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ISBN- Keypoints

  • What is ISBN?:

    • ISBN is a unique numeric commercial book identifier assigned to each separate edition and variation of a publication.
    • It consists of ten digits if assigned before 2007 and thirteen digits if assigned on or after 1 January 2007.
  • History of ISBN:

    • ISBN was developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) in 1970.
    • The Standard Book Number (SBN) was the precursor to ISBN and was created in 1966.
    • The United Kingdom continued to use the nine-digit SBN code until 1974.
  • Overview of ISBN:

    • Each edition and variation of a publication has a separate ISBN assigned to it.
    • The ISBN is thirteen digits long if assigned on or after 1 January 2007 and ten digits long if assigned before 2007.
    • An ISBN consists of a prefix element, registration group element, registrant element, publication element, and a checksum character or check digit.
  • Issuing Process of ISBN:

    • ISBN issuance is country-specific, and ISBNs are issued by the ISBN registration agency that is responsible for that country or territory regardless of the publication language.
    • Some ISBN registration agencies are based in national libraries or within ministries of culture and thus may receive direct funding from the government to support their services.
    • A full directory of ISBN agencies is available on the International ISBN Agency website.
  • Registration Group Element:

    • The ISBN registration group element is a 1-to-5-digit number that is valid within a single prefix element.
    • Registration groups have primarily been allocated within the 978 prefix element.
    • The allocated registration groups are: 0–5, 600–625, 65, 7, 80–94, 950–989, 9917–9989, and 99901–99983.
  • ISBN Overview:

    • ISBN is a unique identifier for books that consists of a series of numbers
    • The original 9-digit SBN became a 10-digit ISBN by prefixing a zero
  • Registrant Element:

    • The national ISBN agency assigns a registrant element and accompanying ISBNs to publishers
    • Publishers receive blocks of ISBNs and allocate one to each book
    • A publisher may receive multiple blocks of ISBNs with different registrant elements
  • Variable Block Lengths:

    • Registration agencies use variable block lengths to customize ISBN allocations
    • Large publishers may be given blocks with fewer digits for the registrant element
    • Countries publishing many titles may have few digits for the registration group identifier
  • English Language Pattern:

    • English-language registration group elements are 0 and 1
    • These two elements are divided into registrant elements in a systematic pattern
  • Check Digits:

    • A check digit is used for error detection and is computed from the other digits in the ISBN
    • The check digit for a 10-digit ISBN is base eleven and can be an integer between 0 and 9, or an 'X'
    • The check digit for a 13-digit ISBN must be such that the sum of all the digits, each multiplied by its weight, is a multiple of 10
  • ISBN Check Digit Calculation:

    • The check digit for a 10-digit ISBN is calculated by multiplying the first nine digits by their weights and finding the value between 0 and 10 that, when added to this sum, means the total is a multiple of 11
    • Alternatively, modular arithmetic can be used to calculate the check digit
    • The check digit for a 13-digit ISBN is calculated by alternatingly multiplying the first twelve digits by 1 or 3 and summing the products modulo 10
  • Common ISBN Errors:

    • The two most common errors are a single altered digit or the transposition of adjacent digits
    • All pairs of valid ISBNs differ in at least two digits, and there are no pairs with eight identical digits and two transposed digits
    • Other types of errors may result in a valid ISBN
  • ISBN Error Detection:

    • If a common error occurs, the result will never be a valid ISBN
    • If an error occurs in the publishing house and remains undetected, the book will be issued with an invalid ISBN
  • ISBN Check Digit:

    • The check digit of an ISBN is calculated using a specific formula.
    • If the difference between two adjacent digits is 5, the check digit may not catch their transposition.
    • The ISBN formula uses the prime modulus 11 to avoid this blind spot.
  • ISBN to ISBN Conversion:

    • An ISBN can be converted to ISBN by adding "978" to the beginning and recalculating the final checksum digit.
    • The reverse process can also be performed, but not for numbers commencing with a prefix other than 978.
  • Errors in Usage:

    • Publishers sometimes fail to check the correspondence of a book title and its ISBN before publishing it.
    • Most libraries and booksellers display the book record for an invalid ISBN issued by the publisher.
    • The International Union Library Catalog often indexes by invalid ISBNs, if the book is indexed in that way by a member library.
  • eISBN:

    • Only the term "ISBN" should be used; the terms "eISBN" and "e-ISBN" have historically been sources of confusion and should be avoided.
    • If a book exists in one or more digital (e-book) formats, each of those formats must have its own ISBN.
  • EAN Format Used in Barcodes, and Upgrading:

    • Currently the barcodes on a book's back cover are EAN-13.
    • For 10-digit ISBNs, the number "978" is prefixed to the ISBN in the barcode data, and the check digit is recalculated according to the EAN-13 formula.
    • The International Organization for Standardization decided to migrate to a 13-digit ISBN in 2005, and as of 2011, all the 13-digit ISBNs began with 978.
  • See Also:

    • ASIN, BICI, Book sources search, CODEN, DOI, ESTC, ISAN, ISRC, ISTC, ISWC, ISWN, LCCN, License number, List of group-0 ISBN publisher codes, List of group-1 ISBN publisher codes, List of ISBN registration groups, SICI, VD 16, VD 17.
    • Books are occasionally assigned multiple ISBNs or sold as sets and share ISBNs.
  • Conversion of ISBN to 13-digit format:

    • Publishers were required to convert existing ISBNs from the 10-digit format to the 13-digit format by 1 January 2007.
    • For existing publications, the new 13-digit ISBN would only need to be added if (and when) a publication was reprinted.
    • During the transition period, publishers were recommended to print both the 10-digit and 13-digit ISBNs on the verso of a publication's title page, but they were required to print only the 13-digit ISBN after 1 January 2007.
  • Multiple ISBNs for some books:

    • Some books have several codes in the first block.
    • Special considerations were made for assigning Springer's publisher codes.
    • Finding publisher codes for English and German, say, with this effect would amount to solving a linear equation in modular arithmetic.
  • Hyphenation and registration group elements:

    • The International ISBN Agency's ISBN User's Manual says that the ten-digit number is divided into four parts of variable length, which must be separated clearly, by hyphens or spaces.
    • If present, hyphens must be correctly placed.
    • The actual definition for hyphenation contains more than 220 different registration group elements with each one broken down into a few to several ranges for the length of the registrant element (more than 1,000 total).
    • The document defining the ranges, listed by agency, is 29 pages.
  • History and development of ISBN:

    • The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) system was first published in 1970 as international standard ISO 2108.
    • The system was developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) in cooperation with national standards bodies.
    • The first ISBN registration agency was set up in the UK in 1967.
    • The system was introduced in the US in 1968.
    • The current 13-digit ISBN format was introduced in 2007.
  • ISBN agencies:

    • The International ISBN Agency coordinates and supervises the worldwide use of the ISBN system.
    • There are over 160 ISBN agencies worldwide, each responsible for assigning ISBNs to publishers and self-publishing authors in their respective countries or territories.
    • Some agencies may charge fees for their services.
  • What is an ISBN?:

    • ISBN stands for International Standard Book Number.
    • It is a unique identifier for books, assigned by a publisher or self-publisher.
  • How is an ISBN structured?:

    • An ISBN consists of 13 digits, separated into 5 parts.
    • The parts include a prefix element, registration group element, registrant element, publication element, and check digit.
    • Each part provides specific information about the book.
  • Why is an ISBN important?:

    • An ISBN is used to track inventory and sales information for books.
    • Many retailers and distributors require an ISBN for a book to be sold.
    • It also helps with international recognition and identification of a book.
  • How can I get an ISBN?:

    • ISBNs can be obtained from the national agency in your country or region.
    • Self-publishers can also purchase ISBNs directly from the International ISBN Agency.
    • Each edition and format of a book requires a unique ISBN.
  • Other important information about ISBNs:

    • ISBNs are also used for e-books and audiobooks.
    • The EAN-13 format is used for ISBNs in many countries.
    • The ISBN system is coordinated and supervised by the International ISBN Agency.
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