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4.3. Publication types

Document identification and classification is governed at international level by different agreements and standards, most notably the following:

ISO 690:2021: bibliographic references
ISO 5127:2017: information and documentation, glossary
ISO 2108:2017: international standard book number (ISBN)
ISO 3297:2020: international standard serial number (ISSN)
international standard bibliographic description (ISBD), International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA)
ISO standards can be obtained from ISO members, a list of which is available from the ISO website

According to these standards and agreements, publications can be divided into two major categories: monographs and continuing resources.

4.3.1. Monographs

Pursuant to ISO 2108:2017 (ISBN), monographs are non-serial publications that may be complete in one volume or intended to be complete in a limited number of separate volumes, that may or may not be published simultaneously and that are made available to the public in any product format (hardback, paperback, audiobook on cassette, CD, DVD, Braille book, website, electronic book, etc.).

Monographs in several volumes consist of a predetermined number of physically separate parts (separate volumes), with the exception of publications in instalments. They are intended to form or are published as a complete work. The separate parts may have their own titles and statements of responsibility.

Each monograph is identified by an international standard book number (ISBN) (see Section 4.4.1).

4.3.2. Continuing resources

Pursuant to ISO 3297:2020 (ISSN), continuing resources are works made available to the public in any media format as successive or integrated issues that generally carry a numerical order or chronological indication, and that do not have a predetermined publication duration. Continuing resources include:

serial publications, which are defined as resources published in successive issues or separate parts with no predetermined conclusion, and which are generally numbered, such as newspapers, magazines, periodicals, printed or electronic journals, annual publications (reports, yearbooks, directories, etc.), memoirs and collections of monographs;
ongoing integrating resources, which are defined as continuing resources that are completed by updates integrated into the body of the work, with no predetermined conclusion (databases, loose-leaf publications that are continually updated or websites that are continually updated, such as the online version of this style guide).
A collection is a set of separate publications, each with its own title, linked together by a collective title applying to the set. This collective title is the proper title of the collection. Each separate publication may or may not be numbered. Publications that are part of a collection may be monographs or serial publications.

Each continuing resource is identified by an international standard serial number (ISSN) (see Section 4.4.2).

4.3.3. Combined serial publications and monographs

Some serial publications, such as yearbooks and monographic collections, can also be considered as monographs for certain purposes, such as marketing. It must be possible to purchase them either individually or through a subscription.

These publications must be considered first and foremost as serial publications and be assigned an ISSN. They are then assigned an ISBN as monographs.

Last updated: 5.2.2022
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