13 Digit ISBNs and Alice


Alice version 6 fully supports 13 digit ISBNs.


Although Alice version 5 has space to store the full 13 digits of the new ISBNs, it does not fully support them and existing catalogue records with 13 digit ISBNs may be overwritten during subsequent SCIS data loads.

What is the Solution?
The solution to this issue is to upgrade Alice to version 6.

Does this affect me?
If you do not load SCIS records into Alice then this does not affect you. If you have already been upgraded to Alice 6 then this does not affect you.

What should I do?
If you DO load SCIS records into Alice and have any version of Alice 5, DO NOT perform any more loading of SCIS records into Alice until your Alice has been upgraded to version 6.

Why does this happen?
The overwriting occurs because Alice 5 only indexes the first 10 digits of the ISBN even though it stores all 13 digits of an ISBN-13. This means that SCIS records loaded into Alice may incorrectly match existing catalogue records where the first 10 digits of the ISBN is the same; e.g. 9781740661102 would be matched by the other 99 ISBNs in the range 978174066100? to 978174066199? (It's 99 ISBNs not 999 because the final digit is a check digit and not part of the sequence.)

Are all catalogue records equally likely to be overwritten?
Older catalogue records with 10 digit ISBNs already stored in Alice will NOT be overwritten. Only recently loaded 13 digit ISBN entries in Alice may be affected.


How can I make Alice 6 Display 13 digit ISBNs?


To have Alice display 13 digit ISBNs you will need to enable 13 digit ISBNs in: System, Parameters, Management, General.
Click EDIT
Place a Tick in the Box 13 Digit ISBNs.
Click Save


1. Existing ISBNs will be displayed in 13 digit format even if they were entered in 10 digit format.

2. Newly entered 10 digit ISBNs will be converted to 13 digit ISBN format.

3. Any 'new series' ISBN, one that starts with 979 instead of 978 will always be displayed as 13 digits irrespective of this parameter setting because a new series 13 digit ISBN cannot be converted to 10 digit.

4. After enabling 13 digit ISBNs, any ISBN that still shows as 10 digits in Alice has failed the checksum test. Either the ISBN has been entered incorrectly or it was incorrect on the publication (it does sometimes happen!).

5. Whether you enable 13 digit ISBNs or not, the problem with existing catalogue records being overwritten by subsequent SCIS downloads will not occur with Alice version 6.

Page Last Updated: 2007.11.16