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Topic: Searching for books without ISBNs

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Subject: Searching for books without ISBNs
Date Posted: 1/17/2011 1:17 PM ET
Member Since: 11/28/2010
Posts: 754
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How do you search for a book without an ISBN?  Is it just put the title in the search?  Or is there a special section?

 

Thanks!

Date Posted: 1/17/2011 1:29 PM ET
Member Since: 11/28/2010
Posts: 754
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When I click on an author I am taken to the page that all of their available books are on the left, and unavailable books are on the right.   But sometimes I find a book that is not posted on that main screen.  How is that?  Is it because the book does not have an isbn, and only comes up when you search the title?

Date Posted: 1/17/2011 1:30 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,384
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Books without ISBNs that have been entered into PBS are given a five or six digit one by PBS.  These are also referred to as short ISBNs.  The best way to search is by author or title on the drop down search options, either Book Browser or Advanced search.  

Please note that the author search is very specific.  The spelling, including middle initial or letter, must be exact for the books to link up on the author page.  Missing or adding a period after the middle initial causes books to not link.

Date Posted: 1/17/2011 1:36 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,384
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An example would be that the system sees the names John Robert Smith, John R Smith, John R. Smith and J. R. Smith as separate people, not one author.  When folks enter a book to post without an ISBN, they are not always aware of this computer view of reality.  In addition, PBS gets data from several places, which can use different data entry formats.  (This seems to be a issue for technical manuals.)  We have a volunteer group that goes in to clean up the data on author names.

Date Posted: 1/17/2011 1:56 PM ET
Member Since: 10/14/2010
Posts: 577
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As advice on doing searches for these books, if you don't find them at first.

Always change the search parameters from "All Books" to "Posted Books"

Try looking up the keywords in the title starting with one book and adding them as you go along until the displayed list of books is small enough for you.

If you still haven't found it

Then search for them using the authors last name only, this will bring up a big list but I have found several that I wanted that this was the only way that they were listed.

EDIT: As also said by Emily E (she beat me to the button).

The reason for this is given the culture of the small ISBN some people are very A-retentive about making sure that every piece of information is in the entry, others can have typos or other things that make the book not show up in a search.  Looking up the specific author can backfire because the system considers two spellings of an author to be two different authors.  The easiest example I have for that is that C J Cutliff Hyne and Charles John Cutliffe Write Hyne are considered separate authors by the system.  My favorite is this entry for "Various" authors.  Sometimes an ISBN doesn't make this better, the data entry team recently added the author to "Outward Bound" for me as it didn't even have an author listed (I wanted to WL it and I had to go to Amazon to even find it).



Last Edited on: 1/17/11 1:57 PM ET - Total times edited: 1