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Core problem:

Re-use of the ISSN (for example, when a journal changes title) or ISBNs (for example, among multiple titles from the same publisher) causes confusion on the part of the link resolver, as the unique identifier is no longer unique.

User impact:

The OpenURL syntax uses the unique ISSN as a key component. When a citation (i.e., source) uses an accurate ISSN, but a full-text resource (i.e., target) uses an inaccurate ISSN—such as one for a previous or subsequent title—the link resolver may be unable to resolve the difference, and fail to return accurate links to the content being sought.


The accurate use of the ISSN is critical in ensuring successful resolution of OpenURL-based links. The content provider should ensure that the ISSN being supplied in the input file for the knowledge base is accurate in relation to the work described. To avoid inappropriate reuse of ISSN when assigning ISSN to new and changing works, publishers are encouraged to refer to local ISSN agency guidelines (e.g., British Library or Library of Congress) or to the international ISSN agency.

KBART also expects that knowledge base developers be capable of successfully managing multiple ISSN for a given title. Most titles that are available both in print and online have more than one valid ISSN assigned to them. This is a common occurrence, and a link resolver knowledge base must be able to manage this successfully.