which are on their way with respect to the International ISMN Agency. The foundation of a membership association will not only concern the institutional setting of the International Agency, but touch on the status of the national or regional ISMN agencies as well. On the basis of the existing bilateral contracts, agencies are supposed to become members; membership fees will have to be recalculated based on a new method considering the gross national product (GNP) and the average output of editions of notated music in a specific country. It was decided that the membership fees paid in the past will not be changed for 2006 and 2007, until the first regular General Assembly during the 2007 ISMN Panel Meeting will decide on a new payment scheme.

The revision of the ISMN standard, the change from the ISMN-10 to the ISMN-13, was only addressed shortly as, for a variety of reasons, the revision process is not making much progress at the moment.

Two interesting papers were presented: Pekka Sipilä, Managing Director of the Finnish Music Publishers' Association, discussed the use of the ISMN in online licensing; Timo Virtanen presented the Jean Sibelius project, the publication of Jean Sibelius's complete works at Breitkopf & Härtel.

A detailed report about the meeting will be published in the ISMN Newsletter No. 16.



February 2006

Detailed ISMN statistics from the Spanish ISMN Agency

In the framework of the "Anuario de Estad�sticas Culturales 2005," detailed statistics about the ISMN music publishers and their editions of notated music in Spain were published covering the years 2003-2004. In the chapter about "Artes escénicas y musicales" statistical data are given about the musical genres, editorial formats, the numer of pages, the print run, etc. of the published musical notations. For a closer look at the statistics, click here. For an online version of the complete "Anuario", please log on to plantilla_wai.jsp?id=566&area=estadisticas.



February 2006

ISMN standard revision: The results of the TC46/SC9 meeting in Chiang Mai, Thailand, in brief

At the TC46/SC9 meeting in Chiang Mai, Thailand, on February 7, 2006, the Working Draft (TC46/SC9 document N409), agreed upon by the participants of the ISMN Panel Meeting in Zagreb (May 2005), was evaluated in the light of the comments and suggestions which the TC46/SC9 members had put forward while voting on this draft document.

In the light of the fact that two of the members had questioned a separate standard number for editions of notated music, Dr. Walravens, the Director of the International ISMN Agency, explained the differences between the book market and the market for printed music necessitating separate numbering standards for both types of print product.

The results of the discussion in Chiang Mai will lead to a Committee Draft (CD) which will be drawn up and disseminated by the TC46/SC9 secretariat soon. There will be a voting period of three months. With the acceptance of the CD by the voting members of TC46/SC9, a Draft International Standard (DIS) will be reached. If no more general objections against the ISMN standard or parts of the Committee Draft will be raised, it is hoped that the revision process of the ISMN standard will proceed according to a "fast track" mode.



February 2006

The Russian Book Chamber takes over ISMN responsibilities

The Russian Book Chamber signed a contract with the International ISMN Agency laying the foundations for the opening of an ISMN office in Russia. Both parties consider this an important step towards a worldwide dissemination of the ISMN! Running the Russian ISBN office since 1987. the Russian Book Chamber is well experienced in handling numbering standards. In March 2006, a seminar dealing with the ISMN and its potentials will be organized in Moscow for Russian music publishers with Dr. Walravens, Director of the International ISMN Agency, holding the key paper.



January 2006

ISMN standard revision. Start of the revision process

The revision process of the ISO standard 10957:1993 (ISMN) has officially been started! The TC46/SC9 Secretariat informed the International ISMN Agency that the national standard institutions of all participating countries (P-members) voted in favor of an approval of a New Work Item 10957. The Secretariat appointed Dr. Hartmut Walravens as project leader of this Work Item. Furthermore, the draft of the standard text, discussed and agreed upon during the ISMN Panel Meeting in Zagreb, May 2005, was approved as Committee Draft (CD). The discussions of the New Work Item will begin during the TC46/SC9 meeting in Chiang Mai, Thailand, on February 7, 2006. On this occasion, Dr. Walravens will suggest to follow a relatively tight schedule ("fast track") during the revision process heading for a publication of the revised standard text in 2007. Details will be given after the hopefully successful meeting!



December 2005

First notice:14th International ISMN Panel Meeting

The 14th International ISMN Panel Meeting will take place on June 8 and 9, 2006, in Helsinki. Our kind host will be Ms. Maarit Huttunen, the head of the Finnish ISMN Agency.




30 November 2005

MPA Catalogue of Printed Music & ISMNs

The Music Publishers Association is very pleased to announce that it is joining forces with DE-PARCON GmbH to work on the development and expansion of the MPA's Catalogue of Printed Music.

DE-PARCON, a software technology company based in Hürth near Cologne in Germany, has already developed IDNV (International Database for Printed Music) for the German Music Publishers Association and the German Music Retailers Association. IDNV has been working successfully for the German printed music industry for several years and the partnership with DE-PARCON offers an excellent opportunity for the MPA to take advantage of building on a pre-existing system which already fulfils many of the requirements sought to take its own Catalogue forward and to streamline the administration of ISMNs in the UK and Eire.

The decision to proceed with DE-PARCON is fully supported by members of the MPA's Board and Printed Music Publishers Committee. Final negotiations between the two partners are already in hand and work on the new system is now under way. The MPA will launch the revamped Catalogue in its new online format in Spring 2006.

We shall keep you informed of progress but in the meantime please contact Mrs Lois Clark or Herr Wolfram Krajewski if you require further information.

Mrs Lois Clark Editor,
MPA Catalogue
Managing Partner Music Publishers Association Ltd
New contact details from 5 December 2005:
6th Floor, British Music House
26 Berners Street
London W1T 3LR, UK
Direct Tel: +44 (0)20 7637 4052
Fax: +44 (0)20 7637 3929


Herr Wolfram Krajewski
Kalscheurener Straße 8
D - 50354 Hürth Germany
Tel.: +49 (0)2233 - 804 100
Fax: +49 (0)2233 - 804 1030



July 2005

New work item proposal for the revision of the ISMN circulated for voting

The proposal for a new work item which includes the Working Draft of the revised standard text as agreed upon during the ISMN Panel Meeting in Zagreb was circulated among the P-members of TC 46 / SC 9 for voting. Members are requested to vote on the adoption of the proposal as a new project and on the adoption of the associated draft as a Committee Draft (CD).



July 2005

The Philippines and Bosnia & Herzegovina join the ISMN system

A contract was signed with the National Library of the Philippines and the National and University Library of Bosnia and Herzegovina paving the way for the introduction of the ISMN in these two countries.



May 2005

The 13th ISMN Panel Meeting in Zagreb

On May 19-20, the 13th ISMN Panel Meeting took place in Zagreb at the National and University Library on the occassion of the 10th anniversary of the Croatian membership in the ISMN system.

The revision of the ISMN standard was the major topic of this meeting. A first draft of the revised standard text presented by the International Agency was the point of departure for an extended discussion of the regulations laid down in the text for ISO 10957. The second draft which was agreed upon in Zagreb and is supposed to be submitted to the ISO TC46 /SC 9 secretariat takes into account the new 13-digit structure of the ISMN and the increased importance of virtual items offered in the Internet as digital notations. The term "printed music" is supposed to be substituted by "notated music." Furthermore, it was announced that the institutional status of the International ISMN Agency will have to change within the next few months.

Post-panel activities included a visit at the music department of the National and University Library and at "Cantus" music publishers. A detailed report about the meeting will be published in the ISMN Newsletter No. 15. For a photo gallery click here.



May 2005

A new French and Spanish version of the ISMN flyer

The ISMN flyer introducing into the ISMN system appeared in French and Spanish. A PDF version of both documents can be downloaded here (fr. / sp.).



April 2005

Third, revised edition of the ISMN Users' Manual appeared

Based on the third edition of the ISMN Users' Manual from 1998, a revised edition has been published with minor additions and corrections. For a download of a PDF version of the manual, click here. If you want to order printed copies, please send us an e-mail.



December 2004

New ISMN agency in Macedonia

The music department of the National and University Library "St. Kliment Ohridski" in Skopje will administer the ISMN in the Republic of Macedonia from 2005 on.



November 2004

Systematic review of ISMN standard

The systematic review of the ISMN standard which takes place every four years resulted in eleven members voting in favour of confirmation and five members voting in favour of a revision of the standard. Therefore, ISO 10957 could not be confirmed. The TC46 / SC 9 secretariat requested the International ISMN Agency as the Registration Authority to decide on the appropriate course of action. This request paved the way for the International Agency to initiate a revision process which is supposed to lead - in accordance with decisions made at the 12th ISMN Panel Meeting in Berlin - to a new 13-digit format of the ISMN.



November 2004

The Iran Book House implementing the ISMN in Iran

From December 1 on, the Iran Book House (Khan-e ketab) in Tehran will function as the new Iranian ISMN Agency. The contract was signed during the ISBN panel meeting in Berlin. The Iran Book House is of central importance for the publishing market in Iran, has been organizing exhibitions and conferences and administering the ISBN since 1994.



August 2004

Extended version of ISMN CD-ROM

The text of the CD-ROM publication "ISMN. The New Standard"--available in English, French, German, Spanish, Czech, and Serbian - was enlarged with an additional chapter on ISMN applications.



Next edition of MPIID postponed

The 2004 edition of the "Music Publishers' International ISMN Directory" appeared at the end of 2003. Although the MPIID had been conceived as a yearly publication, K. G. Saur publishers decided to refrain from a 2005 edition for two reasons: first, the copies of the 2004 directory did not sell as expected and, second, the International ISMN Agency had to declare that it is not in a position to finance all editorial work for the publishing house any more. Negotiations about the future of the MPIID were scheduled for 2005



May 2004

The 12th ISMN Panel Meeting in Berlin

The 12th International ISMN Panel Meeting took place in Berlin on May 3, 2004, by invitation of the International ISMN Agency. The venue was the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin Preußischer Kulturbesitz.

In a round table discussion ("The First Ten Years of the ISMN. Retrospects and Prospects"), music librarians, music publishers and ISMN representatives critically reviewed the progress the ISMN has been made during the last decade. In two major contributions, Brian Chesser and Berit Holth informed about music databases, catalogues and Internet applications at the British Library and in Norway respectively. Will the ISBN standard revision necessitate a major change of the ISMN as well? It was discussed if - like ISBN - the ISMN should change to 13 digits using the EAN prefix 979 in order to harmonize the two similar identification systems and avoid practical problems. The participants consented unanimously in favour of this proposal.

Post-panel activities on May 4 included a guided tour of the Deutsche Musikarchiv (DMA) in Berlin and the German National Broadcasting Archives (Deutsches Rundfunkarchiv, DRA). For a detailed report about the meeting's presentations and discussions in ISMN Newsletter No. 14 click here. For a picture gallery click here.



May 2004

A new flyer about the ISMN

A new flyer introducing the International Standard Music Number was published by the International ISMN Agency. A PDF version is available for download here.



December 2003

10th Anniversary of the ISMN

Ten years ago, at the end of 1993, the new standard for printed music was published by ISO in Geneva, after draft versions of the standard text had been processed by ISO working groups at a fast pace. Since then, 44 countries or regions have joined the ISMN system, and 1,700 publishers of printed music are applying the number world-wide. For the future, it is expected that new applications which smoothly integrate a given ISMN into editorial, pre-print and distributional workflows will further underline the importance of this standard and its potentials.



December 2003

New version of ISMN CD-ROM in Serbian

The CD-ROM published by the International ISMN Agency ("ISMN. The New Standard") was supplemented by a version in Serbian.



December 2003

New edition of the "Music Publishers' International ISMN Directory"

The fifth edition of the MPIID appeared at K. G. Saur Publishing in Munich. First published in 1996, the MPIID serves as an indispensable tool for the market of printed music world-wide. The 2004 edition of the directory offers an increase in data of about 20% compared with the last edition. Addresses and contact numbers of 17,800 publishers in 99 countries are listed, among them 1,700 digital suppliers.



December 2003

Azerbaijan, a new ISMN member

Khazar University in Baku decided to introduce the ISMN in Azerbaijan. The university's Library Information Center (LIC) plans to build a national bilbiographic database of all music prints in Azerbaijan based on the Khazar University electronic catalogue. With this digital catalogue, it will be possible to research and obtain music information quickly and easily. An efficient search engine will offer information about composers, songs, titles, prices, ISMNs, etc.



August 2003

Preparation for the fifth edition of the MPIID

In preparing the fifth edition of the Music Publishers' International ISMN Directory (MPIID), we focused even more on the reliability of published data, indispensible for any serious directory project. In addition to the information updates and supplements offered by the local and national ISMN agencies and other libraries and institutions able to deliver pertinent information to the editorial office, the International ISMN Agency undertook the task of contacting all 15,600 publishers directly. Publishers were asked to check their address data and to specify the areas of musical activity covered by their publications of printed music. In introducing such content criteria into the data survey, it is hoped that the efficiency of any attempt to retrieve data, with the help of one of the future editions of the MPIID, will be raised.



July 2003

A new local ISMN agency in the Republika Srpska

From now on, the National and University Library of the Republic of Srpska in Banjaluka will take on the responsibility of handling the ISMN matters in Srpska.



May 2003

A new local ISMN agency in Serbia

The National Library of Serbia signed a contract with the International ISMN Agency which regulates the responsibilities with respect to the introduction and dissemination of the ISMN in Serbia. Library representatives expressed their interest in organizing the 2004 ISMN Panel Meeting in Belgrade.



May 2003

The 11th ISMN Panel Meeting in Ljubljana

The 11th ISMN Panel Meeting took place in Ljubljana, Slovenia, on May 16 2003, by invitation of the Slovenian ISMN Agency. The venue was the National and University Library. The kind hostess of this meeting was Alenka Kanic, head of the Slovenian ISMN Agency. The warm reception by her, her co-workers, and the other members of the Kanic family of the ISMN representatives of ten European countries laid the foundation for fruitful discussions which centered around the following question: whether the ISMN should be applied to virtual entities offered by Internet publishers of printed music and in which respect databases of printed music incorporate ISMN information and are able to increase the awareness of the potentials of the music number. For a detailed report about the meeting's presentations and discussions in ISMN Newsletter No. 13 click here. For a picture gallery offered by Alenka and Ivan Kanic click here.


March 2003

The ISMN community is growing

This year the International Standard Music Number (ISMN) is looking forward to celebrating its 10th anniversary. The number of countries involved with the ISMN-system currently amounts to 41 and fortunately continues to grow. The new membership in the ISMN system of the following countries: U.S.A., Israel, New Zealand, Indonesia, Spain, Poland, Estonia, Kosova, Moldova, Armenia, and Georgia is evidence of the successful efforts of the International Agency to promote the standard and its merits on every possible occasion that presents itself.

In particular, the ISBN agencies in the countries in which the ISMN is not yet in use were targeted anew about the Music Standard and informed about the rationalising effects which would come with its implementation--and for good reason.Although they apply to printed products of different characters, the ISMN and the ISBN are very closely related to one another: The 10-digit format of the International Standard Music Number was intentionally adapted to the ISBN, which was already very successfully established in the market in 1993.

Above all, the U.S.A.'s participation may be viewed as an essential step towards a worldwide establishment of the ISMN. According to an estimation of the National Music Publishers' Association (NMPA) based on a census of 53 Regions, the U.S.A. and Germany covered over 60% of the worldwide turnover for printed music.




February 2003

New ISMN agency for Germany, Luxembourg, Switzerland, and Austria

In February 2003, the "Deutsche Musikverlegerverband e.V." (DMV) in Bonn took over responsibility for the ISMN in the above-mentioned countries. Prior to this, the "MBV. Marketing- und Verlagsservice des Buchhandels GmbH" in Frankfurt, formerly known as the "Buchhändler-Vereinigung," had acted as the national agency. It had at the same time published the VLM (Music in Print), yet with limited success. A re-launch of this directory was initiated in 2002 by DE-PARCON based on the company's experiences with music database software and data administration. On the one hand, it is hoped that the cooperation between the DMV and DE-PARCON, both operating closely with the market for printed music, will be the key to continued development of the ISMN in Germany; and on the other hand, to the building of an effective database of printed music , turning this database into an indispensible tool for libraries and all parts of the supply chain.



January 2003

ISMN to be introduced in Israel and Georgia

From January 2003 onwards, the International Standard Music Number in Israel and Georgia wil be administrated by The Israeli Center for Libraries in Bnei-Brak and the Georgian Parliament I. Chavchavadze National Library in Tbilisi. Both institutions have been acting as national ISBN agencies in their respective country for a considerable time already.



January 2003

Digital suppliers of printed music

New perspectives are being opened for the International Standard Music Number in the form of "digital music prints." The "Music Publishers' International ISMN Directory" (M-PIID), which is edited by the International ISMN-Agency and published by the K.G. In its 4th edition (Munich 2003) Saur Verlag lists for the first time the URLs of over 400 providers of printed music which is downloadable in digital formats. However, this number of records, the result of an initial search in the internet, will by no means comprise the entire spectrum of such "digital suppliers." The editorial staff of the M-PIID will increase its efforts for the coming editions of the directory in order to provide a more comprehensive picture of this growing Internet market.

The phenomenon of digital suppliers of printed music raises similar questions with reference to the rules of ISMN assignment, as is the case with the ISBN and its relation to eBooks and eTexts. Those responsible for the maintenance of the ISMN system will have to define the term "digital music print" more precisely and will have to decide about how the different digital formats with one and the same content are to be dealt with.

Most of the "digital suppliers" who were included in the first survey offer printed music as downloads free of charge (e.g. Project Gutenberg Music Website or Stretta Music GmbH ). Since the International Standard Music Number may used "to identify printed music, whether available for sale, hire, gratis or for copyright purposes" (ISMN Users' Manual, Chapter 3), there is no reason to exclude this group of digital suppliers from ISMN assignments, especially from the point of view of a complete bibliographical listing of printed musical works.

Ulrich Wegner



December 2002

First set of ISMNs for a New Zealand music publisher

The New Zealand ISMN office has issued its first set of ISMNs to Artaria Editions a music-publishing house with a specialist interest in rare eighteenth-century repertoire. Founded by New Zealand musicologist Dr. Allan Badley and Klaus Heymann, Managing Director of HNH International who funds the enterprise, Artaria publishes around a hundred editions annually all of which form the basis of Naxos's ground-breaking historical series devoted the eighteenth-century symphony and concerto. Further information is to be found at Discussions are also underway with Promethean Editions a publisher of contemporary New Zealand music. More information at We are looking forward to building our relationship with the New Zealand music publishing world.

Deirdre McFarland



November 21, 2002

Announcing the 11th ISMN Panel Meeting

The 11th ISMN Panel Meeting will take place in Ljubljana, Slovenia, on May 16, 2003. It will be hosted by Alenka Kanic, head of the Slovenian ISMN Agency and the National and University Library. For more information click here.



November 2002

IDNV, a New "Music in Print" Database

The "Internationale Datenbank f�r Noten und Verlagsartikel" (IDNV, International Database for Printed Music and Publishers' Items) encompasses over 240,000 records of nationally or internationally available printed music. The new database system was designed by DE-PARCON Softwaretechnology and Marketing GmbH in close cooperation with key representatives of the Deutscher Musikverleger Verband e.V. (DMV, German Music Publishers Association), reputable music publishers and retailers. CD-ROM updates of the first edition which appeared in October 2002 will be issued regularly (initially appearing quarterly).

National and international music publishers, retailers, libraries and those with an interest in music have long been demanding a complete, current and reliable reference work. With this digital catalogue, it is possible to research and obtain information quickly and easily. An efficient search engine offers immediate information about composers, songs, titles, prices, ISMNs etc. (view screenshot).

The high performance software for the PC has minimal system requirements. The software works alongside most existing IT applications. In the near future it is planned to include additionally multi-media information and web enabling. In particular the eBusiness capability will open up new business to business revenue opportunities in international markets.

For more information about the IDNV click here.



November 14, 2002

New ISMN agencies in Moldova, Kosova, Indonesia, and Estonia

In the last quarter of 2002, four countries have joined the ISMN community represented by the Chambre Nationale du Livre in Chisinau (Moldova), the National and University Library of Kosova in Prishtina, the National Library of Indonesia in Jakarta and the National Library of Estonia in Tallinn. In all cases, the respective ISBN offices have taken over the responsibility for the implementation and maintenance of the ISMN in their country.



November 7, 2002

"Music Publishers' International ISMN Directory" went to print.

The 4th edition of the "Music Publishers' International ISMN Directory" went to print today. The new edition will list over 15,000 music publishers from 91 countries and 400 digital suppliers offering digital material in the Internet. This means an increase of records of about 20 percent compared to the last edition of the M-PIID. Publication of the 4th edition is scheduled for January 2003.



October 2002

A new database for the "Music Publishers' International ISMN Directory" (M-PIID)

The development of a completely new PIID/M-PIID database software started in 2000. Learning from former experiences with licensing, only OpenSource software ought to be used (apart from the operating system). After some detours and turbulences in the past two and a half years as of October 2002 a beta version of the new software finally reached user testing while the fourth edition of the M-PIID was being prepared.

The new software is being developed under MS Windows NT 4.0 and Windows 2000 and will probably run without changes on Windows XP too. Written in the scripting language Python using the cross-platform OpenSource programme library wxPython, it is relatively easily portable to Linux and, in the near future, Mac OS X.

The new system is extensible and further adaptable to the developing needs of the agency especially regarding the integration and unification of huge numbers of entries from the national agencies. Publisher data is represented in Unicode, meaning no more cryptic surrogate representations for special characters.

Axel Roepke

(For reading the full version of this text, click here.)



September 10, 2002

ISMN in Spain at last!

After a few months spent preparing the launch of the ISMN in Spain, it started running in March 2002 at the "Centro do Documentación de Música y Danza" (CDMyD), a department of the "Instituto Nacional de las Artes Escénicas y de la Música (INAEM), of the Spanish Ministerio de Educación, Cultura y Deporte."

Before the opening of the ISMN agency in Spain, the "Centro de Documentación de Música y Danza" had prepared the database supporting all the agency�s operations. The ISMN Users� Manual in Spanish was also edited.

Most of the Spanish music publishers want to have an ISMN identification number because they were used to having ISBN prefixes before. So an important percentage applied for it. At the moment, thirty-three prefixes have been allocated to publishers, amongst which are the most important Spanish ones. These thirty-three prefixes represent fourty percent of the total amount, and we are expecting to receive more applications very soon.

Since last March, 400 music prints (scores, learning music methods, etc.) have been numbered. Because the ISMN has not been operating for very long, the percentage of music prints, which carry ISMNs is not very high. However, there is a lot of interest amongst the music publishers and we can therefore expect a significant increase in the next few months.

Regarding bar coding, all music publishers, who have an ISMN prefix either use it, or are planning to adopt it soon.

In the next few weeks it will be possible to use the Internet to look up information about the ISMN databases of musical editions, editors, etc. Further questions can be sent to the Spanish ISMN Agency:

Torregalindo, 10
28016 Madrid

Tel: 34 913531480
Fax: 34 913531373



August 15, 2002

R.R. Bowker announces introduction of ISMN' standard for sheet music published in U.S. market

R.R. Bowker, a leading publisher of bibliographic information, today announced the U.S. launch of the International Standard Music Number (ISMN) system, a uniform global standard for identifying all printed music publications available worldwide.

"The ISMN has actually been in existence for a decade and is currently used throughout Europe, but it is just now being officially introduced in the U.S. market by R.R. Bowker, the official ISMN independent agent for the U.S.," said Don Riseborough, Senior Managing Editor of the ISMN. "This global standard allows for fast and unique identification, quick and efficient ordering, and supports all bar coding and point-of-sale systems."

"Bowker has served as the U.S. book publishing industry's ISBN agency since its inception in 1968 and we believe that the ISMN has the potential of having a similar impact on the U.S. music publishing industry," said Michael Cairns, president of New Providence, N.J.-based R.R. Bowker. "We will immediately begin constructing a single database of all printed music publications, enabling simple and efficient searches for any title. This capability distinguishes the ISMN system from all other systems -- such as UPC codes and publishers' numbers -- that are not part of a central, searchable database."

As the independent agent in the U.S. market, R.R. Bowker is now inviting the participation of domestic music publishers in the ISMN system. For more information, go to, or call Diana Luongo at 908/219-0283.

Founded in 1872, R.R. Bowker, a Cambridge Information Group company, is North America's leading provider of bibliographic information, and is also the official agency for assigning ISBNs in the United States. The company's flagship product, Books In Print(R), is available on the Internet at, on CD-ROM and in hardbound print format. The Web-based version of Global Books In Print(TM) is located at For more information, please visit or call 1-888-BOWKER2 (1-888/269-5372).

Books In Print is a registered trademark, and and Global Books In Print are trademarks of R.R. Bowker LLC. Other products and services may be trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies.



July 10, 2002

New ISMN agency in New Zealand

The National Library of New Zealand has joined our neighbours Australia and recently signed the contract to act as the ISMN agency for New Zealand. This is now added to our responsibilities for providing New Zealand's ISSNs and ISBNs. As yet our processes are not fully in place but within a short time New Zealand music publishers will be contacted and we will commence issuing ISMNs to them. We are excited to be joining the worldwide fraternity of ISMN agencies and are looking forward to closer contact in the near future.

Deidre McFarland



July 2, 2002

ISMN implementation in Armenia

The National Book Chamber of Armenia which acts as the central depository of all press publications and other printed matters for the whole of Armenia opened an ISMN office in Yerevan.



January 2002

First publisher of digital sheet music received ISMN

The first publisher who offers digital sheet music free of charge received an ISMN publisher ID in Australia ( This assigment marks an important step which opens new perspectives for the ISMN and its application in the growing scene of Internet publishers.



December 2001

ISMN agency Australia
„Open to business.“ National library introduces ISMN service

During November 2001 the Australian International Standard Music Numbering Agency became operational at the National Library, and began issuing ISMNs to Australian music publishers in December.

The International Standard Music Number (ISMN) is similar to the very familiar International Standard Book Number or ISBN. While ISBNs are assigned to uniquely identify printed and electronic texts, ISMNs serve a similar purpose for scores, anthologies of music, music parts, and texts or lyrics with printed music. Details of all publishers registered with the Australian ISMN Agency are published in the Music Publishers' International ISMN Directory. Australian music publishers can also be located online through the Australian ISMN Agency website.

The opening of the ISMN service for Australia follows a period of planning and the building of an automated system and database to support the day-to-day operations of the national agency. Australian music publishers may now request ISMNs by mail, telephone, fax, e-mail or via the Internet using a Web input form. An attractive illustrated brochure has been pre

pared, and together with a postcard giving information about the agency, this has been mailed to about 200 music publishers, composers and other music related organisations and businesses.

Laurel Paton is the administrative officer in charge of the Australian International Standard Music Numbering Agency, and is assisted by the Library's music acquisitions and cataloguing team. Further information is available by contacting the agency:

Australian ISMN Agency
National Library of Australia
Canberra, ACT 2600

Tel: (02) 6262 1777
Fax: (02) 6273 4322
Web site:

The Australian Performing Right Association (APRA), the Australasian Mechanical Copyright Owners Society (AMCOS), the Australian Music Centre, a number of Australian music publishers, and the International ISMN Agency have all encouraged the National Library in taking this initiative. Valuable advice and assistance have been provided by the International ISMN Agency in Berlin and the United Kingdom's ISMN Agency.



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