February 17, 2012

ISBN Searching - Take 2

Last week I made some changes to how the ISBN searches in NHU-PAC work. This solved a problem for some people, the inability to find records with 10-digit ISBNs by scanning 13-digit barcodes, but created a different problem for other people.

The new ISBN index that was installed last week is an exact search index and it cannot be combined with any other search element. For example, you cannot search for a title and an ISBN combined using an exact ISBN index. Realistically, most of the time you wouldn't want to do that anyway. The point of using a numeric search is that it is specific and saves typing a bunch of stuff. However, it was brought to my attention that libraries who are working on deleting holdings for weeded items often limit their searches to their own location to narrow their searches to the records they actually hold. This is a good approach, except that with the ISBN index changes made last week it doesn't work.

After some discussion here in NHAIS Services we settled on a compromise between these issues:

  • The "ISBN =" search on the "Welcome to NHU-PAC" tab is the new one that will bring back records for a 10 or 13 digit ISBN search, regardless of which ISBN is actually present in the record. Limits are not available on this screen anyway.  
  • The "ISBN is" searches on the "Advanced Searching" tab (included on the "Boolean" and "Monographs" subtabs) have been switched back to the indexes that allow limits to be applied.
If you are searching by a 13 digit ISBN, using a barcode scanner or not, on the "Advanced Searching" tab and you don't find a match, you should do another search (title, author, lccn, etc.) to make sure there isn't a matching record that only contains a 10-digit ISBN.  This primarily affects records from before 2007, but a second search for a non-match is never a bad idea.

1 comment:

  1. I think it would be helpful to add to this post that users should be aware that if you come from the welcome tab to the advanced tab through the "refine search" option on an isbn search, it comes defaulted as an isbn= search which then needs to be changed to an "isbn is" before you limit your search.


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