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Aschehougs konversasjonsleksikon. 1 : A-azymitter
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Questions > Book with many ISBNs

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message 1: by Halvor (Raknes) (last edited Jun 03, 2016 04:36AM) (new) - added it

Halvor (Raknes) | 4772 comments I've added the above first volume of a Norwegian Encyclopedia. It was published in 1968 so there's no ISBN number printed inside it, (btw. what's the terminology for the page inside a book where the ISBN is printed along with other technical and mercantile data?)

Only in the volumes 18 through 20 (published 1972-73) the ISBN is printed inside the volume.

When I added this book I used information from this page at the Norwegian National Library:
http://www.nb.no/nbsok/nb/9f038341d24...

As you can see it lists as many as 8 ISBNs. Doing searches on these numbers at isbnsearch.org yields consistently "Sorry, we could not find any information for this book. This is unusual; please try a different book."

Are these numbers correct? How where they assigned? I suppose I could ask the national Library, and I suppose I will if I don't get a good answer here.

As I mentioned, the last four volumes were printed with ISBNs inside. They had six different numbers, but they were explained with parentheses after each number in the following way:

(complete, h) - I suppose this must mean 'heftet', i.e. paperback, althoug I've never seen these large volumes appear as such)
(complete, red)
(complete, black leather back)
(single volume, h)
(single volume, red)
(single volume, black leather back)

Going with the numbers printed in volume 18, none of these are very similar to the ones listed at the web page I linked to above. In fact, they seem to be numbered incrementally as far as the last six ciphers go (except for the last one which I suspect may be a checksum number), e.g. 8203047165, 8203047173, 8203047181, etc. Volumes 19 and 20 have ISBNs that follow this scheme incrementally.

I have used the first ISBN for this book. What do I do with the other applicable numbers? Can several ISBNs be added to the same version?


message 2: by lethe (last edited Jun 03, 2016 04:59AM) (new)

lethe | 13732 comments Halvor wrote: "btw. what's the terminology for the page inside a book where the ISBN is printed along with other technical and mercantile data?"

It's called the colophon.

If you have this encyclopedia yourself, I would go with the ISBNs printed in those volumes according to the colour. So if you have the red version, use the ISBN for single volume, red. For the ones that do not have an ISBN, leave the ISBN field blank.

I see the National Library says "5th edition". Is yours the 5th edition as well? If it is earlier, it would explain why only the last 3 volumes have an ISBN and why the Library lists more, and different ones.

Don't use the complete ISBN if you enter the books as single volumes. The complete ISBN is only for the set.

Can several ISBNs be added to the same version?

No, per book page (edition), there is only room for one ISBN (and the corresponding ISBN-13).


Halvor (Raknes) | 4772 comments The volume digitally available to Norwegian IP addresses at the url you have checked appears to be the same edition as mine. "5th edition" refers to all multi-volume encyclopedias published by this publisher starting at the beginning of the 20th Century, differing considerably in size, layout and even name. This is explained on the first page containing prose text (I suppose you can't see it if you're not in Norway or have access to an applicable proxy server).

Now then, what does the plethora of ISBNs even mean? Do you have any idea?

Also, going by your instruction, the ISBN for this book should be removed as this is one of the earlier volumes (prior to volume 18) which does not contain an ISBN. (Except for the 8 separate ones at the national Library entry…).


message 4: by Krazykiwi (last edited Jun 03, 2016 05:34AM) (new)

Krazykiwi | 1767 comments Typically (I have a set of psychology textbooks that are like this)
It lists isbn's for:

1: The whole set sold together, hardback
2: A "master" isbn for this volume (the one the publisher probably actually lists it under on their site), no format
2: The individual volume, hardback
3: The individual volume, softcover
4: The individual volume, library binding
5: The master ebook ISBN (see 2, but this is the source all the other digital editions are created from)
6: The ebook Acrobat ADE drm edition (so, that's the epub)
7: The ebook Kindle edition (pointless, because kindle editions don't show isbn's on Amazon, but the publishers still like to track them)

and 6-8 again but for the whole set in one digital download. Which I make a grand total of 10 ISBN's printed in the front matter for a single volume.

In other words, they're just listing all the possible ISBN's that could contain this specific content, but the one I actually own personally is #3, and that's the one I'd list on here *for myself*. Unless I was in a completionist kind of mood, in which case, I'd add em all :)

ETA: Yes, the last digit of an ISBN is a checksum, and yes, the ISBN's for a single volume are typically assigned one after the other, only because whoever assigned them does them all at once, but it's not necessary.

ETA 2: Please don't ever remove valid isbn's, just because you don't happen to know what they are or have that specific copy, doesn't mean they aren't all correct and valid. Someone else will almost certainly have the exact copy *that* isbn refers to.


Halvor (Raknes) | 4772 comments I appreciate your response, Krazykiwi but my volume is special. Remember, we're talking 1968 and no ISBN assigned originally to this volume. Only the latest volumes published in 1972-73 had original ISBNs assigned. They had 6 ISBNs according to a scheme similar to the one you present. However, the entry for my volume 1 at the national library doesn't conform with this at all, i.e. the numbers aren't in sequence, there are 8 of them. Someone must have assigned these at a later date, following a different scheme which is unkown and which I want to know about. I'm a "completionist" and I'm likely to add the other 7 "versions" in any case, so we might as well figure out what each number represents.

Again, perhaps nobody here can answer this and I should inquire right away with the national Library…


message 6: by lethe (last edited Jun 03, 2016 05:59AM) (new)

lethe | 13732 comments Krazykiwi wrote: "Please don't ever remove valid isbn's, just because you don't happen to know what they are or have that specific copy, doesn't mean they aren't all correct and valid. Someone else will almost certainly have the exact copy *that* isbn refers to."

Thanks for your very thorough answer :)

But re removing ISBNs: when Halvor added the single volume, he picked the first ISBN in the book, which is for the complete set. Ergo, the wrong one.
ETA And the first volume doesn't have an ISBN at all, so I deleted it now and left a change comment.


message 7: by lethe (new)

lethe | 13732 comments Halvor wrote: "However, the entry for my volume 1 at the national library doesn't conform with this at all, i.e. the numbers aren't in sequence, there are 8 of them. Someone must have assigned these at a later date, following a different scheme which is unkown and which I want to know about."

I often see this in Worldcat as well. I think they are just different ISBNs assigned to different editions of the same book. Lexicons and dictionaries are forever being updated, and those new editions get new ISBNs.

This book record in Worldcat lists the complete set with one of the ISBNs you mentioned: https://www.worldcat.org/title/ascheh...

You can also have a look at their other entries: https://www.worldcat.org/search?q=asc...

For the edition you have, I wouldn't worry about it. The information of book-in-hand trumps all other information. But if/since you really want to know what those other ISBNs are, you'll have to ask the National Library.


message 8: by Krazykiwi (new)

Krazykiwi | 1767 comments Two additional thoughts. sbns (precursor to and same format as ISBN 10) were available and in use since 1967' so it is possible they had one from the start. More likely a post 1970 printing of the same editions included newly assigned ISBN.

Also, you asked how they are assigned: the publisher does that, not the library, which is one reason there is so much variance


message 9: by Krazykiwi (new)

Krazykiwi | 1767 comments Gah, sorry to follow up myself. Typing on my tablet is painful though.

Halvor: There is no "scheme" to isbn's. They are often sequential just by chance, but publishers typically receive them in blocks of 1000 (or for bigger publishers, 10,000) sequentially from the national ISBN issuing authority. How they use them is entirely arbitrary after that. They might be sequential, they might use numbers ending in 5n(checksum) for hardcover, or red covers, and 6n(checksum) for black. They might go backwards, or just pick one because it has 007 in it and they feel in a bond kind of mood. They might be filling in gaps leftover from random assignments to other books. The might be computer assigned entirely at random, or chosen by throwing darts, who knows.


Halvor (Raknes) | 4772 comments Sure, but when they assign 8 numbers to the same book there surely must be a thought behind it, each number representing something unique. Add to those 8 numbers 6 other ones again as is the case of volumes 18 - 20.

The six numbers printed inside the latter volumes each come with a description in parenthesis which I have detailed above, depending on the binding and whether taken as individual volume or as part of the entire 20-volume work.


message 11: by lethe (new)

lethe | 13732 comments Krazykiwi wrote: "or just pick one because it has 007 in it and they feel in a bond kind of mood."

Hehehe! Shaken, not stirred, of course.


message 12: by lethe (new)

lethe | 13732 comments Halvor wrote: "Sure, but when they assign 8 numbers to the same book there surely must be a thought behind it."

The National Library does not assign those numbers. As I said earlier, those ISBNs are probably from different editions/years.


Halvor (Raknes) | 4772 comments lethe wrote: The National Library does not assign those numbers. As I said earlier, those ISBNs are probably from different editions/years. "

What your saying here amounts to the numbers being erroneously assigned.

The editions previous to the fifth edition (the one at hand, 1968-1973) are also listed in the national library database, and they do not have ISBNs assigned.


message 14: by lethe (last edited Jun 03, 2016 07:54AM) (new)

lethe | 13732 comments Halvor wrote: "lethe wrote: The National Library does not assign those numbers. As I said earlier, those ISBNs are probably from different editions/years. "

What your saying here amounts to the numbers being erroneously assigned."


No, that's not what I'm saying. I'm saying that the publisher assigns those numbers, and that the Library merely lists the different ISBNs together for the different editions of this volume.

ETA Worldcat also has different ISBNs listed on one record: https://www.worldcat.org/title/ascheh...
They might be for the complete red and black editions, respectively, but we don't know.

We can all keep assuming until the cows come home, but if you insist on wanting to know why those different ISBNs are listed, ask the National Library.


Halvor (Raknes) | 4772 comments I've written an email to the publisher. If we're lucky we'll have an answer even before the return of our livestock.


message 16: by Krazykiwi (new)

Krazykiwi | 1767 comments I think I understand the question better now :)

Yes, each of the ISBN's uniquely identifies a specific edition, that's what they're for. No, there is no way (ever) to tell which specific edition just by looking at the number, because they are assigned arbitrarily. So yes, asking either the publisher or the library is probably the only way to find out.

Just because there are 8 editions listed, doesn't mean you personally have to figure out and add all 8, unless you really want to. Most people just add the one they have in front of them, and leave it at that, and that's ok.


message 17: by Halvor (Raknes) (last edited Jun 03, 2016 08:37AM) (new) - added it

Halvor (Raknes) | 4772 comments Most people wouldn't even bother dealing with reference books in the context of their Goodreads activities… ;-)


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