Bronwyn's Library Blog

Friday, February 25, 2005

ISBN-13 the new Y2K?

This year sees the change of ISBNs from 10 to 13 digits. It has been suggested that the change will bring problems similar to those faced with the change to the year 2000 (Y2K), when systems had to upgrade their software to make sure it would handle the change from 1999 to 2000 without reverting to a date of 1900.

Patricia Harris is the executive director of the National Information Standards Organization. Patricia has said "This truck is coming down the road at us." "There are folks in the IT world of ... systems who need to know about ISBN-13 and prepare for it."

I suspect that this changeover will be as gentle as that to Y2K. The change is aimed for implementation by 2007. Already several publishers have begun supplying both the 13 digit and the 10 digit ISBNs to their distributors. We will certainly need to investigate the capabilities of our systems to deal with 13 digits, and ensure that our suppliers are able to cope with the change.

For information on ISBNs in general, and on the changes and their implications, read the article by Robert Brumfield.


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