If you visit any library in the world tomorrow and ask to see the detailed record for International Standard Serial Number 0099-9660, the librarian will print you the database information for The Wall Street Journal. Ask for ISSN 0882-0325 and you get Russian newspaper Pravda. Ask for ISSN 0032-1478 and you’ll see Playboy.
Any periodical can request an ISSN from their national registrar. The United States Library of Congress acts as the registrar here, and they assigned me ISSN 2159-3167 after receiving and approving my application.
That’s right, folks. The Library of Congress agreed AriWriter is merited to join the ranks of other periodicals like Pravda and Playboy and be cataloged with an ISSN in the worldwide standardized encyclopedia of periodicals known as the OCLC.
OCLC’s WorldCat database lists me as follows:
Title: Ari writer
successful strategies and tips in social media marketing.
Author(s): Herzog, Ari
Publication: Newburyport, MA : Ari Herzog
Description: Began with: May 26, 2007
Standard No: ISSN: 2159-3167; LCCN: 2011-201599
Class Descriptors: LC: ISSN RECORD; Dewey: 302.231
Other Titles: Ari writer; Ariwriter
Material Type: Document (dct); Periodical (per); Internet resource (url)
Document Type: Internet Resource; Computer File; Serial
Date of Entry: 20110103
Accession No: OCLC: 694803003
OCLC inclusion establishes both legitimacy and indexation, opined Joe Clark in 2003 why blogs should have ISSNs.
Weblogs meet the definition of “serial” (periodical) under the so-called Anglo-American cataloguing rules. This Canadian phrasing is typical:
A “serial” is a publication, in any medium, issued in successive parts and intended to be continued indefinitely. This definition includes periodicals, newspapers, annuals (reports, yearbooks, directories, etc.), journals, memoirs, proceedings, transactions of societies, monographic series, and unnumbered series.
I read the background and arguments on his page and followed the links to the LOC’s ISSN page to complete an application.
But how many bloggers have done what I’ve done? How many librarians care? When LOC employee Matt Raymond asked in 2007 about the necessity of describing blogs as serial, dozens of people commented. Perusing their thoughts, it’s anybody’s guess to the best answer.
Maybe bloggers don’t need an ISSN or an Internet Blog Serial Number.
Or, do they?
“As far as librarians are concerned,” Joe Clark wrote, “If it doesn’t have some kind of number, it doesn’t exist.”
Makes sense to me. How about you?