A new International Standard will make it easier for libraries to collaborate, communicate and share resources with other libraries anywhere in the world.

"Until now there have been several systems for identification of libraries which work well inside a country, but are not able to meet loan requests sent across borders, said Leif Andresen, responsible for the ISIL Registration Authority. "The International Standard Identifier for Libraries and Related Organizations (ISIL) will tie together the libraries all over the world in one system."

The new standard specifies a means of uniquely identifying a library or a related organization throughout its life and, in so doing, will make it easier for them to gain direct access to records, documents and services supplied by other organizations anywhere in the world.

"A library assigned an ISIL, for example, will not need to be assigned a special code for each of the organizations it wishes to make use of," further notes Leif Andresen. "An ISIL will effectively facilitate library collaboration and, at the same time, save them both time and money for the assignment and administration of identifiers for different libraries in different countries."

In accordance with ISO 15511, the ISIL Registration Authority (ISIL/RA), which is headed by the Danish National Library Authority, has the responsibility for the overall ISIL system maintenance and administration. ISIL/RA will appoint and oversee the work of the ISIL National Assignment Agencies which will be authorized to assign the ISIL to libraries in their country.

More information on ISO 15511, Information and documentation - International Standard for Libraries and Related Organizations (ISIL), can be found on the Web site of the Danish National Library, www.bs.dk/isil

ISO 15511:2003 costs 47 Swiss francs and is available from ISO national member institutes (see the complete list with contact details) and from ISO Central Secretariat. The new standard is the work of ISO technical committee ISO/TC 46, Information and documentation, subcommittee SC 4, Technical interoperability.