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eBooks: Why they break ISBNs

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Discussion of the disjoint between the print world identifiers called ISBNs and the digital world. This was a presentation given at Kohacon10 in Wellington October 2010

Discussion of the disjoint between the print world identifiers called ISBNs and the digital world. This was a presentation given at Kohacon10 in Wellington October 2010

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  • 1. eBooks: Why they break ISBNs Stuart Yeates http://www.nzetc.org/
  • 2. Digital Publishing It's different from print publishing
  • 3. Who we are
    • Unit of the Victoria University library
    • 4. Digital (re)publisher of documents used in teaching, learning and research
    • 5. TEI/XML, tomcat/cocoon/XSLT
    • 6. Out-sourced digitisation
    • 7. In-house authority control
  • 8. Demo 1 Search “ture pooti”
  • 9. Demo 2 Search “William Williams”
  • 10. Demo 3 Search “Robin Hyde”
  • 11. ePubs
    • Open standard for eBooks
    • 12. A zip file of all the same stuff you can put on a static website
    • 13. DAISY metadata for naviation
    • 14. XHTML, CSS, etc
      • We create ePubs by crawling our website
      • 15. Device not page does navigation
      • 16. grep dimensioned measurements from CSS
  • 17. ISBNs
    • Widely used in the print world to track editions
    • 18. Issued to publishers by a bureaucracy
    • 19. Used end-to-end in supply chain
    • 20. Printing, wharehousing, distribution, wholesaling, retailing, purchase, cataloging, circulation, …
  • 21. Print Runs
    • 99% of the time in traditional prublishing ISBNs are print run identifiers
    • 22. Print runs are extraordinarily expensive
    • 23. Print runs are a speculative gamble on the part of publishers
    • 24. Print runs have no direct analogue in the pure-digital model
  • 25. What's an edition?
    • Currecting a single-character OCR error?
    • 26. Authority control change in body?
    • 27. Authority control change in metadata?
    • 28. Decreasing image quality?
    • 29. Increasing image quality?
    • 30. Factual corrections?
  • 31. What's an edition?
    • It doesn't matter because all non-commercial ePubs are “digital photocopies” and don't quality for ISBNs anyway.
  • 32. What kind of identifier do we need?
  • 33. Free of bureaucracy
    • Arguments about what an “book” / “eBook” is
    • 34. Arguments about what an “edition” is
    • 35. Arguments about jurisdiction (cloud, ISO, etc)
    • 36. Baked-in assumptions about who produces what, why and for whom
    • 37. $$$ to support
  • 38. Enormously plentiful
    • Many more things appear to qualify as eBooks than books
    • 39. ISBNs are being reused
    • 40. Versions / updates
      • NZETC: 1300 works x regenerated monthly
  • 41. Naïve hashes insufficient
    • “Use an hash of the ePub as the identifier”
    • 42. Needs to be an identifier not the identifier
    • 43. The identifer can't be used within the ePub
    • 44. Many tools in the tool chain alter the ePub
  • 45. Questions
    • Does a bookseller's sticker on a book make it a “different” book?
    • 46. Does an author's signature?
    • 47. Does the intended market?