International Standard Identifier for Libraries and Related Organizations

A library code is a unique identifier for libraries and related institutions (eg, archives and museums ). Sigel be awarded in many countries from central locations and especially in union catalogs used in interlibrary loan and for data exchange. The international system for library code forms since 2003, the International Standard Identifier for Libraries and Related Organizations ( ISIL ) according to ISO 15511th


ISIL and library code are increasingly being used as the primary identifiers for libraries and related institutions. It is the long term objective to waive Sigel and instead use only ISIL. ISIL serve among other things as MARC organization code for identifying facilities that are directly or indirectly involved as suppliers of MARC data. The German ISIL agency is at the same time awarding body for these codes in Germany. Besides the obvious award in an international context ISIL are also better suited for use as indicator in Internet applications and other software systems. For example, using the ekz Reutlingen ISIL as indicator for the data encoding on the RFID chip. To use ISIL as an identifier as part of the Semantic Web, the namespace info has been requested isil so that each ISIL can be formulated as a Uniform Resource Identifier ( URI) at the same time.


Originally library code were awarded as part of the work to the Prussian general catalog ( " Althoff system " ) in the early 20th century. The system was managed under the aegis of the "Information Office of the German Libraries" to the then Royal Library, later Prussian State Library and developed for interlibrary loan and overall magazine directories.

In 2003 was adopted as the international standard ISO 15511, the ISIL system. ISIL is ( " International standard identifier for libraries and related institutions " ) for " International Standard Identifier for Libraries and Related Organizations". The ISIL as an internationally unique identifier to facilitate cross-border library services and data exchange. All existing library code are mapped to new ISIL.


In Germany, the German ISIL Agency and Sigel place awards at the Berlin State Library, library code and ISIL for facilities in Germany. In addition to the ISIL and Sigel online directory they are every two years out a printed list of shorthands. Sigel award for Switzerland takes over the national ISIL Centre of the Swiss National library. In Austria, the conversion of standards A 2657 and A 2656 are awarded according to which library code ( " ÖZDB - Sigel " ) and machine -readable identifier (" BIK " ), performed on ISIL by the Austrian Library Network. Sigel points or ISIL agencies of individual countries are registered with the ISIL Registration Authority, which has its headquarters at the Danish Agency for Libraries and Media in Copenhagen. In addition to the national ISIL agencies there are three agencies that can regardless of national origin ISIL awarded: OCLC WorldCat Registry operates with an international library directory and binds its identifiers with the prefix OCLC into the ISIL system. The journal database assigns ISIL with the prefix ZDB virtual collections of electronic publications (including " product hedgehog "), and, among others, in the context of national licenses and for the ZDB participating foreign libraries that previously no national ISIL is forgiven. The Library of Congress can forgive ISIL for libraries outside the United States with the prefix M also.



An ISIL is in accordance with ISO 15511 consists of three parts:

The total length of ISIL is limited to 16 characters. ISIL agencies can restrict the possible signs more or specify a sub- structure so that existing Sigel systems can be partially taken over for their namespace. If the sub-structure reflects a geographical breakdown, the standard recommends to access codes from ISO 3166-2. The use of uppercase and lowercase letters in the library feature is optional for the ISIL agencies; However, the assigned IDs must be unique even without this distinction. On representation of a ISIL as a Uniform Resource Identifier ( URI ) of the namespace has been isil the info URI namespace ( RFC 4452 ) requested.

German library code

Starting from a numbering of the Prussian Libraries developed various forms of library sigla:

  • Number Sigel consist of numbers that have been enhanced in some cases by letters indicating the attachments of larger departmental libraries.
  • Local hedgehog consist of one leading local abbreviation of letters and a number connected with spaces. Behind it are also combinations of letters possible.
  • Sigel Institute for Libraries consist of the initials of the Main Library and separated therefrom by a slash mark the institute library (usually a number). This Sigel are no longer issued by the Sigel point, but directly by the relevant university or college library.

While these forms for the library everyday its purpose well fulfilled, the application as an identifier in databases is problematic because the structure of a library Sigel is not defined as formal as that of ISIL and special characters such as spaces, slash and umlauts are possible. To map a Sigel on a ISIL there is a heuristic; However, for security should be better looked up in the list of shorthands, since variations are possible in individual cases.

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