xISBN Tips and Tricks

One question that was asked at the OCLC Web Services Bootcamp at VALA was if the xISBN service handled both 10 and 13 digit ISBNs. The answer is yes. You can send either a 10 or 13 digit ISBN for the same book to the service and you will get back the same response. Case in point Learning Python has both a 10 and 13 digit ISBN. The requests http://xisbn.worldcat.org/webservices/xid/isbn/0596002815?method=getMetadata&format=xml&fl=* and http://xisbn.worldcat.org/webservices/xid/isbn/9780596002817?method=getMetadata&format=xml&fl=* Get the same response back. With the getEditions method all the same editions are returned but if a 10 digit ISBN is sent than 10 digit ISBN are used in the response and vice versa. Additionally if you want to convert from 10 to 13 digital form or vice versa. The xISBN provides special method sfrom doing this: to13 and to10 to10 converts a 13 digit ISBN to its 10 digit equivalent to13 does the reverse. Another thing you may not know about the xISBN services is that you can use it to find free ebooks. Simply add the library parameter and set it to freeebook. Example request for a free ebook http://xisbn.worldcat.org/webservices/xid/isbn/0520235754?method=getEditions&format=xml&fl=url&library=freeebook If a free ebook is available the service will set the stat field equal to ok. If a free ebook isn't available then the stat field is set to invalidId. The response will include a url field. Please note that the url field can have multiple values and the first value is ALWAYS a link to WorldCat so you'll need to parse out the url for the free ebook. This is a little easier to do in the JSON response format than the XML. For more information about the xISBN API visit http://xisbn.worldcat.org/xisbnadmin/doc/api.htm

  • Karen Coombs

    Karen Coombs

    Senior Product Analyst