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FAQ with the ISBN team

What is double allocation of ISBNs and how can I avoid it?

‘Double allocation’ is when an ISBN that is already assigned to a title is used again for a new title in error.

It is not advisable to assume that all your previously allocated ISBNs will have title information visible against them in your MyIdentifiers account.

There are various reasons why an ISBN may have been allocated to a published title but the title is not appearing in your MyIdentifiers account against that ISBN.

  • You may have urgently needed the ISBN for marketing etc and did not have time to add the title details
  • You may not have known the final title when you assigned the ISBN
  • Previous staff at your company or organisation may have assigned an ISBN but not put the title details
  • You may have sent Thorpe-Bowker the title details but for some reason the details were never added
  • You may have allowed other people involved in the publishing process to have access to your account, such as a printer or designer, who may not be aware of the correct procedures.

When allocating a new ISBN from your MyIdentifiers account, we would recommend you check your own records and also check the ISBN at

If that ISBN has been assigned to a title and a legal deposit copy has been submitted to the National Library it will appear on the NLA catalogue.

Ultimately, it is your responsibility to ensure you select an ISBN that is available and not already allocated to another of your publications.


Category: From the ISBN team Newsletter