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Recommended Practices for the Presentation and Identification of E-Journals (PIE-J)

PIE-J 24-month review report now available!

PIE-J Brochure:
electronic version (for online viewing)
print version (for tri-folding)

NEW: Experiencing a PIE-J related access or display problem? Write to the publisher/provider! 
Template for Publisher/Provider Letter

Publishers are invited to respond to the Publisher Conformance Survey. Your input will help refine PIE-J guidelines and how they are communicated. 

Standing Committee Charge

The PIE-J Standing Committee will: continuously promote the PIE-J Recommended Practice, nationally and globally [in large part by encouraging librarians to contact publishers and e-journal providers to bring the guidelines to their attention but also through other formal and informal means]; respond to specific inquiries about PIE-J; gather comments and information to assist with the 24-month review.

For more information, please contact the Standing Committee members or join the PIE-J Interest Group!

About PIE-J

New Work Item Proposal Balloted January 12 - February 8, 2010
Approved by the Business Information Topic Committee
Recommended Practice published March 2013

Citations form the basis for much scholarly research. Connecting researchers with appropriate content is the goal of OpenURL linking and other reference linking systems. Two things are necessary for accurate identification. First, articles must be cited by the title of the journal in which they originally appeared, which may be different from the title the journal currently bears. Second, the correct ISSN must be used in order for link resolution to accurately happen. Until there is a consistent and universally used identification scheme for articles (the penetration of CrossRef and the DOI is far from universal), researchers have no choice but to rely on existing citation elements.

Unless journal websites accurately and uniformly list all the titles under which content was published, user access to desired content is considerably diminished. No one wins: not the library, the publishers, the vendor, or the researcher.

The goal of Working Group is to review the problem and develop a Recommended Practice that will provide much-needed guidance on the presentation of e-journals—particularly in the areas of title presentation, accurate use of the ISSN, and citation practices—to publishers and platform providers as well as to solve some long-standing concerns of serials librarians.

Issues to be addressed fall under the following key areas:

  • Titles for Different Formats: For example, when a journal is available in print and online.
  • Former Titles: Information about and easy access to former titles (including ISSN of former titles and the dates that the journal was published under the former titles) needs to be provided on the new title’s website to ensure visibility, accessibility, and tracking. Supporting documentation that providers/publishers can mount on the website to facilitate identification will be covered.
  • Citations: Citations need to be historically accurate; they need to cite the title and ISSN that the journal carried at the time when the article was published.
  • ISSN: ISSN centers can help to provide correct title sequences, dates, and the ISSNs that will enable accurate linking, as well as help in resolving questions or interpreting complex relationships.

For more information, see the December 13, 2010 PIE-J Quarterly Update Report.


Reynolds, Regina Romano. "PIE-J, Presentation and Identification of E-Journals: What's the Point?" Insights: The UKSG Journal 26.3 (2013): 311-14.

Humble Pie: PIE-J Background and Update, Regina Reynolds, Bob Boissy, and Steve Shadle, NASIG Annual Conference, St. Louis, MO, June 2011 and ALCTS Continuing Resources Section Standards Update Forum, American Library Association Annual Conference, New Orleans, LA, June 2011

Best Practices for Presentation of E-Journals, Part 1 and Part 2, Kathy Klemperer and Andrea Twiss-Brooks, Charleston Conference, Charleston, SC, November 2011


Committee Roster



Alvin Stockdale

Librarian, Technical Services Division
National Library of Medicine