3.203 citing e-documents, cont. (33)

Mon, 3 Jul 89 22:21:39 EDT

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 3, No. 203. Monday, 3 Jul 1989.

Date: Mon, 03 Jul 89 09:57:33 EDT
From: Duane Harbin <DHARBIN@YALEVM>
Subject: Re: 3.189 citing e-documents, cont. (160)

Regarding the use of the ISBN in identifying works in bibliographic citations:

It is important to realize that ISBN's (International Standard Book Numbers)
are assigned by publishers. They are used somewhat inconsistently, but
generally speaking, publishers treat them as inventory numbers. Thus a
publisher will keep the same ISBN for multiple printings (in some cases,
multiple editions) regardless of corrections or changes in the text.
Hardcover, paperback and special bindings of the same work have differing
ISBN's. If a work changes publisher, it changes ISBN, regardless of content.
The point to emphasize is that the numbers are intended more to
identify pieces rather than works, and serve publishers and booksellers
somewhat better than libraries and individuals.

The other difficulty is that unless you have access to a database containing
the information, bibliographic information is difficult if not impossible to
retrieve using an ISBN.

Thus although ISBN's might be a useful ADDITION to standard bibliographic
citations, they are not a substitute for traditionally supplied information.