Posting to Autocat
On 19/11/2011 02:30, mike tribby wrote:
Publishers purchase their ISBNs in various sizes of blocks and the sad but immutable fact is that they sometimes, either out of venality, ignorance, or some other unpleasant motivation, re-use their ISBNs, possibly comforted by the thought that they paid for it, and they’re going to get all the use they can out of their ISBN block purchase.
The brave new world to which you refer and its herald RDA will likely have little to do with publishers, whether intentionally or not, upsetting our bibliographic-control apple cart by reusing ISBNs. As Ian’s posting suggested, that’s one reason we have subfield z available in the 020. Some publishers make it a practice to reuse ISBNs. In some cases they have been apprised of the error of their ways– and yet they persist.
Publishers have a completely different attitude (i.e. business attitude) toward books and metadata than libraries do. Publishers are interested in money (understandably enough) and therefore, if an item has been out of print for awhile, it effectively doesn’t exist in their universe any longer. Therefore, reusing ISBNs is no problem in their view since it still provides a single point of reference to the products they are currently creating. Therefore, from the publisher’s point of view, there is no error in reusing an ISBN because it conflicts with none of their own business practices.
In the larger world however, ISBNs have taken on a use that, in the publisher’s opinion, is incorrect since ISBNs should be applicable only to the products being currently published. Therefore, the problem is not with them (in their view) but with everybody else.
Unfortunately, I agree that publishers probably won’t change their current practices because they do not see it as in their interests to do so. It would be up to the library/bibliographic community to somehow make it worth their while to concern themselves with matters that do not affect their business.
This is a great example of RDA and publishers. If publishers won’t even deal with the ISBNs, why in the world would they be more willing to give us RDA-compliant metadata when they don’t give us AACR2? I can’t see it.