International ISMN Agency

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

News - Category - ISMN News



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.

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.

Myanmar is the third country in South East Asia and the 58th country worldwide 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Amazon and ISMN

created by: Carolin Unger, on: 09.06.2014 Kommentare (0)

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.

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.

SUISA joined Armonia

created by: Carolin Unger, on: 09.06.2014 Kommentare (0)

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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

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.)

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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

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.

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.

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.


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.)

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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 .

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.

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.

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

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.

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

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

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

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).

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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


created by: Carolin Unger, on: 08.02.2012 Kommentare (0)

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.

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

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

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.

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

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. 

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.

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.

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.

We are happy to announce the relaunch of the website of the International ISMN Agency The principle design has not changed much but the inner structure, the content management, and the connection between website as such and the publisher database are now easier to manage. It also provides for more safety of the data.