Talk:International Standard Book Number

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Bug In ISBN-10 C++ Code[edit]

It doesn't account for an 'X' check digit (represents 10). (talk) 07:56, 25 December 2011 (UTC)

I agree. The C++ code is broken and should be fixed. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:45, 25 January 2012 (UTC)

Also, the C++ code (and possibly the other code) doesn't appear to take into account the place value weighting. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:05, 16 July 2012 (UTC)

I see that the C/C++ code and some of the others have a "return check%10==0" instead of "return check%10==digits[12]". In order to check the validity of the ISBN, you are supposed to compare the checksum to the 13th digit, right? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:40, 25 September 2013 (UTC)

Change the ISBN link[edit]

At present the "ISBN" part of an ISBN link goes to the WP article International Standard Book Number. It is an awfully complicated and in-depth treatment of the subject (which is a good thing of course). BTW it is No 92 on in the popularity list. I have created Help:ISBN as part of a reader help series. It is short and to the point - something that readers probable want for this sort of thing - so I propose that the ISBN link is changed to the new help page. I propose that the link is removed per the discussion below. -- Alan Liefting (talk - contribs) 02:29, 15 February 2013 (UTC)

We don't need both the new Help:ISBN and the longstanding WP:ISBN. Mr Stephen (talk) 17:44, 15 February 2013 (UTC)
Why not? -- Alan Liefting (talk - contribs) 21:38, 15 February 2013 (UTC)
Broadly speaking, Wikipedia needs more pages in the WP, MOS and Help namepaces as much as it needs a network outage. Had you announced that you had culled and merged a thousand of these pages I would have considered you for a barnstar. A better response to your problem ("the WP article ... is an awfully complicated and in-depth treatment") is to improve the article. Mr Stephen (talk) 11:49, 16 February 2013 (UTC)
Help:ISBN looks to be useful for *readers* and WP:ISBN could assist *editors*. A person who wants to add an ISBN to a reference needs to see a longer explanation. Alan has suggested (above) that WP:ISBN is awfully complicated but I see it as being just as complex as the subject requires. The ISBN system is out there with all its wrinkles and quirks and our editors have to learn to navigate it. Advice to editors like 'avoid using the syntax ISBN-10' ought to be provided in some form, because otherwise the encyclopedia fills up with incorrect references. EdJohnston (talk) 15:48, 16 February 2013 (UTC)
I have pondered the ISBN-10 vs ISBN-13 digit ISBN usage and I do use the ISBN-13 digit if Zotero offers it up. Do you have a ref for preferring ISBN-13 digit? We should add that info to WP:ISBN. -- Alan Liefting (talk - contribs) 21:50, 16 February 2013 (UTC)
Mr Stephen, we as editors are tasked with looking after 4,604,199 articles that can be freely edited. Without extensive MOS pages, guidelines and policies WP would be seething with even more unnecessary editing than that what we are currently seeing. There is a need to clean up a lot of the project pages and there is a need to have a stronger separation of editor and reader help pages (something I have been working on for a while). -- Alan Liefting (talk - contribs) 21:50, 16 February 2013 (UTC)
Agreed; and thank your for doing so. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 20:29, 10 March 2013 (UTC)
I think Alan Liefting's proposal is very sensible. Readers of Wikipedia don't need the same detailed explanation of ISBNs that editors need.Fagles (talk) 18:59, 18 February 2013 (UTC)
I would be comfortable with this (or even with delinking the word ISBN altogether, as I suspect it causes more confusion than it solves). Andrew Gray (talk) 19:13, 21 February 2013 (UTC)
I don't like having the ISBN and the number as adjacent links and am happy with not linking "ISBN". I have placed Help:ISBN as a hatnote on the Wikipedia:BookSources page {which is substed in Special:BookSources) so there is no real need to have ISBN linked anywhere. Ideally we should do a reader survey to see what they actually want. -- Alan Liefting (talk - contribs) 00:56, 22 February 2013 (UTC)
Certainly in my introductory workshops (where I always point out ISBNs as a useful resource) I've found that the ISBN link is often clicked by accident (or by not noticing it's a seperate link), causing frustration and sometimes just bafflement. Unlinking it (and DOI, etc) would probably have the net result of making the interface simpler and less confusing, which can only be a good thing! Do you know what page we'd have to edit to change this behaviour, though? It's a hardcoded magic-word rather than a normal template. Andrew Gray (talk) 01:12, 22 February 2013 (UTC)
That's a good enough reason for me to have the link removed. I will talk to the tech heads to see how it can be changed. -- Alan Liefting (talk - contribs) 01:27, 22 February 2013 (UTC)
I support this proposal to remove the link, as the link stacking is undesirable, and what most of the readers and editors are probably interested in are the library catalogues that contain the cited book (i.e. Special:BookSources). This special page currently contains a link to Help:ISBN, but in my opinion a link to International Standard Book Number would be welcome too. That is, "given the 10- or 13-digit ISBN number" should be replaced with "given the 10- or 13 digit [[International Standard Book Number|ISBN number]]". --Eleassar my talk 10:30, 23 February 2013 (UTC)
I too think there may be some wisdom in delinking ISBN from the cite templates. Jason Quinn (talk) 07:05, 24 February 2013 (UTC)

Umm, what link are you talking about? ISBN 1234567890, seems to be all one link to me. Can you give an example of what link you mean and exactly what you would want changed? Dragons flight (talk) 05:06, 22 February 2013 (UTC)

Ah. Yes. You are right. Looks like it is the {cite} templates that do it. Here is an example:
  • Carr, Edward Hallett (1972). What is history? : the George Macauley Trevelyan lectures delivered in the University of Cambridge, January-March 1961. Harmondsworth; Ringwood: Penguin Books. ISBN 0-14-020652-3. 
Am glad there are wiser heads out there! -- Alan Liefting (talk - contribs) 06:21, 22 February 2013 (UTC)
That link is added to Citation Style 1 and other templates through {{citation/identifier}}: you can certainly request a change on the talk. You should make the same request at Module talk:Citation/CS1, as we will be updating templates to Lua in the future. --— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 14:06, 22 February 2013 (UTC)
BTW: the magic linking for ISBN outside of templates such as ISBN 978-0-471-70410-2 is done through Parser.php. --— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 14:34, 22 February 2013 (UTC)
Done. -- Alan Liefting (talk - contribs) 00:39, 23 February 2013 (UTC)
All the other identifiers linked through the cite templates also include a link explaining what those mysterious initials "doi" "ISBN" "MR" "Zbl" "PMID" etc. stand for. This seems helpful and informative to me and I don't see a good reason for eliminating it. —David Eppstein (talk) 20:59, 23 February 2013 (UTC)
I made the same point at Template talk:Citation. If ISBN is worth removing, then so MR, SSRN, ZBL and the like. The core template supports 18 identifiers, and any number can be added through |id=; all of which link the identifier abbreviation. --— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 21:32, 23 February 2013 (UTC)
There are a few reasons for removing all of the links to MR, SSRN, ZBL and the like:
  • they are adjacent links
  • the number is more important
  • it is confusing for newbies
  • if the acronyms are mysterious the reader can always do a Wikipedia search for their meaning
Assuming they are presented in the same style as ISBN. -- Alan Liefting (talk - contribs) 01:44, 24 February 2013 (UTC)
I don't think "If things are mysterious they can Google it" is an appropriate attitude for building a usable online encyclopedia. What are wikilinks for, if not this? —David Eppstein (talk) 02:12, 24 February 2013 (UTC)
Ok, ignore that reason but still, on balance, the links are better left out. As I stated earlier for the ISBN case an explanation and link at Wikipedia:Book sources. -- Alan Liefting (talk - contribs) 02:24, 24 February 2013 (UTC)
Is the ISBN not better known than any of these, though? The general public are usually hazy on exactly what it means (the edition/work distinction is particularly opaque), but IME most people seem to know that at least "ISBN" = "book-related thing" in some way, whereas even as a librarian I had to stop and look up "Zbl" or "MR". Andrew Gray (talk) 19:05, 24 February 2013 (UTC)
That is probably true so we could just concentrate on that link. -- Alan Liefting (talk - contribs) 03:15, 25 February 2013 (UTC)
  • My normal practice is to give the isbn-13 if available, without dashes. I normally do not worry about just which isbn to use--libraries typically enter every possible isbn in a cataloging record, so any of them will find the book. For older books where there is no isbn I use OCLC is available, There will be some older non-English-language books where neither is available, and i add what iI can find. There is no real need in a WP reference to add all the numbers. However, I consider it a sound principle not to remove numbers that others have added. The reason libraries use redundant numbering schemes is that any one of them may be in error-- they all have a significant error rate. In particular, for nation bibliography numbers added by national or international agencies in other countries for their own countries books,, if they are in the article, I certainly would never remove them, and I advise others not to so so either. there's a real risk of losing information. The library principle is based on a very simple consideration: don't remove information because it is of no immediate use or you because you do not understand it. It is because of this very conservative principel that we have the preent interoperability of and universal usability of cataloging records.
The situation is changing. what will catalyze the change at WP is the availability of WikiData, which will provide a unified store for bibliographic information, This is not their highest priority, and planning is at an early stage. i swill certainly advise them to include all possible role numbers and bibliographic identifiers to provide as complete a record as possible for international use. (But Iam not advising them to copy the full cataloging record from LC or elsewhere--it is enough to link to it. Much of what is there is specific to library purposes, including the need to identify individual copies in individual libraries and to link to the record of book orders from publishers and dealers. DGG ( talk ) 17:21, 25 February 2013 (UTC)
To clarify, the proposal isn't to remove the linked ISBNs themselves, which will still be present & still point to Special:Booksources; it's just to amend the link so that the word "ISBN" doesn't link to this particular page. Andrew Gray (talk) 17:28, 25 February 2013 (UTC)

A hatnote on Special:Booksources, linking to an ISBN-related help page, should suffice. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 20:33, 10 March 2013 (UTC)

Uniqueness of ISBN's[edit]

ISBN's are not unique; I worked in the publishing industry and there are LOTS of ISBN's that are assigned to more than one book. They are assigned to books that don't even share the same title, subject or whatever...

I'd rather start the discussion here than go into the article and change stuff only to have it reverted by a bot. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:36, 9 March 2013 (UTC)

Citation? Examples? Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 20:58, 10 March 2013 (UTC)
ISBN 1-55902-983-8 appears to be used for an entire collection of literary classics - I have "The Time Machine" by H.G. Wells under that ISBN, but if you check out some of the sources autolinked by Wikipedia for that ISBN, you can see that it is far from unique. Yevuard (talk) 01:59, 15 August 2013 (UTC)

Actually ISBN is not unique in a conetxt of a Content Model. Print copy and ebook edition must have different ISBNs... The Wikipedia article not report this problem. Since ISBN is "unique title identifier" (which identifies a particular title or edition of a title) there are many ISBNs for the same content (same copyright). Each language version/adaptation, each edition, and each media type, that can be characterized as different product, may have a different ISBN. The Wikipedia article must explain better this problem. --Krauss (talk) 06:10, 15 September 2014 (UTC)

The indecs Content Model is hardly the Content Model. This is not a problem, it is a feature; if you want an identifier that behaves otherwise, use an identifier designed to behave the way you want. The first sentence under Overview is quite clear: "An ISBN is assigned to each edition and variation (except reprintings) of a book. For example, an ebook, a paperback, and a hardcover edition of the same book would each have a different ISBN." If it were otherwise, you couldn't order ISBN 0-345-44856-7 and know that you're getting a paperback English edition, which would defeat the purpose of ISBNs.--Prosfilaes (talk) 09:16, 15 September 2014 (UTC)
Ok, the first setence change is important (!). About "the model" or "a model" (I changed), you see that it is not the problem: indecs is the real and practical solution used by DOI, we can cite indecs as a good example of content model for "book content", to avoid ambiguities about "what is content". --Krauss (talk) 11:11, 15 September 2014 (UTC)

The standard says ISBN should be unique. Duplicates can be found due to errors made by publishers rather then intentionally grouping different books. --Nux (talk) 18:26, 15 September 2014 (UTC)

Please check my explanation, it is about "content equivalence", not about editorial mistakes... "Print copy and ebook edition must have different ISBNs", yes is a fact... But, another fact is that Print copy and ebook edition have equivalent contents. People today, after 1990's, Web advent, tablet computers, etc., people today see ebook and book as the same target-product, that is the content. --Krauss (talk) 21:26, 15 September 2014 (UTC)

Need for more explanation or a section about[edit]

ISBN uniqueness is "media/edition"-oriented identification of books, as explained above, and made sense in the 1970s. In the 1990s and onward, with PCs, good screens, and the Web, what makes sense is to consider only content, independent of media. A ISBN can not used in a typical database of books as public ID because is not unique (all databases must generate an internal unique ID for this task). For the same reason, the use of ISBN as URN was was not widespread.

This "content-oriented identification" of books' is a repressed demand today (2010's)... So, this kind of non-uniqueness (in a content perspective) is a real and relevant problem.

--Krauss (talk) 11:11, 15 September 2014 (UTC)

PS: a solution is possible, a TC 46/SC 9's rule that elects one (ex. the first) ISBN to group the others, representing all the "same-content ISBNs"... And a online service that resolves this "unique ISBN", as xISBN do today.

Actually in terms of copyright each translation is copyrighted by the translator (and possibly publisher) and having a book doesn't give you the right to use e-book and vice versa. So ISBN should be unique for each edition (e-book, CD, paper -- all different editions). I said it SHOULD, because there are some cases where it is not (as discussed above). --Nux (talk) 18:26, 15 September 2014 (UTC)
Ops, sorry, here in this subsection we not dissuing translations, only "media/edition" (see above). Usually media/edition changes not change the content... As suggested before, see DOI identified articles (ex. into different medias) to undertand the problem/models/etc. You can also see the Linking ISSN as reference-model to a "unique ISBN". --Krauss (talk) 21:03, 15 September 2014 (UTC)
About my commented (PS) "solution": see ISSN-L and imagine an ISBN-L. Only imagine, I not discussing here de uniqueness of ISBN (that is necessary for comertial needs, each media is a distinct product), but the necessity and the nowadays-lack of a ISBN-L. --Krauss (talk) 21:13, 15 September 2014 (UTC)
It seems to me you are trying to create reality rather then describe it and this is not what Wikipedia is about. We are not researching for solutions. We are describing solutions proven by authorities in appropriate places. See WP:OR. --Nux (talk) 23:19, 15 September 2014 (UTC)

Researcher asking for advice[edit]

Hi, I'm a researcher working with massive data sets and I'm trying to find a wiki editor or anyone else who could advise me on the following:

  • I would like to download/parse for each ISBN (each book) a time stamp and the ISBNs of books it cites. Does this data set exist anywhere in any format? Thanks a lot!
  • I intend to do statistical tests on the data set as a whole, and I'm aware that (similarly to other large data sets) this one is not going be perfect, etc. Well, thanks anyhow for any comments you may have!

-- fij (talk) 14:13, 28 August 2013 (UTC)