International Standard Book Number

The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a unique numeric commercial book identifier based upon the 9-digit Standard Book Numbering (SBN) code created by Gordon Foster, Emeritus Professor of Statistics at Trinity College, Dublin, for the booksellers and stationers W. H. Smith and others in 1965.

The 10-digit ISBN format was developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and was published in 1970 as international standard ISO 2108. (However, the 9-digit SBN code was used in the United Kingdom until 1974.) An SBN may be converted to an ISBN by prepending the digit '0'. Currently, the ISO TC 46/SC 9 is responsible for the ISBN. The ISO on-line facility only refers back to 1978.

Since 1 January 2007, ISBNs have contained 13 digits, a format that is compatible with Bookland EAN-13s.

Occasionally, a book may appear without a printed ISBN if it is printed privately or the author does not follow the usual ISBN procedure; however, this can be rectified later.

A similar numeric identifier, the International Standard Serial Number (ISSN), identifies periodical publications such as magazines.

Read more about International Standard Book Number:  Overview, Check Digits, EAN Format Used in Barcodes, and Upgrading

Famous quotes containing the words standard, book and/or number:

    A disposition to preserve, and an ability to improve, taken together, would be my standard of a statesman.
    Edmund Burke (1729–1797)

    I haven’t read one book about
    A book or memorized one plot,
    Or found a mind I did not doubt,
    I learned one date. And then forgot.
    And one by one the solid scholars
    Get the degrees, the jobs, the dollars.
    William Dewitt Snodgrass (b. 1926)

    Envy has blackened every page of his history.... The future, in its justice, will number him among those men whom passions and an excess of activity have condemned to unhappiness, through the gift of genius.
    Eugène Delacroix (1798–1863)