Answered By: Harry L. Whitlock II
Last Updated: Jun 27, 2017     Views: 11

ISBN is an acronym that stands for International Standard Book Number. This is a 13 or 10 digit number assigned to all books and book-like publications that are published internationally.

According to the US ISBN Agency, "The purpose of the ISBN is to establish and identify one title or edition of a title from one specific publisher and is unique to that edition, allowing for more efficient marketing of products by booksellers, libraries, universities, wholesalers and distributors." (1).

The ISBN is 13 digits long if assigned on or after 1 January 2007, and 10 digits long if assigned before 2007. Having the ISBN of a book, such as a required text, is useful in obtaining the specific edition that a professor requires.

The University of Wyoming Libraries catalog may be searched by ISBN. To perform this search, use the "Number" search option by clicking on the green button in the lower-right side of the catalog. This link goes to the search page for numbers.

Click the radio button for "ISBN/ISSN" and enter the number in the search box. Click "Search." If the UW Libraries has the item, it will be displayed. If the search results display a message " UW libraries might not have this title or there is a misspelling," click the Prospector button to search available items from alliance libraries, or use Request It to obtain the book through interlibrary loan (ILL).

For journals, a similar number (ISSN) is used. For music, the ISMN is used.

Visit this webpage for more information about the ISBN and publishing in the United States: http://www.isbn.org/

Visit this webpage for information about the international use of ISBNs: https://www.isbn-international.org/

If you are looking for a textbook for a UW course, this video tutorial explains how to obtain the ISBN and search for available textbooks at UW or partner libraries. This link is to a step-by-step slideshow tutorial for locating a book by ISBN.

 

(1). http://www.isbn.org/faqs_general_questions

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