The dreaded case of duplicate ISBNs

A few weeks ago, the SCIS team were at a ‘Making the most of SCIS’ workshop and our conversation turned, as it often does, to ISBNs. If you love discussing ISBNs as much as we do, here – republished in full – is one of our most popular blog posts. Enjoy!

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The dreaded case of duplicate ISBNs

Doreen Sullivan
SCIS Cataloguing team leader

Have you ever had this experience? You search for or download the record for an ISBN and a completely different title is returned. Huh? How could SCIS have gotten it so wrong?

In most cases, this is not a mistake. The fact is, sometimes publishers print the same ISBN on more than one of their publications. Although ISBNs are meant to be unique to each title edition, it is surprisingly common for publishers to give the same ISBN to different books.

These are known as ‘duplicate ISBNs’ or ‘ISBN duplicates’, and they are frustrating for all concerned. It means that the same ISBN could show in two or more SCIS records.

When a SCIS cataloguer creates a record with a known duplicate ISBN, they will include a note like this: ‘Duplicate ISBN. Linked to SCIS record no. 911499’. But if you’re simply downloading a record, chances are you won’t see the note field.

You can set your profile to ‘Prompt me to choose from a list’ when ISBN duplicates appear. If you have this setting enabled and we’ve catalogued both items — the same ISBN but two different titles — the SCIS system will inform you of the duplication when you go to download the record directly from SCIS. Then you can select the title you need.

If you need more information to make your choice, we recommend performing an ISBN search on the SCIS catalogue, which will provide the SCIS number for each record. You can then download the record using the relevant SCIS number.

And if SCIS hasn’t catalogued two records — you can only see one title and it’s not the one you want — please contact us at help@scisdata.com so we can look into the issue for you.

First published September 28, 2017

To change your ISBN duplicate settings in your SCIS profile, please follow the prompts in the article, My Quick Scan result does not match the item ordered.

For more information on downloading SCIS records, please see our brief video, Downloading records in SCIS.

Diacritics in SCIS records

2019 is the United Nations International Year of Indigenous Languages. It is therefore timely that SCIS records can now include diacritics, ensuring that resources in indigenous languages such as the Māori language (te reo Māori) and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ languages are recorded accurately in SCIS Data.

Continue reading Diacritics in SCIS records

Is there life beyond MARC?

SCIS forges into a new frontier

The Schools Catalogue Information Service (SCIS) is working with several major school library management system vendors in Australia and New Zealand to revolutionise how library catalogue records are distributed to schools.

Continue reading Is there life beyond MARC?

The dreaded case of duplicate ISBNs

Doreen Sullivan
SCIS Cataloguing team leader

Have you ever had this experience? You search for or download the record for an ISBN and a completely different title is returned. Huh? How could SCIS have gotten it so wrong?

In most cases, this is not a mistake. The fact is, sometimes publishers print the same ISBN on more than one of their publications. Although ISBNs are meant to be unique to each title edition, it is surprisingly common for publishers to give the same ISBN to different books.

These are known as ‘duplicate ISBNs’ or ‘ISBN duplicates’, and they are frustrating for all concerned. It means that the same ISBN could show in two or more SCIS records.

Continue reading The dreaded case of duplicate ISBNs

$20 voucher for ELR participants

Educational Lending Right (ELR) is an Australian cultural program administered by the Office for the Arts, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. ELR scheme makes payments to eligible Australian creators and publishers whose books are held in school libraries.
600 schools have been invited to participate in this year’s Educational Lending Right school library survey. If you are one of the lucky ones chosen, we hope you are able to follow the instructions to provide a data file report or back-up file. And that is the survey done!75. ELR image 1This year participants will be given a $20 gift voucher from Curriculum Press, redeemable until end of term 1 2011. More information is available about Educational Lending Right.

Connections 75 ready to read

You can read the latest issue of Connections online. Copies have been mailed to all Australian schools.
There are articles of interest for everyone involved in school library activities. Let us know what you think of this issue.

Thinking about ebooks

75. Thinking about ebooks image 3
Ebook demonstration at Web 2.0 expo, San Francisco 2010, courtesy of Flickr

Stephen Abram describes and discusses the ebook, looking at what it is, and what it is not. He discusses fiction versus non-fiction, reference material and textbooks, and how the ebook can enhance usability. Read more …

Your school library collection: a catalyst for creating writers
Maxine Ramsay discusses the use of text types in the teaching of writing to young students. She explains how teachers and library staff can identify and assist in the effective discovery of good text examples within their library collection. Read more …

The highs and lows of establishing an online community
Kerry Franta describes EnhanceTV’s experience of creating an online community. It is important for members to share a common interest and to be passionate enough about it to contribute online. Read more …

Digital participation, digital literacy and schools
Through developing digital literacy in their students, educators are enhancing young people’s ability to use digital media, strengthening their knowledge and learning skills, as well as providing them with the capacity to participate and interact in wider social and cultural settings. Read more …

From little things big things grow
The third instalment of Nigel Paull’s account of a new BER library focuses on library design essentials. Read more …

RDA changes from AACR2

During July and August 2010 SCIS cataloguers took advantage of the free trial period to preview Resource Description and Access (RDA), the new standard which is intended to replace the Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules (AACR2).

SCIS will make initial preparations for the implementation of RDA by activating new MARC fields in our Voyager library management system when we upgrade to Voyager version 7 during the latter part of 2010. This will allow us to produce test records created according to RDA rules and evaluate the likely impact for schools. We will of course be consulting with school library management system vendors to ensure that any changes to SCIS records are compatible with school library systems.

RDA changes likely to have the most impact on school library systems are the replacement of the GMD with three new MARC fields: 336 (Content type), 337 (Media type) and 338 (Carrier type). For example a DVD title coded according to AACR2 as:

245 00 |a Avatar |h [videorecording]

would be coded according to RDA as:

245 00 |a Avatar
336      |a two-dimensional moving image |2 rdacontent
337      |a video |2 rdamedia
338      |a videodisc |2 rdacarrier

Most of the other RDA changes can be readily accommodated in the MARC fields currently used by SCIS. These changes will impact on data consistency rather than systems. For example in RDA the abbreviations N.T. and O.T. are spelled out as New Testament and Old Testament, but omitted in headings for individual books of the Bible. Thus a heading such as Bible. N.T. Corinthians becomes simply Bible. Corinthians.

For more information, including links to key presentations and articles about RDA, see the Australian Committee on Cataloguing.

Strategic review of SCIS

In June 2010 we invited SCIS subscribers to respond to a user survey, as part of a strategic review of SCIS. This review is being undertaken by library consulting company Libraries Alive! The review is to develop strategies to ensure that SCIS continues to meet the needs of its users into the future.

Strategic planning helps future direction
Strategic planning helps future direction

We were delighted to receive more than 1300 responses, which is a high response rate for a survey. Thank you to all the schools who took time to provide us with their views. Your comments clearly show that time savings are fundamental to the appeal of SCIS.

The consultants have delivered a draft report which notes the many benefits our customers experience using SCISWeb. These include school-ready subject headings, consistent quality records, effective support and use of the database to identify materials for purchase or classroom use. More information about the outcomes of the review will be provided here in our blog when the final report is available.