[Wikipedia-l] Book links

Toby Bartels toby+wikipedia at math.ucr.edu
Sat Aug 31 22:54:28 UTC 2002

AxelBoldt wrote:

>Toby Bartels wrote:

>>As time goes on, and more and more books are printed with their LC
>>numbers, that code would end up coming out as even better.

>Isn't it true that every book in the Library of Congress, i.e. pretty
>much every book in the English language, has an LC number, even if it
>isn't printed inside the book? If so, then LC numbers are close to
>ideal book identifiers.

I think that the LC tries to do everything that ever appears in the US;
given the US's global reach, that should be just about everything,
regardless of language.  So yes, it's great in theory.
The downside is that the book in your hands
is much more likely to contain the ISBN than the LC #.

Presumably this is even more true outside the US.
New books published in the US need to include their LC #s;
but is this true in the UK? in Germany? in China? in Zambia?
Probably not anymore.

>However, an ISBN -> {all equivalent ISBNs} converter would also be
>really nice. Personally, I think there's nothing wrong with the
>traditional method of identifying a book by title and author though.
>Spelling differences can always be solved by appeal to authority: use
>the spelling of the Library of Congress.

And if the LC spelling includes a diaeresis, how to we enter that?
The nice thing about using codes is that
people know that they need to look them up
and will copy them bit for bit, not misspelling names from memory.
But we need a code that you can easily look up
just from having the book in your hand,
and unfortunately that seems to only be the ISBN right now,
and that has its own problems, as you've mentioned.

-- Toby

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