International Standard Book Number
The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a unique numeric commercial book identifier based upon the 9-digit Standard Book Numbering (SBN) code created by Gordon Foster, Emeritus Professor of Statistics at Trinity College, Dublin, for the booksellers and stationers W.H. Smith and others in 1966.
- Occasionally, publishers erroneously assign an ISBN to more than one title — the first edition of The Ultimate Alphabet and The Ultimate Alphabet Workbook have the same ISBN, 0-8050-0076-3. Conversely, books are published with several ISBNs: A German, second-language edition of Emil und die Detektive has the ISBNs 87-23-90157-8 (Denmark), 0-8219-1069-8 (United States), 91-21-15628-X (Sweden), 0-85048-548-7 (England) and 3-12-675495-3 (Germany).
- in some cases, books sold only as sets share ISBNs. For example the Vance Integral Edition used only 2 ISBNs for 44 books.
- Gordon Fosters original 1966 report can be found at Informaticsdevelopmentinstitute.net
- See discussion of the history at isbn.org.