The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a unique numeric commercial book identifier.
An ISBN is assigned to each edition and variation (except reprintings) of a book. For example, an e-book, a paperback and a hardcover edition of the same book would each have a different ISBN. The ISBN is 13 digits long if assigned on or after 1 January 2007, and 10 digits long if assigned before 2007. The method of assigning an ISBN is nation-based and varies from country to country, often depending on how large the publishing industry is within a country.
The initial ISBN configuration of recognition was generated in 1967 based upon the 9-digit Standard Book Numbering (SBN) created in 1966. The 10-digit ISBN format was developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and was published in 1970 as international standard ISO 2108 (the SBN code can be converted to a ten digit ISBN by prefixing it with a zero).
The Standard Book Numbering (SBN) code is a 9-digit commercial book identifier system created by Gordon Foster, Emeritus Professor of Statistics at Trinity College, Dublin, for the booksellers and stationers WHSmith and others in 1965. The ISBN configuration of recognition was generated in 1967 in the United Kingdom by David Whitaker (regarded as the "Father of the ISBN") and in 1968 in the US by Emery Koltay (who later became director of the U.S. ISBN agency R.R. Bowker).
The 10-digit ISBN format was developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and was published in 1970 as international standard ISO 2108. The United Kingdom continued to use the 9-digit SBN code until 1974. ISO has appointed the International ISBN Agency as the registration authority for ISBN worldwide and the ISBN Standard is developed under the control of ISO Technical Committee 46/Subcommittee 9 TC 46/SC 9. The ISO on-line facility only refers back to 1978.
An SBN may be converted to an ISBN by prefixing the digit "0". For example, the second edition of Mr. J. G. Reeder Returns, published by Hodder in 1965, has "SBN 340 01381 8" – 340 indicating the publisher, 01381 their serial number, and 8 being the check digit. This can be converted to ISBN 0-340-01381-8; the check digit does not need to be re-calculated.
Since 1 January 2007, ISBNs have contained 13 digits, a format that is compatible with "Bookland" European Article Number EAN-13s.
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. The ISBN is 13 digits long if assigned on or after 1 January 2007, and 10 digits long if assigned before 2007. An International Standard Book Number consists of 4 parts (if it is a 10 digit ISBN) or 5 parts (for a 13 digit ISBN):
1. for a 13-digit ISBN, a prefix element – a GS1 prefix: so far 978 or 979 have been made available by GS1,
2. the registration group element, (language-sharing country group, individual country or territory)
3. the registrant element,
4. the publication element, and
5. a checksum character or check digit.
A 13-digit ISBN can be separated into its parts (prefix element, registration group, registrant, publication and check digit), and when this is done it is customary to separate the parts with hyphens or spaces. Separating the parts (registration group, registrant, publication and check digit) of a 10-digit ISBN is also done with either hyphens or spaces. Figuring out how to correctly separate a given ISBN number is complicated, because most of the parts do not use a fixed number of digits.
1. "ISBN History". isbn.org. 2014.
2."See paragraph 5.2 of ISBN Users' Manual International edition (2012)" . (548 KB)
3.Foster, Gordon (1966). "INTERNATIONAL STANDARD BOOK NUMBERING (ISBN) SYSTEM original 1966 report". informaticsdevelopmentinstitute.net.
4. Gregory, Daniel. "ISBN". PrintRS.
5. Information Standards Quarterly (PDF), 8 (3), ISO, July 1996, p. 12
6. International ISBN Agency (2012). ISBN Users' manual
7. ISO 2108:1978, ISO
8. Manwal ghall-Utenti tal-ISBN (in Maltese) (6th ed.). Malta: Kunsill Nazzjonali tal-Ktieb. 2016. p. 5. ISBN 978-99957-889-4-0.
9. TC 46/SC 9, Frequently Asked Questions about the new ISBN standard from ISO, CA: LAC‐BAC
10. US ISBN Agency.
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13 digit ISBN: an Overview
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