The Case of the Disappearing Journal:
Solving the Title Transfer and Online Display Mystery

Below are listed questions that were submitted during the webinar. Answers from the presenters will be added when available. Not all the questions could be responded to during the live webinar, so those that could not be addressed at the time are also included below.


  • E-Journal Presentation & Identification: Developing Recommended Practices
    Regina Reynolds, ISSN Coordinator, Library of Congress
  • ISSN-L: The Linking ISSN
    Françoise Pelle, Director, ISSN International Center
  • xISSN Web Service: Exposing Serials Identifiers, Relationships, and Metadata
    Karen Coombs, Product Manager, OCLC Developer Network
  • UKSG Transfer Code of Practice
    Ed Pentz, Executive Director, CrossRef

Feel free to contact us if you have any additional questions about library, publishing, and technical services standards, standards development, or if you have have suggestions for new standards, recommended practices, or areas where NISO should be engaged.

NISO Webinar Questions and Answers

  1. Are there any link resolver or ERM system vendors in the PIE-J working group? If not, why not?

    Regina Reynolds: Both Serials Solutions (360 Link) and EBSCO (LinkSource) have OpenURL link resolvers.

  2. Serials Solutions is on the PIE-J roster list. Are they representing OpenURL linkers?

    Regina Reynolds: Please see the above answer. We are expecting that PIE-J working group members will represent the activities of their organizations. If they are not familiar with how a proposal will affect a certain aspect of their organization’s activity, we will encourage them to seek input from others in their organization.

  3. I'm curious about the take-up of ISSN-L? Do we have any sense of how widely used they are?

    Françoise Pellé: I can give two recent examples – OCLC has recently finished loading the ISSN-L into Worldat, the ISSN-L was retained as the identification pivot tool in the framework of the PEPRS project, as mentioned my presentation. We also know that some of the most important OpenURL implementers use the ISSN-L for building their knowledge bases.

    Actually, the ISSN-ISSN-L correspondence tables (available free of charge on the ISSN Web site, see has been downloaded more than 1,500 times since it became available (March 2009).

    In addition to that, I would like to quote some uses mentioned by people who downloaded the correspondence tables:

    • "matching with issn in our impact factors list"
    • "to use as a lookup table to link products together"
    • "to facilitate electronic resource management"
    • "internal link resolving for document delivery"
    • "to accurately represent print + online resources"
    • "for automated routing of article requests & identification of journals in the backend of our online products"
    • "for data consolidation and cleaning"

    We will probably find, in the future, that the ISSN-L is used for many different uses in many different contexts.

  4. Does ISSN-L address the previous issue of name/ISSN changes over a publication's life or does each name/ISSN change trigger a new ISSN-L?

    Françoise Pellé: The ISSN-L does not represent what the whole "family," or history, of a publication. The ISSN-L represents the various media versions of a given title – in most cases, the print and electronic versions. To have a full representation of the life of a publication, all the links existing in the record should be used – in particular the links to/from the previous and successor titles, but there are many other links which could be used, depending of what you consider to be the "family" of the title.

    To answer the second question: if all media versions undertake a change of title at the same time, then a new ISSN-L will be designated among the new ISSN that will be assigned to the new titles. If only one of the media versions undertakes a change of title, then the ISSN-L will not change.

  5. Does the working group foresee any problems in reusing a version-specific ISSN as the ISSN-L, as opposed to creating a new ISSN-L to represent all versions and maintaining unique ISSNs for different versions?

  6. Who were the users in the ISSN user study?

    Françoise Pellé: the study was conducted by one of the members of the ISO Working Group, with the purpose of reviewing the needs of all the groups of ISSN users we were aware of: publishers, subscription agents, OpenURL implementers, libraries, database producers, bar-coding agencies, press distributors, other identifications standards in relation with ISSN, and of course ISSN centres. It is interesting to note that, although the ISSN users are very various, it appeared relatively quickly that the main needs expressed belonged to two big families: uses focusing on the product, and uses focusing on the content. It is also interesting to note that those two main needs depend more on the context of use than on the family of user - for instance librarians having to manage subscriptions wished to have separate ISSN for the various versions of a title, and librarians having to provide access to an article wished to have a unique ISSN for the various versions of that title.

  7. So, the ISSN-L will not be used for title changes? Just changes in the media?

    Françoise Pellé: Right, the ISSN-L does not represent the whole set of related titles, it represents the various media versions of a title.

  8. Does the ISSN-L always represent the print first?

    Françoise Pellé: The ISSN designated to act as the ISSN-L is not always the one assigned to the print version, it is the ISSN which was entered first in the ISSN Register. Thus it may be the ISSN of the electronic resource: there is no way to predict which ISSN will be designated as ISSN-L. Please also note that, strictly speaking, the ISSN-Ldoes not represe”nt one of the versions, it represents all media versions together: the print, the electronic, and all the other media versions of a resource.

  9. Will xISSN be able to provide a history of publisher changes with dates?

    Karen Coombs: xISSN doesn't reflect the publisher changes unless they co-inside with a change in title. However I can take this back as a potential service enhancement.

  10. What steps is OCLC taking to improve the accuracy of ISSN data in WorldCat? xISSN title histories are wonderful but often return inaccurate ISSN data for complex relationships because the ISSN data in the WorldCat records is incorrect.

    Karen Coombs: For several years now, OCLC staff have been working on the maintenance (and improvement) of both the xISSN and xISBN databases. The staff get files of records that need some investigation and work with OCLC’s access to the International ISSN Register and with our colleagues at the US ISSN Center at LC to straighten out problems. This includes possible errors in the 76X-78X linking fields in serial records in WorldCat which create the Title History information in xISSN.

    As part of our implementation of the Linking ISSN, we've also matched up the Linking ISSNs as assigned by the International Centre with OCLC numbers of the appropriate records so that, we can add the subfields containing the ISSN-Ls to existing WorldCat records (including CONSER serials records that are subsequently redistributed by the Library of Congress Cataloging Distribution Service).

    If there are specific records with problems, they can be reported to and, after investigation, we will fix them.

  11. Will xISSN metadata be included in the OCLC Webscale Management System interface?

    Karen Coombs: Currently, OCLC Webscale Management System interface doesn’t directly include xISSN data per se. We’d be interested in hearing how the community thinks that xISSN metadata could be incorporated into the various components of the Webscale Management System interface.

  12. In the e-world, publishers make server changes that then change domain names/URLs and result in disruption of access. Does Transfer COP cover this?

  13. Is the TRANSFER blog data of publisher changes available in a spreadsheet?

    Ed Pentz: No, but we are looking into a way to get the data into a spreadsheet in a cheap and automated way.

  14. If, as a publisher, I know that information in ISSN and/or WorldCat records is wrong, how do I go about getting it corrected?

    Françoise Pellé: As far as ISSN is concerned, please send a message to your ISSN national centre, or to the ISSN International Centre at, with all possible details enabling to correct the record. Many thanks for doing that, we always try to improve the quality of the database.

    Please note that it does not mean that the information will be corrected in Worldcat, as OCLC does not subscribe to the ISSN Register – for that reason the ISSN data in Worldcat is not always accurate.