FAQs RE: ISSN project with NNA and Library of Congress U.S. ISSN Center

Sep 19, 2022

We have been getting a lot of questions regarding the National Newspaper Association's project with the Library of Congress U.S. ISSN Center to ensure all newspapers are defined as eligible newspaper participants for the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act (JCPA) now being considered before Congress. 

As reported to members, "There is a possibility that the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act (JCPA) now being considered before Congress may define eligible newspaper participants as those with an ISSN number."

The Library of Congress U.S. ISSN Center issues these numbers, and they differentiate between print ISSN numbers and online ISSN numbers. ISSN staff will issue both unless your publication already has one or more valid ISSNs. We have established a process with the Library to upload PDFs of our member newspapers in groups for those which do not already have both numbers. The Library of Congress U.S. ISSN Center staff will then review and make number assignments, or ask for additional information.

Should you wish to participate and your newspaper is an active NNA member, please follow the link here: https://nna.org/nna-and-library-of-congress-assisting-nna-members-with-issn

There is no cost for this service, but it is strictly limited to NNA members due to the scale of the project. 

If you wish to submit a nonmember newspaper or have questions as to membership to please contact NNA Executive Director Lynne Lance for a quote to add to membership.

FAQs (if your question is not answered here, please contact us)

  • The ISSN is an international standard and is issued by 93 national ISSN centers worldwide. ISSNs are issued to “continuing resources” such as newspapers but also magazines, scholarly journals, blogs, some database and websites, and other kinds of publications.
  • One basic piece of information about ISSN is that most changes of title ⁠— even some that do not seem significant ⁠— require a new ISSN. 
    • For example, if ISSN Center staff is working on a newspaper and realized the ISSN being used by the publisher and USPS belongs to the former title, new numbers will be assigned. We will notify the NNA and publisher if this happens.
  • You can use your new ISSN right away. It should be displayed in a place where information about the publication such as frequency, publisher, etc. is displayed. The Postal Service has specific information about ISSN in the publishing statement. NNA and the Library of Congress staff will communicate the new ISSN to the USPS along with the USPS number so USPS can update its records. This may not happen for a while because the Library of Congress is sending batch updates to USPS. 
    • The ISSN should be displayed on the paper and on the website. If you have a periodicals rate permit, the ISSN should be added to the USPS identification statement. We will notify the USPS of your ISSN so their files and Library of Congress files can stay in sync. If you do not have a periodicals permit, the ISSN should be displayed in your publication statement. E.g., The Wonderful Times, ISSN 1234-5678, is published weekly by The Wonderful Times Company, Wonderful USA.
  • ISSNs that end in “X”:  These are perfectly valid. The last digit of the ISSN is a check digit that is based on an algorithm that helps guard against mis-transcriptions.
    • For example, the ISSN for the print version of Time magazine is ISSN: 0040-781X.

If you haven’t not sent your pdf yet, you may:

  1. Use this form: https://nna.formstack.com/forms/nna_issn_project
  2. Send it directly to lynne@nna.org
  3. For large groups, email Lynne and she will create a folder on google drive so you may drag and drop files.

The U.S. ISSN Center webpage is located here:  https://www.loc.gov/issn (PLEASE NOTE that you DO NOT have to use the application system ISSN Uplink. If you fill out this simple form NNA has provided its members, we will assist you with the process.)