Bowker, the company that provides ISBNs (International Standard Book Numbers), has announced plans to introduce a new prefix, 979, for its 13-digit identifiers, because the high demand for the existing 978 numbers is depleting the available digits. Bowker also announced that “there will be no 10-digit equivalent to a 979 ISBN.” The 13-digit numbers were introduced in 2007, but many older systems still use the old 10-digit format after performing a conversion on the 13-digit version. That won’t be possible going forward, and Bowker says, “publishers and metadata recipients will need to confirm that their systems can reliably accept and maintain 13-digit ISBNs.” The new prefix is already being used in other countries, including France, Italy, and Korea.
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