| What Is an ISMN? | Who Needs an ISMN? | How to Get an ISMN | Sitemap | FAQs | Contact | Print
ISMN Newsletter No10

International ISMN Agency
ISMN Users' Manual
International ISMN Directory
Other Publications
National ISMN Agencies
ISMN Ranges
Panel Meeting


1. Status Report of the International ISMN Agency


The director gave the status report on the work of the International Agency.

The International ISMN agency was established in 1994. Presently, there were 24 national agencies: Brazil, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Slovenia, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Ukraine, United Kingdom. New member countries were: Cyprus and Spain. The latter one was a very important member because of its large production of printed music. At the previous IAML meeting contacts were established that led to an ISMN presentation at a music specialists conference in Madrid. This very interesting event was organised by AEDOM which cooperated closely with Antonio Álvarez of the Centro de Documentación de Música y Danza, the new ISMN agency. The director expressed his hopes for a good and successful future for the ISMN in Spain. Mr. Álvarez showed the audience some of the very impressive publications his centre had produced. Soon Slovakia and Hungary were expected to join the system.

Membership negotiations are ongoing with Poland. Polish publishers use ISBNs also for music publications because then they do not have to pay VAT for their products. Poland first has to amend the law on VAT before an ISMN agency will be established. There are contacts with Turkey, Australia and New Zealand. In the two latter countries the national libraries are willing to become agencies. The current situation is that the larger music publishers adopted ISBNs. Now they have to be convinced that they have to switch to ISMN. Access to a music-in-print might change the publishers' attitude. Furthermore there are talks with Nigeria. In spite of the small number of music publishers in this country it is nevertheless very important because of the overall development of African publishing. There is a large increase in collecting African publications for libraries. Up to now African music was merely of ethnological interest to specialists. But this attitude is changing now. Our task is to make the music available, even when it exists only in small numbers. In the Netherlands there is no new development regarding ISMN. The Netherlands hope very much for the positive development of DOI which may not present the overall solution for Dutch music publishers, however. The progress of DOI seems slow at the moment.

The director was glad about the decision of Bowker to establish an ISMN agency. The company seemed the ideal partner in this matter. There were many possible candidates for just assigning numbers but these were not able to build the infrastructure for the trade, like a Music in Print, teleordering and distribution systems. ISMN was the key element for directories and other applications, and therefore an experienced company in this field could easily make the system work in a profitable way. It was after all Dan Melcher, former president of Bowker, who started Books in Print which then had such an enormous impact on the book trade. This showed how much experience Bowker had with standard numbering. Another country with a large and important printed music production was Japan. Dr. Walravens especially honoured Mr. Tanaka who worked very hard in introducing the ISMN to his country. Also the Japanese IAML colleagues had been very helpful and committed. So the International Agency hoped that Japan would become a member very soon.

Since the establishment of the agency, two Music Publishers' International ISMN Directories have been published, the 2nd edition in spring 1998. It comprises ca. 11,000 music publishers or similar institutions and persons involved with the production of sheet music from 72 countries. The data was collected from the present national agencies, music publishers' associations, national libraries, music information centres, collecting societies and other institutes and organisations. The aim is to publish the 3rd edition by the end of 2000, provided that the new database will be fit for it.

Lois Clark asked for the ISBN agencies in New Zealand and Australia. The answer: In New Zealand it was run by the National Library. In Australia it was administered by a private company, Thorpe, which was part of Reed Publishing.



up  page up

page up  up
© International ISMN Agency, e-mail: