The Bulgarian National ISMN Agency

The Bulgarian National ISMN Agency is the registration authority for the International Standard Music Number (ISMN) for Bulgaria. Activities of the National ISMN Agency are based on contractual relations with the International ISMN Agency and are according to the Instruction for the Organization and Activities of the National ISMN Agency (available in Bulgarian only), the standard БДС ISO 10957:2015. Information and documentation – International standard music number and internationaly recognized principles.


The Bulgarian National ISMN Agency:

– Registers Bulgarian publishers of notated music publications in the ISMN system;

– Assigns ISMNs to notated music publications irrespective of their medium – print or electronic – of publishers registered in the ISMN system;

– Sends up-to-date address data of Bulgarian publishers to the International ISMN Agency in Berlin for inclusion in the Music Publishers’ International ISMN Database;

– Maintains data base on the ISMN assigned publications as well as the addresses of publishers participating in the ISMN system.


About the ISMN


The International Standard Music Number (ISMN) is a unique number for the identification of all notated music publications from all over the world – in print or electronic format, whether available for sale, hire or gratis; whether a part, a score, or an element in a multi-media kit.

Each constituent part of a publication which is separately available – saleable or obtainable – must receive its own ISMN. Items to be numbered include: scores; miniature (study) scores; vocal scores; sets of parts; individual parts, available separately; pop folios; anthologies; other media that are an integral component of a publication of notated music (e.g., a tape recording that is one of the “parts” of a composition); song texts or lyrics published with the notated music; commentaries published with the notated music (also available separately); song books; micro-form music publications; braille music publications; electronic publications of musical notations.

The ISMN is not targeted at stand-alone sound or video recordings or at books on music except when they contain examples of notated music (at least 30% of content has to be notated music to qualify for an ISMN) or at periodicals and series as a whole.



A separate ISMN must be assigned to every different edition of an item. Specifically, a new ISMN is required when there is a change in the musical or literary content of a work, unless these are minor corrections; a literary text that is an integral part of a published musical work is altered; a translation of a literary text is added, removed or altered (even if text and/or music are otherwise unchanged); the physical size of an item is substantially changed in order to produce a new full study or miniature score edition; the binding (hardback, paperback) or format (print, electronic and also different electronic formats like pdf, epub etc.) is changed.

An unchanged impression or unchanged reprint of the same item in the same format and by the same registrant must not be assigned a new ISMN. Similarly, a reproduction supplied on demand from the same origination should not be assigned a new ISMN, even if a new reproduction date is indicated on the reproduction. Price changes do not require the assignment of new ISMNs. Marginal differences between the binding of one impression and a subsequent impression like a change of cover color or design etc. do not constitute a change of binding and no new ISMN is assigned.

Once assigned to a notated music publication, an ISMN can never be reused to identify another notated music publication, even if the original ISMN is found to have been assigned in error.

The assignment of an ISMN to a publication of notated music, shall not imply any meaning or value as legal evidence with regard to the ownership of rights to that publication.



The ISMN is designed to rationalize the processing and handling of notated music and the respective bibliographical data for publishing houses, the music trade and libraries. It is an efficient organizational and simplification tool wherever notated music publications are produced, distributed, sold and lent. The ISMN gives added value to the entire music industry chain.



ISMN is a meaningful code and identifies particular publisher as well as specific title, edition and format. It consists of the prefix “979-0” followed by nine digits. Whenever it is printed or written, the number is preceded by the letters “ISMN” and its elements are separated by hyphens. ISMN consists of the following four elements:

– Prefix element – GS1 prefix for ISMN “979-0”;

– Registrant element – identifies a particular publisher/registrant;

– Item element – identifies an edition of notated music which can represent a full score, a miniature score, a set of wind parts, an oboe part, etc.;

– Check digit.

Example: ISMN 979-0-3217-6543-6


Location and display

 The ISMN must appear on the item itself.

– In the case of printed publications: the ISMN must appear on the verso of the title page (copyright page); on the lower section of the outside back cover; on the back of a score or part; if the item is a single sheet, the ISMN should appear in only one place on the item e.g., at the bottom of the page;

– In the case of electronic publications: the ISMN must appear on the title display, the first display (compact discs, online publications), or on the screen that displays the title or its equivalent (e.g., the initial screen displayed when the content is first accessed and/or on the screen that carries the copyright notice); on the jacket of compact disc, or any other protective case, or wrapper.


Terms of inclusion in the ISMN system

Any individual (natural person) or legal entity may be registered in the ISMN system provided that it has publishing activity registered in Bulgaria according to Bulgarian legislation and is operating local office. Individuals or organizations that publish only one occasional title and do not plan other publications are not registered in the ISMN system with individual code but are assigned with one ISMN from shared code.

Registration is made with the assignment of publisher identifier (registrant element, code) in the ISMN system which uniquely identifies publisher and allows utilization of certain number of individual ISMNs. The size of the code is determined according to anticipated annual publishing output declared by the publisher. When all ISMNs under the code are exhausted publisher is assigned with new code.


Registration of publishers and the assignment of individual ISMNs is free of charge!

For the registration the following documents are needed:

  1. Registration form for the assignment of publisher identifier (code) in the ISMN system signed by the publisher;
  2. Copy of document that identifies the name of the publisher – copy from the Commercial Register or a certificate for current status from the court;

For the assignment of individual ISMNs the following documents are needed:

  1. Registration form for the assignment of ISMN for publication – it is filled and submitted for each ISMN assignment request; when submitted on site is in two copies signed by the publisher;
  2. The title page of the publication where the publisher’s name, place of publication and year of publication are indicated.

Note: Registration of publishers in the ISMN system and the allocation of publisher identifier (code) are made together with the first publication ISMN request. Registration itself takes no more that 1 or 3 working days at the latest provided that all accompanying documents have been filed correctly and all necessary information for the registration has been provided by the publisher. The applicant is solely responsible for the accuracy and validity of the information filled in the registration form and applications for ISMN assignment! The National ISMN Agency reserves the right not to process incomplete requests or requests contradicting the principles of the system. The National ISMN Agency reserves the right to refuse the registration of publishers who intentionally provided misleading or incorrect information.

 ISMN requests must be made no more than 6 months before the edition is published!

Forms can be submitted via e-mail (, by post or on site in the National ISMN Agency at the St. Cyril and St. Methodius National Library (Room 72).

Note: Registered publishers are obliged to inform the National ISMN Agency of changes in their contact details initially submitted as well as to provide up-to-date information at the request of the Agency’s staff; to fill in the ISMN requests correctly and notify the Agency if any change in the data occurs as well as to provide data on all anticipated editions.

Note also that pursuant to the Bulgarian legal deposit legislation publisher must submit certain number of copies of the circulation of each publication to the “Legal Deposit Department” of the St. Cyril and St. Methodius National Library. For more details refer to Legal deposit section.


Personal data

Allocations of publishers’ identifiers and ISMNs to publishers require the collection and maintenance by the National ISMN Agency of a specific set of information about participating publishers (persons or organizations). This information is provided through the registration form 1 Registration form for the assignment of publisher identifier in the ISMN system and consists of names and contact details. The information is stored in the publishers’ private files maintained by the Agency and is subsequently transferred to the International ISMN Agency in Berlin for inclusion in their publicly-available Music Publishers’ International ISMN Database at: The purpose of publishing contact information is to help identify publishers, improve their visibility into the information space, and provide an opportunity for communication between publishers and users of their products. As the information may contain personal data subject to the provision of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), such as individual contact’s name, e-mail address mentioning individual’s name, telephone numbers, fax numbers and, for individuals, their personal postal address, each publisher has the right to object to publication of all or parts of such data by expressing their will in the relevant registration form*. In the event that the publisher objects to the publication of their personal data, it will not be included in the said data base, but will continue to be kept by the National ISMN Agency for internal purposes. The publishers may change their preferences at any time by contacting the National ISMN Agency at the specified contacts.

Note: Consent applies only to those details associated with a specific individual person. Business contact details (business address and generic telephone numbers and e-mails) or those already publicly available elsewhere, should not be restricted. Whenever possible, enter business contact details in the registration form to ensure that contact data required for the proper functioning of the ISMN system is available!


Contact details of the National ISMN Agency:

 Address: Sofia 1504, 88 Vasil Levski Blvd.

St. Cyril and St. Methodius National Library

Phone: + 359 2 946 11 43, + 359 2 9183 219


Visiting hours: Every working day between 10.00-12.00 and 14.00-16.00