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Introduction/ISBN Agency in Taiwan

ISBN Agency in Taiwan

Since 1970, the International Standard Book Number (ISBN) has been internationally recognized as the identification system for the publishing industry and book trade. An ISBN accompanies a monographic publication from its production and onwards throughout the supply and distribution chain.

The ISBN system serves as a key element of ordering and inventory system for publishers, booksellers, wholesalers, libraries and other organizations. It is the basis for collecting data on new and forthcoming editions of monographic publications for directories used throughout the book trade. The use of ISBN also facilitates rights management and the monitoring of sales data for the publishing industry.

In 1988, the National Central Library (NCL) of Taiwan was designated to be responsible for the ISBN system. In July of 1989, the NCL assigned its first ISBN. In the beginning, 195 publishers joined the system. As of June 2010, approximately 20,000 publishers had prefixes assigned. About 97% of the publishers are now using the ISBNs which carry the bar code in Taiwan.

In July of 1991, the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) of the Ministry of Economic Affairs promulgated the Chinese National Standard CNS 12864 Z7212 which stipulates the principles and procedures for international standard book numbering in Taiwan. Since 2007 ISBNs contained 13 digits. The NCL revised the Chinese National Standard CNS 12864 again and reimplemented it by referring to important documents(e.g.,Guidelines for Implementation of 13-digit ISBNs, ISBN Standard (ISO 2108), ISBN Users’ Manual 5th ed. 2005).

The ISBNnet database collects all ISBN/CIP bibliographic records which have been published in Taiwan area. In providing the newest books information and correct publishers’ directory, ISBNnet maintains database to meet users’ demands any time. Libraries and library system have been using ISBN/CIP bibliographic database for acquisition and cataloging. The selected new books with cover-images, content / author introductions, award records and reviews are revised monthly. Users are welcomed to diverse access point to search and get authorized accounts to download free bibliographic records through friendly WebPages.

On November 4, 2011, the NCL completed administrative procedures and announced operating principles for e-book ISBN applications. The procedures explain and introduce various aspects of e-book ISBN, including scope of application, compilation principles, display and print location, and extended applications of e-book section identification codes.

In addition, this database support publications such as Taiwan Publishing and Reading (issued quarterly)《臺灣出版與閱讀》. It is distributed free of charge to all major public libraries, college and school libraries, publishers and booksellers. The fulltext of this Quarterly can be downloaded on the ISBNnet.