For those who asked, yes you can publically republish the Ex Libris statistics concerning ISBN usage.

Just note that this is eBook sampling.





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From: Shlomo Sanders
Sent: Monday, May 20, 2013 21:01
To: Bibliographic Framework Transition Initiative Forum
Cc: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [BIBFRAME] Instance of ISBNs in MARC records


This is eBooks sampling.




Sent from my iPad

On May 20, 2013, at 19:25, "Graham Bell" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

And this accurately reflects the raison d'être of the ISBN -- it is an identifier that identifies individual products. The EPUB, the PDF and the MOBI are all different products (even if they all have the same content), and may be available from different suppliers, priced differently, exclusively sold through different outlets, readable on different devices etc. Other identifiers (like the so far not widely used ISTC) can be used to collocate multiple products with essentially the same content.


And as Laura correctly points out, publishers assign ISBNs, primarily in order to facilitate trading of books among their trading partners. For physical books, this is a well-understood system. For e-books, not so much: some trading partners don't insist on ISBNs, others do. Others still can allocate ISBNs* if the publisher does not. And a few rely internally on proprietary identifiers†. Best e-book practice on this is pretty clear these days, but actual practice among publishers still varies.


Now for Schlomo's MARC records, it's quite understandable that some have no ISBN and others have multiple ISBNs, since the MARC record is not bound to a particular 'product' quite as closely as a ISBN. Having said this, I do find the nearly 40% without ISBNs a bit surprising -- are serial publications or other items that would not be eligible for ISBNs included in the sample?



Graham Bell




* that is, the retailer can in theory allocate an ISBN if the publisher does not -- though in practice I don't think many retailers do this.


† like 'proprietary EANs' (special GTIN-13s reserved for internal use only), or ASINs within Amazon. Because of their proprietary nature, I suspect these aren't much value in a library record






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On 5/20/13 7:49 AM, Laura Dawson wrote:

Karen, at the ISBN Agency we've discovered that this is not consistent. Amazon doesn't supply an ISBN - the publisher does. And many publishers don't bother assigning an ISBN to their mobi files, because it's not a requirement at Amazon. BN/Nook assigns a proprietary EAN if no ISBN is provided by the publisher. Best practice dictates that different formats receive unique ISBNs, but many publishers don't adhere to that. 


The number soars, but not consistently. 


From: Karen Coyle <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To: <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Monday, May 20, 2013 10:40 AM
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Re: [BIBFRAME] Instance of ISBNs in MARC records


Another interesting piece of data:

For eBooks, if they are distributed by different vendors (Amazon v. iTunes, etc.), each VENDOR provides a different ISBN. So the exact same thing gets more than one ISBN. Also, every different eBook format from the same vendor is supposed to have a different ISBN: PDF, ePub, Mobi, etc. So as we go more digital, the number of ISBNs expands soars!


On 5/20/13 7:05 AM, David Weinberger wrote:

Is this information from Mac Elrod and Shlomo Sanders the frequency of ISBNs publicly bloggable? It's very interesting.


- David Weinberger


On Mon, May 20, 2013 at 9:19 AM, Shlomo Sanders <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

From a large sample of data that we get from publishers:

·         Only 24.5% with one ISBN!

·         40% with multiple ISBNs!

·         Largest group has no ISBN!


ISBN Count

Percentage of records with X ISBNs




























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-----Original Message-----
From: Bibliographic Framework Transition Initiative Forum [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of J. McRee Elrod
Sent: Sunday, May 19, 2013 20:34
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [BIBFRAME] Instance of ISBNs in MARC records


In SLC's database of over 300,000 records, over 169,000 have no ISBN, over 114,000 have one, over 19,000 have two, and the number of ISBNs ranges up to 36 in one record.


For us, Instances can't be based on ISBNs.



Total Records: 315389


020s  Records


00 169021

01 114221

02  19745

03   7403

04   3238

05   1149

06    344

07    118

08     29

09     42

10     11

11     16

12     10

13     12

14      4

15      5

16      3

17      7

18      1

19      1

21      1

22      1

23      1

25      3

27      1

28      1

36      1




   __       __   J. McRee (Mac) Elrod ([log in to unmask])

  {__  |   /     Special Libraries Cataloguing   HTTP://

  ___} |__ \__________________________________________________________



Karen Coyle
[log in to unmask]
ph: 1-510-540-7596
m: 1-510-435-8234
skype: kcoylenet

Karen Coyle
[log in to unmask]
ph: 1-510-540-7596
m: 1-510-435-8234
skype: kcoylenet