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Thursday, November 1, 2018

New: ISBNquest

If you work with books, you'll frequently need to deal with International Standard Book Numbers (ISBNs), those 13 digit (or 10 character for older publications) codes which uniquely identify the precise edition of a work. (For example, a hardcover, paperback, and each electronic format of the same book will have its own ISBN.) ISBNs are central to the publishing industry and booksellers, both on-line and brick and mortar.

As I read and review lots of books, I find myself frequently dealing with ISBNs, needing to interconvert the 13 and 10 digit forms, correct punctuation of the parts of ISBNs (some publishers are sloppy about this, while others have completely abandoned punctuation of ISBNs on the copyright page of their books), look up information about the work on Amazon.com, and compose a link so readers can buy the book with credit to Fourmilab's Amazon Associates account.

In 2008, I wrote a command-line utility in Perl, ISBNiser, which automates some of these tasks and, over the years, I have extended it, adding features such as automatic punctuation of ISBNs based upon the official ISBN Range database. Still, many people aren't comfortable with downloading, installing, and running a Perl program from the command line, so I thought I'd make its facilities available in a Web page accessible from any browser and add capabilities a Web-based application enable.

The result is ISBNquest, which provides the following utilities for ISBNs.

To use ISBNquest simply enter the ISBN (both 13 and 10 character forms are accepted, with or without delimiters between the parts) and press “Query”. Optional specifications allow you to specify the delimiter used between parts of the ISBN, credit purchases through the link it generates to an Amazon Associates account, and direct the link to any of the Amazon national Web sites.

ISBNquest home page
Direct link to ISBNquest query

Posted at November 1, 2018 16:26