ISBN's

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Birol

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That's a good question right now.
Does anyone know when ISBN's came into being or when they started listing them on or in the books? I've gotten caught up in the Shelfari craze with some of my fellow AWers, which isn't that bad of a thing. I've been meaning to make some type of electronic list or database of all my books for ages. Mostly, I've been using the ISBN to enter the books I own into Shelfari's system, but I've noticed a few books I own don't have that information anywhere. Invariably, they are older books published and printed in the 1960's or earlier.

In more modern books, the ISBN is listed near the barcode. In books that pre-date barcodes, I'm finding the ISBN either somewhere on the cover or on the inside page with all the copyright and publisher information on it, but there have been at least two so far that I have not been able to find an ISBN on the book at all.
 

Mel

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The ISBN system was created in the United Kingdom, in 1966, according to Wikipedia.



 

kristie911

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Despite the fact I rarely trust Wikipedia, that sounds about right. I have some older books that do not have ISBN's and they're from the early sixties.
 

Cathy C

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Here's an article I wrote some time ago about ISBNs--how they came into being and how they're constructed. Have fun!

************

WHAT ARE ISBNS AND WHAT DO THEY MEAN?
Cathy Clamp

Anyone who has read a book is familiar with that strange ten digit number, often separated by dashes or spaces, on the cover and title page of a book. But what is it and what does it mean? The ISBN, or International Standard Book Number, was conceived during a meeting of European book publishers and distributors in November 1966, in Berlin, Germany. At the time, the Third International Conference on Book Market Research and Rationalization in the Book Trade was concerned about the upcoming use of computers for efficient automated book handling, and it was decided that each book in the world should have a unique number that would cross international boundaries. The book numbering system was introduced in 1967 by J. Whitaker & Sons, Ltd. in the United Kingdom, and later in America by R.R. Bowker. Over time, some 150 countries adopted the program, and it is still in use today.

What sort of publications are required to bear ISBNs? For the purpose of the system, a "book" is any transmission of text content to an audience, so it doesn't matter whether the book is hardback, paperback, trade paperback, electronic, audio tape, diskette, CD-Rom, internet-only download, or any other variation of media. Things that are not included are art prints and folders without text, sound recordings, sheet music and serial publications.

The structure of the ISBN is quite simple. The ten digits are separated into four parts of variable length, which must be separated by spaces or dashes. For example: 0-765-34913-2 OR 0 765 34913 2.

The first number (in this example "zero") is the Group Identifier. The number shown identifies one of the primary English-speaking countries (U.S., U.K., Australia, New Zealand, Canada). The English-speaking countries of South Africa and Zimbabwe use a "1" in place of the zero. It should be noted that due to the influx of small press, POD and internet publishers that hit the scene in the 1990s, the International ISBN Agency began assigning the Group Identifier "1" to newer English-speaking publishers, regardless of their country of origin. Here are a few of the many codes assigned, which allow the reader to know in what country the book originated:

0 - English (UK, US, Can, Aus, NZ)
1 - English (SA, Zim)
2 - French (France, Belgium, Canada, Switzerland)
3 - German (Germany, Austria, Switzerland)
4 - Japan
5 - USSR
6 - Unassigned at present
7 - China

The next series of numbers (in this example "765") is the Publisher Identifier. Each publisher in the world, including each separate official address of a multi-national publisher, has a unique number assigned to it that tells the world the producer of the book. The publisher identifier may have up to seven digits.

The third series of numbers (in this example "34913") is the Title Identifier. Each title issued by a publisher has a unique number that may have up to six digits. No Title Identifier may be reassigned by the publisher at any time. If a volume is discontinued or switches publishers, the number is discontinued. The number must remain with the book forever, even if a publisher purchases another publisher, until the book is reprinted under the new company's imprint.

The final number is what is known as a Check Digit. This is a "safety" number that ensures that the ISBN is an actual number produced by a publisher (to help prevent black market books). Because the original purpose of the ISBN was to be computer friendly, the numbers work off a system of eleven. What this means is that if you add the previous numbers, after being multiplied by a number ranging from 10 to 2, into a single sum, the total must be divisible by 11. So, in our example:

ISBN 0 7 6 5 3 4 9 1 3
Weight 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2
Totals 0 +63 +48 +35 +18 +20 +36 +3 +6 = 229

229 can't be divided by 11. However, 231 can be. Therefore, the check digit of "2" is added, for a total of 231. Because it's divisible by 11, it proves that the number is a valid ISBN.

What happens when a book is issued in multiple formats? A single title can have a hardback edition, a paperback edition, braille editions, audio tapes and electronic versions, among others. Is the same number used on each? No. Each separate format must receive a separate number. Because publishers purchase a large block of numbers, often they separate the numbers internally into groups that will identify them as the various formats. However, some publisher merely assign the next available number, without consideration for the format. (Article source: International ISBN Agency, http://www.isbn-international.org/en/whatis.html )
 

rugcat

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The final number is what is known as a Check Digit. This is a "safety" number that ensures that the ISBN is an actual number produced by a publisher (to help prevent black market books). Because the original purpose of the ISBN was to be computer friendly, the numbers work off a system of eleven. What this means is that if you add the previous numbers, after being multiplied by a number ranging from 10 to 2, into a single sum, the total must be divisible by 11. So, in our example:
Interesting. As an aside, doctors are assigned a DEA number for prescribing controlled substances. A similar check number system is used, though less complicated, to ensure the number is valid and not just being made up by someone.
 

Willowmound

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I've always wondered, I now I no longer have to. Much obliged.
 

Plot Device

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Forgive me. :D

This is an awesome article, Cathy. And I value the information ... BUT ... :D

I just can't resist inserting the following joke. :D


My apologies ahead of time.


Here's an article I wrote some time ago about ISBNs--how they came into being and how they're constructed. Have fun!

The ISBN, or International Standard Book Number, was conceived during a meeting of European book publishers and distributors in November 1966, in Berlin, Germany.


The first number (in this example "zero") is the Group Identifier.

0 - English (UK, US, Can, Aus, NZ)
1 - English (SA, Zim)
2 - French (France, Belgium, Canada, Switzerland)
3 - German (Germany, Austria, Switzerland)
4 - Japan
5 - USSR
6 - Unassigned at present
7 - China




OH MY GOD!

:eek: :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek:

IT'S THE MARK OF THE BEAST!!!!!!

:Jaw: :Jaw: :Jaw: :Jaw: :Jaw:




Yes! We will FINALLY know his true identity when the day comes that THAT number from the ISBN finally gets assigned!

I am SOOOOOO outa here!!!!

:gone: :gone: :gone: :gone: :gone:













j/k


:D :D :D :D :D
 
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