Linda's Professional Journey

An Academic Librarian's experiences and notes

ISBN and Open Book tidbits.

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At my job now.. and just searching around various blogs and came across these two links of interest.

First one it’s got to be either Dewey vs. BISAC. I am still trying to work out a thought process for this subject…before I go off into a tangent.

BISAC stands for Book Industry Study Group and their purpose is to develop and maintain technological searching methods for specific popular books. This is useful for the book publishers, so what makes it useful to the patron or the librarian? Inventorying purposes! I have already experienced one of their products – bar coding ISBN-13 which brought more numbers to digest and filter when ISBN-10 ran out of numbers.

ISBN is the International Standard Book Number meaning when they were published, what was the standard number given to this book so that it can be recognized in any other country? Disregarding the ISBN is the Dewey which organizes the books on the shelf. Originally there were 10 numbers in the standard number system, but with the countless number of books being published, ISBN-10 ran out of numbering possibilities, so ISBN-13 was formed as a secondary and maybe replacing system for ISBN-10. In book magazines like Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, Library Journal and Booklist, they would have for every book often two sets of numbers, ISBN-10 and ISBN-13. So for ordering books knowing the ISBN is very useful.

Why would this be library related? Well in the consumer produce age, for librarian providing information so that the patron can find a book is pertinant, what happens if a patron comes ot the library with an ISBN # and nothing else? Also as I learned briefly in cataloging, the ISBN number also follows a coding system so that it can alert catalogers to specific books relating to a specific subject, before needing a Dewey number.

In essence though, BISAC is providing a system where there is ability to easy order and know if that book is not a duplicate. I read about this issue from the Free Range Librarian and from there was linked to this another article that began this train of thought.

Another issue… now.. the Open Library. I’ve seen similar displays like this in the British Library and was pleased to find another place like this, where old books are electronically scanned and then available to be read on the computer, by a touchscreen or the click of a mouse. There is benefit of making the original book available for countless years even after the original source is not readable due to age.


Written by Linda

August 1, 2007 at 6:14 pm

Posted in Trends/News

Tagged with , ,

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