International Standard Book Number (ISBN) system was developed out of the book numbering system introduced in the United Kingdom in 1967 by J. Whitaker & Sons, Ltd. and in the United States in 1968 by R.R. Bowker.
The objective of the international standard is to coordinate and standardize the international use of ISBN to uniquely identify on title or edition of a title published by one specific publisher.
Advantage of ISBN
The ISBN is a unique international identifier for monographic publication; the thirteen digit number therefore replaces the handling of long bibliographic descriptive records. Time and staff are saved copying mistakes are avoided.
The ISBN allows compilation and updating of book trade directories, like books in print. Information on available book can be found easily.
Ordering and distribution of book is mainly executed by ISBN; this is a fast and efficient method.
The ISBN is machine-readable in the form of a 13 digit book land EAN bar code. This is fast and avoids mistakes.
The ISBN is needed for the running of electronic point-of – sale system in bookshops.
Rights management is mainly done on the basis of ISBN.
Sales data monitoring in done by ISBN.
Libraries profit from copy-cataloguing by ISBN.
The national lending right in some countries is based on ISBN.
The Function of ISBN
The ISBN is known throughout the world as a short clear and potentially machine readable identification number, which marks any book unmistakably.
It is an essential instrument in modern distribution and rationalization opportunities in the book trade.
Scope of ISBN
For the purpose of the ISBN system books and other items to be numbered include:
Printed books and pamphlets including Braille and maps
Non-printed bookEducation, Video and transparencies
Books on cassettes or CDS (talking books)
Machine readable tapes
Mixed media publications (Including Text Materials)
Ephemeral printed materials such as diaries, calendars (notebooks), advertising matter and the like
Art prints and art folders without title page and text
Structure of ISBN:
An ISBN always consists of thirteen digits preceded by the letter ISBN. The thirteen digit number is divided into four parts of variable length which must be separated clearly by hyphens or spaces:
ISBN: 978-0-571-08989-5 or ISBN: 978-90-70002-04-3
The first part of the ISBN identifies a country, area or language area participating in the ISBN system Examples ISBN 90.........
All group identifiers are allocated by the International ISBN Agency in Berlin.
The second part of the ISBN identifies a particular publisher within a group. The publisher prefix may comprise up to seven digits.
Example: ISBN 90-70002...
The third part of the ISBN identifies a specific edition of a publication of a specific publisher. A title identifier may consist of up to six digits.
Example ISBN: 90-70002-04...
The check digit is the last digit of an ISBN. It is calculated on modules 11 with weights 20-2 using X in lieu of 10 where ten would occur as a check digit.
ISBN – 13 digits
Since January 2007 ISBN consists of 13 digits. This is in reference to agreement reached between International Article Numbering Association (FAN) and uniform code council (UCC) and ISBN Agency in 1996. According to the agreement the national identifier is replaced with a special Book land identifier represented by the digit 978. The 978 is followed by the rest of the 9 digit and check digit is calculated according to the eAN rule modulus – 10).
ISBN in Nepal:
Understanding the value and advantages of ISBN, Tribhuvan University Central Library applied to the ISBN Head Quarter in 1997. Despite two international reports in support of TUCL and support of National Publishers & Book Seller Association of Nepal NPBAN, Ministry of Education, Govt. of Nepal did not recommend, TUCL's names as a National Agency for three years. The reason was that the Nepal National Library also applied to the Ministry of Education for National ISBN Agency. Mr. Krishna Mani Bhandary continuously communicated to the ISBN Head Quarter for three years as a potential and international support in favour of TUCL. Ms. Neerana Shakya in her dissertation entitled “ISBN in Nepal” submitted of T. U. Department of Library and Information Science in 2001 has stated that “Had the Chief librarian not been able to react with politicians and bureaucrats and not followed properly and timely chasing the files from table to table, it would have rather been impossible to implement ISBN in Nepal. He fought for bringing system in Nepal personally for many years.”
On the June 15, 1999 Mr. Bhandary wrote to the Dr. Hartmut Walravens, then Director of ISBN Head Quarter reminding pervious communication and international support in favor of TUCL. On June 16, 1999. Dr. Hartmut Walravens, Director International ISBN Agency informed to Mr. Bhandary that after consultation with the advisory body of ISBN, that TUCL was nominated as a national ISBN Agency to provide ISBN to Nepalese publications.
Formally ISBN was begun in Nepal on 26 January 2000; Mr. Girija Prasad Koirala former Primer Minister of Nepal inaugurated the programme. A table below indicates that 15064 ISBNs have been distributed.
International ISBN Agency has provided following area code for Nepal.
99933 for 10,000 ISBN
99947 for 10,000 ISBN
937 for 1, 00,000 ISBN
Distribution of ISBN for Nepali Publications.
Online ISBN Form
Central Library building ,
Kirtipur, Kathmandu, Nepal
Tel: 330834, 331317,
The ISBN Officer, No.
ISBN National Agency
Kirtipur, Kathamndu Date: …………………
Please issue the ISBN Number for my/our following publication ( Please tick ( ) in the box):
(Original Title/ Author if any)
Tel : Fax: Email:
Edition 200 / / Hard Bound
Preliminary: Text: Photos: B/W Color
Illustrations: B/W Color Total Pages:
PLEASE SUBMIT ONE COPY OF THIS PUBLICATION TO THE ISBN NATIONAL AGENCY.
T O B E C O M P L E T E D B Y T H E N A T I O N A L A G E N C Y
Country Group Identifier Number: 99933 Check digit:…….…………………………….……
Publisher’s Prefix: ……………………… ISBN: 99933 - …………………………………
Title Identifier: …………………………. Date: ………..………………………….………….
Signature of the ISBN Officer
1st copy – Customer copy, 2nd copy – ISBN Office copy, 3rd copy – Reference copy
Couresy: National Booksellers & Publishers Association of Nepal (NBPAN)