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ISBN Is Changing

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The International Standard Book Number is changing. For almost two years the publishing industry has been moving towards using a thirteen digit ISBN. During that time OCLC has instructed catalogers to place 13-digit ISBNs in the 024 field so that we can search for them using a Standard Number index search (sn).

The migration to the 13-digit ISBN is due to be officially completed on Jan. 1, 2007. In preparation for that deadline, last month, OCLC enhanced the 020 to accommodate the 13-digit ISBN. Catalogers should now be putting all ISBNs in 020 fields. The 020 field is repeatable and each valid ISBN should go in a separate 020 field.

When you enter an ISBN in the course of cataloging, Connexion performs the following process. 10-digit ISBNs in 020 generate 13-digit ISBNs. 13-digit ISBNs with prefix 978 in 020 generate 10-digit ISBNs. Connexion automatically performs these actions when you validate while on line, update holdings, or replace a record. No 10-digit ISBN will be created if the ISBN has a 979 prefix and no action will occur if there is a 13-digit ISBN in field 024.

Before the end of the year, OCLC will run a one time conversion of ISBNs in existing WorldCat records. The conversion will perform three major actions.

  • If it finds a 10-digit ISBN in a 020 $a and no corresponding 13-digit ISBN, it will generate a 13-digit ISBN with prefix 978 in a 020 $a.

  • If it finds a 13-digit ISBN with prefix 978 in a 020 $a and no corresponding 10-digit ISBN, it will generate a 10-digit ISBN in a 020 $a.

  • If it finds a 13-digit ISBN with prefix 978 in a 024 (first indicator 3) $a, it will generate both 10 and 13 digit ISBNs in 020 fields if they are not already present. If it finds a 13-digit ISBN with prefix 979, it will generate only a 13-digit ISBN in a 020 $a if not already present.

Note: a 10 digit ISBN will not be created if it finds a 13-digit ISBN with a 979 prefix because such ISBNs have no corresponding 10-digit ISBNs.

For more information consult the OCLC Technical Bulletin 253.

Mark Wilhelmi, MINITEX/BATS

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