Skip to content

Voted ABSTAIN with comments on ISO/FDIS 10957, International standard music number (ISMN)


Do you approve the technical content of ISO/FDIS 10957?


This document specifies the International standard music number (ISMN), which is a means of uniquely identifying editions of notated music. It specifies the assignment of a unique ISMN on such editions to distinguish one edition of a title or one separate component of an edition from all other editions. This document also specifies the construction of an ISMN and its location of editions of notated music.


ISO 10957 (ISMN) – We have a couple of simple and fundamental concerns here,
It is frustrating that this must be a separate id system, co-existing with ISBN, though the text of the standard does offer some justification.
The standard’s basic definition of “edition” is too vague for this type of bibliographic entity; it is especially weak considering the potential complexity of parts/ items associated with a complete published manifestation. The main intent of the standard seems to be to allow publishers to apply a single ID number to each published “edition,” but the central definition is problematic in the realm of music.
(It may be the case that the publishing industry finds this definition sufficient for their purposes, in which case the standard would be fine.)

Comments provided by Timothy Dickey