ISMN for sheet music

The ISMN (International Standard Music Number) is an international identifier – a numerical code used in the music and book market, libraries, and in the global scholarly community to uniquely identify a particular edition of a printed musical work.

In the case of a musical work published in different types of cover and/or electronic formats (pdf, ePub, etc.), in separately available editions and/or voices, each of these versions is identified by a unique ISMN. Each subsequent edition is also identified by a unique ISMN.

Example of an ISMN identifier entry in a music book:

ISMN 979-0-9004025-0-9

The International ISMN Agency in Berlin, Germany, is the apex global authority for the ISMN system and makes available on its website the Music Publishers’ International ISMN Database, which also contains information on music publishers in the Czech Republic.

The Czech top authority of the ISBN system is the National Library of the Czech Republic – Czech National Agency for ISBN and ISMN . It is the only one authorised to assign ISMNs to publishers and editors based in the Czech Republic and supplies its services free of charge.

The ISMN does not provide any form of legal or copyright protection.

The presence or absence of the ISMN identifier in sheet music does not affect the obligation to hand in so-called legal deposit copies to libraries (see

Books on music are assigned an ISBN (see ISBN for books).

No ISMN is assigned to audio or video recordings.

Use of the ISMN identifier in the global barcode system

Thanks to an agreement between GS1 (formerly EAN International and the Uniform Code Council) and the International ISBN Agency and the International ISMN Agency, the ISMN can be encoded into the EAN-13 barcode, making the ISMN international identifier compatible with the global barcode scheme.

Example of ISMN printing in EAN-13 barcode symbology:

Barcodes for music published on physical media can be requested by emailing the Czech National Agency for ISBN and ISMN (

Consultations on barcode issues are provided by GS1 Czech Republic, which is the only licensed GS1 registration office in the Czech Republic.

More information about barcodes for music published on physical media in English can be found on the GS1 website.

Related regulations and manuals

Updated: April 12, 2024

Source: National Library of the Czech Republic