Issue Numbers

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  • Required field
  • The issue number (or other label) as it appears in the indicia. If there is no indicia the cover number may be used.
  • In general, a number in (parentheses) means that it is the cover number on an issue that also lists an indicia number and the two are not the same
  • In general, a number in [brackets] means that it is not present anywhere on the issue, but is assigned by the indexer based on sequential order or traditional usage such as in popular price guides.
  • Series that number by year (mostly European series) should write the year after a slash: "4/2009" for issue #4 in publication year 2009.
  • When a book or periodical doesn't have a number listed, [nn] should be used as the issue number. While [nn] is technically an abbreviation for the English term "non-numbered", please do not translate it into your local language- just use [nn] so that we can migrate the data more easily when we move to a better issue number system (which will include localization / translation).
  • If a non-numbered book occupies a spot in an otherwise numbered series, the number in brackets may be used in place of (not in addition to) [nn]
  • When the issue does not list a number in the indicia, the cover number may be used without any brackets or parentheses
  • When a number is present in both the indicia and on the cover, but those numbers differ, the indicia number should come first, followed by the cover number in (parentheses).
  • When a number is present in the indicia but an additional or different number is commonly used (for instance because a series has two issues of that number and a distinction must be made), the indicia number should come first followed by the additional number in [brackets].
  • When the number is spelled out such as "Book One", enter the numeral equivalent ("1"). The Notes (Issue) field can be used to enter number as displayed.
  • When the number is listed as a Roman numeral such as "IX", enter the Arabic numeral equivalent ("9"). The Notes (Issue) field can be used to enter the number as displayed.
  • DO NOT use the ISBN as an issue number, as there is a separate field for ISBNs.
  • For series which restart the numbering periodically and change the volume number (many Golden Age US books, for example) use the volume number and check the "show volume with number" check box in addition to the issue number field in order to get numbers in the format "v1#1".
  • If you feel a made-up number which does not actually appear on the book would be useful it can be included in [square brackets].
  • Some issues have an indicia number that mimics our rule in the second bullet point above, as "69 (9)". To avoid confusion that the number in parentheses only appears on the cover, the best way to record this is to separate the numbers with a slash, as "69 / 9", giving both numbers equal weight as indicia numbering.
  • For the Pearson "picture library" titles and similar series without issue numbering, see Issue Title.

(end of definition)


  • Examples:
    • Normal single issue number one:
      • Issue number field: 1
      • No volume field: checked
    • No number and only one issue:
      • Issue number field: [nn]
      • No volume field: checked
    • No number but is the second issue of a series:
      • Issue number field: [2]
      • No volume field: checked
    • Normal single issue #14 with a volume #2 that is usually not mentioned:
      • Issue number field: 14
      • Volume number: 2
      • Show volume with number: not checked
    • Book in a series that is identified as having volume or book numbers and no "issue" number (Volume 2 in this case):
      • Issue number field: 2
      • Volume number field: 2
      • Show volume with number: not checked
    • Book number is spelled out such as "Book Two"
      • Issue number field: 2
      • No volume field: checked
      • Notes (Optional): Issue Number displayed as "Book Two"
    • Issue number is a Roman numeral such as "XIV"
      • Issue number field: 14
      • No volume field: checked
      • Notes (Optional): Issue Number displayed as "XIV"
    • Volume 5 issue 6:
      • Issue number field: 6
      • Volume number field: 5
      • Show volume with number: checked
    • Volume 5 issue 6 in the indicia with cover number 30:
      • Issue number field: 6 (30)
      • Volume number field: 5
      • Show volume with number: checked
    • Volume 5 issue 6 in the indicia, no cover number but other issues in the series use whole cover numbers and the issue is commonly referred to by its whole number:
      • Issue number field: 6 [30]
      • Volume number field: 5
      • Show volume with number: checked
    • Issue 4 in publication year 1995:
      • Issue number field: 4/1995
      • No volume field: checked
    • Issue 4 in publication year 1995 in volume #2:
      • Issue number field: 4/1995
      • Volume number field: 2
      • Show volume with number: not checked
    • Dual numbering in the indicia:
      • Issue number field: 69 / 9

Per a Policy Vote of December 19, 2012, it was decided to create a new field for the catalog numbering on mass market paperback books. This field has not yet been implemented in the database. When it is, numbering for such books shall no longer use the Issue Number field as described above, but instead shall be entered in the new (as yet unnamed) field. The new field shall use the following definition:

  • The catalog number (or other label) as it appears in the indicia. If there is no indicia, the cover number may be used without any brackets or parentheses.
  • In general, a number in [brackets] means that it is not present anywhere on the issue, but is assigned by the indexer based on sequential order or traditional usage such as in popular price guides.
  • When a number is present in both the indicia and on the cover, but those numbers differ, the indicia number should be entered in this field, and the cover number should be entered in the Issue Number field.
  • DO NOT use the ISBN as a paperback number, as there is a separate field for ISBNs.
  • When the number is a standard numbering of a type commonly used on comic books, use the Issue Number field, NOT the new field intended for mass market paperback numbers.

(end of definition)


  • Examples listed are styles of numbers commonly used:
    • Book number consisting of all numerals, usually 3 or more numerals in length: 12459
    • Book number consisting of all numerals, grouped by a hyphen: 75-858
    • Book number consisting of letters followed by numerals: S1786
    • Book number consisting of letters and a hyphen, followed by numerals: HH-132
    • Book number consisting of letters and a space, followed by numerals: LL 17
    • Book number consisting of numerals followed by letters: 340K
    • Book number consisting of numerals and a hyphen, followed by letters: 81446-X
    • Book number consisting of numerals and a space, followed by letters: 1234 A
    • Book number consisting of numerals, spaces, and hyphens in various combinations: A-253-S-K
    • Book number is different on cover and indicia: record indicia number in this field and cover number in the Issue Number field:
      • this field: 75-858
      • Issue Number field: 8
  • The following types of numbers should continue to be recorded in the Issue Number field, according to the definition for that field:
    • Book has no number and only one issue: [nn]
    • Book has no number but is the second issue of a series: [2]
    • Book number consisting of all numerals, usually less than 3 numerals in length: 44
    • Book number consisting of spelled out number such as "Book Two": 2
    • Book number consisting of a Roman numeral such as "XIV": 14

See Cat-Man Comics for an example of more than half of these rules in a single series.

See the Display Volume with Issue Number examples for many more examples of the volume fields in combination with various issue number situations.

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