Is it possible to show the ISBN/ISSN fields of books with BibTeX? For instance, I have the following entry on my .bib file:

    author    = "Leonard Kleinrock",
    title     = "Queueing Systems. Volume 1: Theory",
    publisher = "Wiley-Interscience",
    year      = "1975",
    ISBN      = "0471491101"

With "plain" style, it's printed like this:

[11] Leonard Kleinrock. Queueing Systems. Volume 1: Theory. Wiley-Interscience, 1975.

I've tried several different styles with no success, and I can't seem to find any answer on this site or through Google...

  • 2
    Output from BibTeX depends on the style you use. Perhaps the easiest solution here is to switch to biblatex. – Joseph Wright Apr 15 '12 at 17:23
  • 1
    You note that "I've tried several different styles with no success". Did you try using plainnat.bst, unsrtnat.bst, and/or IEEEtran.bst? All three of these styles, among quite a few others, should have no problems typesetting the ISBN/ISSN fields of an entry. – Mico Apr 15 '12 at 18:55
  • I tried all the styles that came with the default installation of MikTeX. I also tried to install some additional styles, but I couldn't really figure out how to. Either way, biblatex seems to provide what I was looking for... – DPR Apr 15 '12 at 19:50

This is very easy with biblatex (at least as long one takes care of closing commas in .bib files):




    author    = "Leonard Kleinrock",
    maintitle     = "Queueing Systems",
    volume     = "1",     
    title     = "Theory",
    publisher = "Wiley-Interscience",
    year      = "1975",
    ISBN      = "0471491101",






enter image description here

For more information about "first steps" with biblatex see What to do to switch to biblatex?


You write

Is it possible to show the ISBN/ISSN fields of books with BibTeX? ... I've tried several different styles with no success...

The answer is "Yes." However, in order to achieve your goal you need to use a bibliography style file that's of more recent vintage than plain.bst. The plain style file, which is more than twenty years old by now, is not set to recognize fields such as url, isbn, issn, and doi. Fortunately, a lot of the newer style files -- such as plainnat, unsrtnat, and IEEEtran -- do know how to process these fields.

For instance, with the plainnat style file and the natbib package loaded, the reference in question would be printed as follows:

enter image description here

  • not working for me – PeterB May 6 '17 at 18:47
  • @mindstorm - "not working for me" is rather nonspecific. Please state what it is that's not working. Which bibliography style do you use? Do you get error and/or warning messages? Please don't expect me to simply "know" the answers to these questions; in fact, I'm probably the world's worst mind reader... – Mico May 6 '17 at 18:53
  • Sorry for that. I dont get any error. I've tried to use plainnat, unsrtnat, and IEEEtran in \bibliographystyle{}, not any of them show ISBN={12345} which is defined inside my .bib file. I use \usepackage[numbers]{natbib} and \usepackage[english]{babel}. – PeterB May 6 '17 at 18:59
  • @mindstorm - After saving the bib file (with at least one entry that contains a field named isbn, right?) and changing the argument of \bibliographystyle (to plainnat, say), did you run a full recompile cycle: LaTeX, BibTeX, and LaTeX twice more? – Mico May 6 '17 at 19:02
  • 2
    @mindstorm - Do articles published in journals ever have an ISBN? I thought the "B" in "ISBN" stands for "book" -- unless, of course, the acronym refers to the Indiana State Board of Nursing... :-) – Mico May 6 '17 at 19:17

Under the conditions

  • You don't want to switch to biblatex,
  • You don't want to change your .bst,

you can always put the ISBN (or anything else) in a note:

  note={{ISBN:} 978-91-637-4473-0}

For me worked this solution.

You will actually have to go to the citation style you are using, e.g. I am using IEEEtran.bst. You will find it in your texlive install dir. Make a copy and name it e.g. my_IEEE.bst.

Go to : https://people.kth.se/~maguire/myIEEEtran.bst

You will have to include these lines of the code, that are marked by the author as %% GQMJr, into your my_IEEE.bst.

Then copy your altered file my_IEEE.bst into your working directory (where you are going to compile your latex file). And don't forget to include:


Try to compile, it should work.



I have faced the same problem in year 2021. I am using BibTeX.

I failed to solve this problem using the answers above (My bad~).

Then I googled out a perfect solution: https://www.bibtex.com/f/isbn-field/

Bascially speaking, is to change the style of your Bib. There are only few Bib-styles that can understand ISBN. These styles are all listed in the website linked above.

Since I need to use ISBN, ISSN and DOI, so I have redefined my bib style as:


Then every thing goes fine.

Just in case:

  1. Don't forget to delete all your .aux .log .out .pdf .toc .idx .nlo .bbl .blg files, before your changing/adding the \bibliographystyle{unsrtnm} to your .tex file.

--> After deleting all the pre-set/useless/will-be-generated-again-automatically files. Then you can rebuild your PDF output, with the newly defined bib-style.

  1. Try to use only one bib-style

--> Please try to avoid double use of \bibliographystyle{xxxx}

--> Using "crtl+F" to ensure that "there is no other \bibliographystyle{xxxx}defined somewhere else in your tex file.

Hope it helps~

  • Welcome to TeX.SE! – Mensch May 11 at 16:05

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.