National Library of Nigeria Launches New App for Instant Processing of ISBN, ISSN

By Chimezie Ibedu

To ease the difficulties and delays experienced by authors, publishers and other key players in the book chain in obtaining the International Standard Book Number (ISBN), and International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) in Nigeria, the National Library of Nigeria (NLN) has deployed an internet application that can process these in approximately twenty minutes.

This was disclosed by the National Librarian and Chief Executive Officer, NLN, Professor Lenrie Olatokunbo Aina at a two-day sensitization workshop organized for major library stakeholders in the Southeast Zone at the Centre for Advanced Library and Information Management (CALIM), Independence Layout Enugu, which ended penultimate Friday.

The workshop was attended by a wide spectrum of participants including authors, publishers, printers, marketers and book vendors, state and community library officials, copyright regulators, librarians and students from across Enugu, Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi and Imo states.

The ISBN is a unique identity number issued to every properly published book, e-book, music or CD with which such works can be recognized and cited anywhere in the world. ISSN on the other hand is for newspapers, magazines and other periodicals.

According to Professor Aina, the innovation was borne out of the desire for the National Library to operate as a modern library leveraging on ICT which would make it unnecessary for clients to travel long distances to the nearest branch of library to submit applications or wait for weeks before such applications are processed.

With the new app which is accessible through, the official website of the library, he said, all that a registered corporate publisher or author-publisher needed to do was to upload the preliminary pages of a publication in pdf to the portal, pay the administrative fee through a bank ATM debit card and, the number would be issued in less than twenty minutes.

The National Librarian also disclosed that talks have reached advanced stage with the Government of Anambra, one of three states without one, for the establishment of a branch of the National Library in Awka.

In her presentation, Ms Amaka Ojielo, Director of International Standards, explained that the National Library of Nigeria was the only agency in Nigeria with the authority to issue ISBN and ISSN, urging Nigerians to beware of fake numbers fabricated by fraudulent printers and publishers. Another resource person, Mr Tope Rotimi harped on the need for publishers to always comply with the legal deposit of three copies of every published work not later than one month after publication, as required by law.

Highlight of the workshop was the live demonstration of the app during which some publishers who attended the event with fresh applications were guided through the process and were issued with ISBN.

Prominent persons in attendance included Hon. Chief Uchenna Anioke, president of Nigerian Publishers Association; Mrs Rachael Neboh, Head of Enugu Branch, NLN; Dr Nkechi Udeze, Chief Executive Officer, Anambra Library Board; and representatives of Nigerian Copyright Commission. Fides Media Limited, a leading publishing and printing outfit in Anambra State, was represented by Mr Chimezie Ibedu and Miss Chiagolum Omeje.