How to Search with ISSN and ISBN Numbers

An ISSN is an international standard serial number and an ISBN is an international standard book number. The ISSN is used to identify periodicals and is typically eight digits long. The ISBN is used to identify published books and are between 10 and 13 numbers long. These numbers are unique to each published work. With a computer and Internet access, you can search the United States Library of Congress' catalog to find and gather information on any book or periodical.

Step 1

Go to the Library of Congress' online catalog at the following URL: .

Step 2

Click the text at the top left side of the page that reads “Basic Search.”

Step 3

Click on the 13th choice down in the “Search Type” menu which reads “Number Search (LCCN-ISBN-ISSN).” This will allow you to search by ISSN or ISBN.

Step 4

Type your ISBN or ISSN in the field next to the text “Search Text” at the top of the page. Click the “Begin Search” button in the middle of the page once you have entered your ISBN or ISSN. You have now successfully searched with an ISSN or ISBN number.


ISSN and ISBN numbers are usually found in publications wherever the publication has placed the copyright information. In periodicals, this may be within the masthead/staff listing. In books, this is often the page following the title page.