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Uniquely indentify your published materials


An ISBN (International Standard Book Number) is a unique identifier that enables a publication to be distinguished and located. An ISBN isn’t mandatory, but it will ensure that your publication is listed in Books in Print and easily identifiable.

The University Library is authorised to allocate ISBNs for University of Sydney publications. There is no cost to the individual requester.

To qualify for an ISBN from the University, the publication must:

  • be produced by current staff and/or students of the University of Sydney
  • be an eligible material as outlined by the ISBN agency
  • have the University of Sydney or one of its entities as the primary publisher and
  • be available for sale or distribution outside the University of Sydney.

Which publications should receive an ISBN?
  • Formats

    • printed books and pamphlets
    • mulit-media kits containing printed material
    • educational videos/DVDs
    • electronic books and pamphlets
    • educational or instructional software

    Editions, reprints and reissues

    • An ISBN should be assigned the first time a book is published
    • A separate ISBN must be assigned to every edition of a book, but not to an unchanged reprint of the same book
    • A reissued book is considered a different edition if:
      • it has a different format, such as microform or large print
      • it has a different binding, such as paperback or hardbound
      • the type has been reset
      • the title, author or publisher has changed
      • there has been a change in size, text or illustrations.

    Multi-volume works

    When publishing a multi-volume work, one ISBN should be assigned to the whole set of works, as well as to each individual volume in the set.

    Reprints where the original had no ISBN

    A reprint should be assigned an ISBN if the work didn’t have an ISBN when it was originally published.

Which publications should NOT receive ISBNs?
    • Ephemeral printed materials, such as:
      • posters
      • diaries
      • calendars
      • calendars
      • theatre and concert programs
      • advertising matter
      • prospectuses
    • Games
    • Music sound recordings
    • Sheet music, art prints and art folders without a title page of text
    • Serial publications, such as:
      • newspapers
      • magazines
      • annual reports

    N.B. Serial publications are assigned an International Standard Serial Number (ISSN).

Requesting an ISBN for a University of Sydney Publication
  • Obtaining an ISBN when your work is ready to be published will help it to be found and purchased. If a University of Sydney entity is publishing the book, or if you are the editor of a collaborative work that is being published by the University, the Library can assist you to get an ISBN.

    To start this process, email the following bibliographic citation details to

    • Author/Contributor/Editor(s) (specify roles for more than one author)
    • Title
    • Publisher: The University of Sydney (specify department/unit where applicable)
    • Number of pages
    • Binding (eg. paperback)
    • Subject category
    • Publication date (month/year)
    • Price (if applicable)
    • Method of sale/distribution outside the University
    • Printing and size of print run
    • Medium (audio, digital, e-book, multimedia pack, print, video, other - please specify)
    • Format (eg. CDROM, DVD, PDF)
    • Series (if applicable)
    • Cover image (if available) – jpg only. Min file size 4 KB, max 5MB

Frequently Asked Questions

Placement of an ISBN
  • For books the ISBN should be printed on the reverse of the title page, along with copyright and publisher information. It also must be printed exactly as given somewhere inside the book for it to be valid, for example on the bottom of the back cover.

    The letters ‘ISBN’ should always precede the number.

    For disks and videos the ISBN should appear on the product itself, as well as on any packaging.

    See the Thorpe-Bowker website for more information.

Obtaining ISBNs for non-University of Sydney
  • The Library is only able to assign ISBNs for University of Sydney publications. For ISBNs of other material please contact:

    ISBN Australia Agency
    18 Salmon Street, Port Melbourne VIC 3207
    Ph: 03 9245 7385

  • An International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) is a unique code used to identify newspapers, journals, magazines and periodicals of all kinds. You can find more information from the ISSN International Centre

    The National Library of Australia is the only agency authorised to allocate ISSNs for journals, newsletters, annual reports etc. in Australia. The University Library can’t allocate ISSNs.

    If you require an ISSN please contact:
    ISSN Australia Agency (National Library of Australia)
    Canberra ACT 2600
    Ph: 02 6262 1213

Cataloguing in Publication
  • The National Library provides a free Prepublication Data Service (previously known as CIP - Cataloguing-In-Publication). A brief prepublication catalogue record will be created and available in Trove. This service is available for authors who wish the details of their upcoming publications made available to Australian libraries, library suppliers and the book industry for acquisition purposes. Once your publication has been published the catalogue record will be updated to full cataloguing standards.

Legal deposit
  • Legal deposit is a statutory provision which legally obliges publishers – commercial publishers, private individuals, clubs, churches, associations, societies and organisations – to deposit gratis copies of their publications in the National Library of Australia. For material published in NSW, publishers are also required to deposit copies to the State Library of NSW, University of Sydney Library and NSW Parliamentary Library under the New South Wales Copyright Act, 1879-1952, ss.5-7.

    Legal deposit ensures that material published in Australia is preserved for current and future generations. It enables libraries to provide access to a complete collection of locally-published material.

    Once your item is published, you will need to send a copy to the following libraries.

    National Library of Australia

    Legal Deposit
    State Library of New South Wales
    Macquarie Street
    Sydney NSW 2000
    T: (02) 9273 1489

    Legal Deposit Officer
    NSW Parliamentary Library
    Parliament House
    Macquarie Street
    Sydney NSW 2000
    T: (02) 9230 2384
    F: (02) 9230 2640

    Legal Deposit
    Level 1, Fisher Library, F03
    University of Sydney, NSW, 2006.

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