About the ISTC Overview and Scope of the ISTC The International Standard Text Code (ISTC) system is a global identification system for textual works. It is primarily intended for use by publishers, bibliographic services, retailers, libraries and rights management agencies.

Each ISTC is a unique “number” assigned by a centralised registration system to a textual work, when a unique set of information about that work, known as a “metadata record”, is entered into the system. If another, identical metadata record has already been registered (perhaps, in the case of an out of copyright work, by another publisher), the system will assume the new ISTC request refers to the same work and will output the ISTC of the identical (or nearly identical) metadata record already held on the system.

An ISTC does not “belong” to a single author/publisher; rather, it “belongs” to the work it identifies. This means that the same ISTC number should be used to identify the same content even when it is being published by a different publisher and/or in a different publication format.

By including the ISTC of a textual work in the list of attributes of each actual product (e.g. each book) that it is published in, it is then possible to search for, and find, only that specific textual work among many products. This is the case even though some products with different content might have very similar or even identical names, and even though some products containing the desired content have entirely different names.

The ISTC is not intended for identifying manifestations of a textual work, including any physical products (e.g. a printed article) or electronic formats (e.g. an electronic book). Manifestations of textual works are the subject of separate identification systems.

The allocation of an ISTC to a work shall have no meaning or value as legal evidence regarding the copyright status of, or any intellectual property rights in, the work.