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The Canadian ISBN Service System (CISS)

Canadian ISBN Publishers' Directory


Table of Contents

Search Fields

To search the Canadian ISBN Publishers' Directory, choose one of the five search fields from the menu: Publisher Keyword, Publisher Name, City, Province or ISBN.


Choose PUBLISHER KEYWORD when you do not know exactly how a publisher's name is recorded in the Canadian ISBN Publishers' Directory, and enter your search term.

This type of search is especially useful for government publishers. Most government publishers included in the Canadian ISBN Publishers' Directory are entered directly under their own name, such as "Saskatchewan Research Council." However, some subordinate government agencies are entered under the name of their jurisdiction. In these cases the jurisdiction appears first, followed by a parenthetical qualifier such as "Government of," and then the name of the subordinate agency.

Alberta (Government of). Public Affairs Bureau
Calgary (City of). Heritage Advisory Board

Some subordinate agencies are entered directly under their own name, however, if that name already includes the jurisdiction.

City of Vancouver Archives

2. Searching by PUBLISHER NAME

Choose PUBLISHER NAME if you are certain of the publisher's name, or part of the name, and enter your search term.

The system searches all publisher names in the Canadian ISBN Publishers' Directory database, and retrieves all terms that match the search request in order from left to right. For example, a search request using the phrase "pulp and paper" will retrieve the record for the "Pulp and Paper Research Institute of Canada." However, a search using the phrase "paper and pulp" would not, because the words do not appear in that order in the Institute's name. Similarly, a search on the words "pulp paper" will not retrieve that record because these two search terms are separated by the word "and" in this publisher's name.

3. Searching by CITY

Choose CITY when you are certain of the publisher's city, and enter your search term.

The system searches all cities in the Canadian ISBN Publishers' Directory database, and retrieves all publishers located in the city that matches the search request.

4. Searching by PROVINCE

To search by PROVINCE, select from the drop-down list of provinces.

The system searches all publishers located in the selected province.

5. Searching by ISBN PREFIX(ES)

Choose ISBN when you know the ISBN for a Canadian publication and want to find the publisher's name and address. You may enter the ISBN with or without hyphens or spaces.

The system extracts the publisher prefix element from the full ISBN and searches the database for the publisher associated with that ISBN publisher prefix.

For example, a search request using an ISBN such as "0969016115" or "0-9690161-15" or "0 9690161 15" will retrieve the name and address of the "Medical Council of Canada," which has the ISBN publisher prefix "0-9690161."

All ISBNs assigned by the Canadian ISBN Agency begin with the digit "0" or "1." Please note, however, that not all ISBNs beginning with "0" or "1" are Canadian; these prefixes are also used by ISBN agencies in the United States and the United Kingdom. If your search does not yield any results, either the ISBN is for a foreign edition of a publication, or it could be a very recent assignment that has not yet been incorporated into the Canadian ISBN Publishers' Directory database.

Search Terms

Initial Articles

Do not include initial articles in your search request. For example, a search request for "The Alpine Club of Canada" should be entered as "Alpine Club of Canada."


You may use either upper or lower case letters in any combination.


In most cases you may ignore punctuation.

If the search term includes punctuation and your first search produces no results, try substituting a space for the punctuation marks in your search term.


The system does not distinguish between accented and unaccented letters in the search terms. For example, searching on the term "Collège" will retrieve all records with either "College" or "Collège" in the publishers' names.

Search Results

The search results are displayed in a table, the length of which depends on the number of search results and the number of records you selected to be displayed per page. Unless you specify otherwise, the system displays a maximum of 10 publisher records per page in the search results. You may increase or decrease this limit by selecting from the drop-down list.

Links within the Publisher Record

Links to the Publisher's Website

The publisher record may also include a URL (Internet address), which you can select to go directly to the publisher's website (for example, "website:"). Please note that if the publisher's URL changes and Library and Archives Canada is not notified, the link may be outdated.

To return to the Canadian ISBN Publishers' Directory, use your Web browser's "Back" button.

Links from ISBN to Library and Archives Canada's Online Catalogue

You can click on an ISBN prefix in a publisher record to go to the "Browse ISBN" file in AMICUS (Library and Archives Canada's online catalogue). A sequential list of ISBNs closest to the one selected is displayed.

If Library and Archives Canada has catalogue records for any publications of that publisher, those ISBNs are included in the list. The ISBNs associated with the publisher prefix you selected will be listed starting from the second item in the AMICUS list.

Clicking on an ISBN in AMICUS will display Library and Archives Canada's catalogue record for the specific publication to which that ISBN was assigned.

To return from these links back to the Canadian ISBN Publishers' Directory, simply use your Web browser's "Back" button.

Quebec ISBN Data

ISBN assignments for many French-language publishers can be found in the Répertoire des numéros ISBN des éditeurs francophones canadiens, located on the Web at
(French only).

For more information, please contact:

Bibliothèque nationale du Québec
2275 Holt Street
Montréal, QC  H2G 3H1
Telephone (in Montréal): 514-873-1101, ext. 3785
or 1-800-363-9028, ext. 3785 (Toll free in Quebec)
Fax: 514-873-4310

Further Information

For more information about ISBNs, please contact:

Canadian ISBN Agency
Library and Archives Canada
395 Wellington Street
Ottawa, ON  K1A 0N4
Telephone: 819-994-6872
or 1-866-578-7777 (Select 1+7+3) (Toll free in Canada)
Fax: 819-934-6777