Integrating into the global knowledge industry

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Offline Badshah Mamun

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Integrating into the global knowledge industry
« on: January 29, 2015, 05:41:56 PM »
Integrating into the global knowledge industry

The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a unique numeric commercial book identifier based upon 9-digit Standard Book Numbering (SBN), and International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) is the standardised 8-digit international code that uniquely identifies a serial publication of periodicals, journals and newsletters. ISSN and ISBN codes are similar in concept.

These codes are assigned by a network of national centres, usually located at national libraries and coordinated by the ISSN International Centre based in Paris. The International Centre is an intergovernmental organisation created in 1974 through an agreement between the UNESCO and the French government. The International Centre maintains a database of all ISSNs assigned worldwide.  It has also been very widely adopted - more than 200 countries and territories recognise and use the ISBN. As an International Standard, it is very important that there are clearly established lines of responsibility and governance.

The identification numbers are essentially a product identifier used by publishers, booksellers, libraries, internet retailers and other supply chain participants for ordering, listing, sales records and stock control purposes. This number identifies the registrant as well as the specific title, edition and the format. It benefits and allows publishers, book suppliers and libraries worldwide to easily locate and identify all publications internationally from any location. It allows quick access to information about publications in book-trade directories and bibliographic databases. It allows fast and efficient ordering and distribution of publications. Any book made publicly available, whether for sale or on a gratis basis, can be identified by these numbers.

The certificate issued by the registrar of copyright constitutes prima-facie evidence of ownership of copyright. In some countries, the use of identification number to identify publications has been made into a legal requirement. It does not convey any form of legal or copyright protection. But in Bangladesh, registration of copyright under the Copyright Act is voluntary and not obligatory. Bangladesh Directorate of Archives and Libraries is the regulating authority.

International ISBN Agency policies set out for the assignment of an ISBN or an ISSN and maintain the publication or publisher's name to create, manage in metadata, and administrative data. The service to make ISBN and associated metadata available to other registration agencies and to users of the ISBN system in compliance with policies set out by the International ISBN agency and to collate and maintain statistical data on its ISBN-related operations and report these at the stipulated intervals to the International ISBN agency.

Bangladesh authority provides the number allocation service to the concerned publishers and individual authors from the National Library following the stipulated policies of the ISBN authority, London. Bangladesh is to pay ISBN subscription to British ISBN authority but the National Library does not charge any fee for the ISBN allotted under the copyright law of Bangladesh. All the national authorities are obliged to submit relevant data about publishers in their respective countries and territories to the Global Register.

 Readers, publishers, translators and researchers throughout the world can carry out simple searches on the data and the register will display basic information about the publisher. There are options of registration of data users for a very quick, easy and free process to get excess to these data. The Global Register contains data on over a million ISBN prefixes and publishers. It is compiled and revised at least annually.

Unfortunately, the ISSN and ISBN numbers issued by Bangladesh authority is not available to readers around the world. The Bangladeshi ISBN agency is not entering the data into the server of International ISBN Agency for cloud open source computing. Sometime they issue multiple numbers of ISBN at a time to the publishers without prefixes. Publishers and illustrators are using false barcode for want of ISBN.

Authors, publishers and others are deprived of the advantages of registration. None can figure out the custodians of the copyrights, the authors or publishers, and even the name of the title. International publishers Association (IPA) and international book importers, translation right agents and researchers are unable to reach the information on specific book data by entering ISBN number in the internet search engines.

We need an updated, modern copyright framework with global internet access through valid ISBN, ISSN. An updated, modern copyright framework would eliminate the problems in the Book & Publishing industry a good deal, and guarantee effective global recognition of the book/s, remuneration of the authors and other right holders in the competitive marketplace. Alternatively, Bangladesh can establish an author and publisher-owned organisation to license reproduction rights of books and publications. Collective management organisations are protected by Bangladesh Copyright Law, clause No. 41-47.

Any authority in the private sector, under the management of publishers, can set up a server with accurate barcode of ISBN and all metadata of books with details about the author, publisher, date of first publication, copyright holders, language of books, short synopsis of the books with standard subject classification, image of cover of the books and new ISBN, if necessary.

Bangladesh cannot stay away from the global family of publishers and other associations. It needs International Memberships and Affiliations: The International Publishers Association (IPA) is an international industry federation representing all aspects of book and journal publishing. Bangladesh also needs the membership of IFRRO (International Federation of Reproduction Rights Organisations) - the main international network of collective management organisations and creators' and publishers' associations in the text and image spheres. The International Advancement Programme from Copyright Clearance Centre (CCC) is dedicated to the progress of collective licensing efforts around the world. An early action can facilitate Bangladesh to enter into global book market and get integrated into global knowledge industry.

M S Siddiqui
Legal Economist

Md. Abdullah-Al-Mamun (Badshah)
Assistant Director, Daffodil International University