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Publishing: ISBN

Guide to information on Green and Gold open access

What is an ISBN

An ISBN (International Standard Bibliographic Number) is a number assigned to each edition of a published book that is made available, either free or gratis.  Separate ISBNs should be applied to each format of a particular book (paperback, hardback, ebook).  The ISBN is printed on the book and may also be in the form of a barcode.  It services as a unique identifier for the book.

ISBNs have been in use since the late 1960s and until 2006 they had 10 digits.  Since 2007, they have had 13 digits.

Structure of an ISBN

One of IT, Sligo's 13 digit ISBNs is structured as follows:

978-1-907592-00-3

978 = Prefix

1 = Registration Group Element - English Language Group

907592 = Registrant Element - Institute of Technology, Sligo

00 = Publication Element - The particular edition and format of a specfic title

3 = Check Digit

ISBNs at Institute of Technology, Sligo

IT, Sligo has purchased a list of ISBNs.  These are administered by the Yeats Library and are available to be used on books published by IT, Sligo staff or students.  This, in effect, means that IT, Sligo is the publisher of these books.  

Anyone within IT, Sligo who is producing a book can apply to the Yeats Library for an ISBN by emailing:  library@itsligo.ie  

They should provide the following details of the book they wish to publish:  Author, Title, Date/Year of Publication, brief description of the type of publication.

The Library will send an ISBN from the list.  The person producing the book must put the following information on it:

On the Title Page:  Institute of Technology, Sligo, [Year Published]

On the Title Page Verso (back of the Title Page):  (c) Institute of Technology, Sligo, [Year Published]

The ISBN may also be put as a barcode on the back cover of the book.

ISBN Agencies

The International ISBN Agency assigns unique group prefixes and ranges to each national ISBN registration agency and this ensures that each ISBN that is issued is unique worldwide.

National ISBN Agencies allocate lists of ISBNs to publishers.

The ISBN Agency for Ireland is Nielsen Books.  In addition to ISBNs, Nielsen provide a number of services to the book trade in Ireland and the UK, including the database Nielsen Bookdata which helps promote published titles to Booksellers and the SAN agency which assigns standard address numbers to facilitate e-commerce between businesses in the book trade.

Legal Deposit

When IT, Sligo is the publisher of a book it must adhere to the legal deposit requirements.  For every book published by the Institute, one copy must be sent to the following libraries:

  • National Library of Ireland
  • Trinity College Library
  • University College Dublin Library
  • Dublin City University Library
  • Maynooth University Library
  • University College Cork Library
  • University of Limerick Library

National University of Ireland, Galway Library

A copy must also be sent to

  • The British Library

Copies may also be claimed by:

  • Bodlean Library (Oxford)
  • Cambridge University Library
  • National Library of Scotland
  • National Library of Wales

The person producing the book can do this, or if they wish, they can send the required number of copies to the Yeats Library which will send them off on their behalf.