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isbntools 2.0.6

Extract, clean, transform, hyphenate and metadata for ISBNs (International Standard Book Number).

Latest Version: 4.3.14


isbntools provides several useful methods and functions to validate, clean, transform, hyphenate and get metadata for ISBN strings.

Typical usage (as library):

#!/usr/bin/env python
import isbntools

Several scripts are provided to use from the command line:

$ to_isbn10 ISBN13

transforms an ISBN10 number to ISBN13.

$ to_isbn13 ISBN10

transforms an ISBN13 number to ISBN10.

$ isbn_info ISBN

gives you the group identifier of the ISBN.

$ isbn_mask ISBN

masks (hyphenate) an ISBN (split it by identifiers).

$ isbn_meta ISBN

gives you the main metadata associated with the ISBN (uses, to use the Google Books service enter isbn_meta ISBN goob.

$ isbn_editions ISBN

gives the collection of ISBNs that represent a given book (uses

$ isbn_validate ISBN

validates ISBN10 and ISBN13.

$ ... | isbn_stdin_validate

to use with posix pipes (e.g. cat FILE_WITH_ISBNs | isbn_stdin_validate).

$ isbn_from_words "words from title and author name"

a fuzzy script that returns the most probable ISBN from a set of words! (You can verify the result with isbn_meta)!

$ isbntools

writes version and copyright notice.

Many more scripts could be written with the isbntools library, using the methods for extraction, cleaning, validation and standardization of ISBNs.

Just for fun, suppose I want the most spoken about book with certain words in his title. For a quick-and-dirty solution, enter the following code in a file and save it as

#!/usr/bin/env python
import sys
import urllib2
from isbntools import *

query = sys.argv[1].replace(' ', '+')
SEARCH_URL = "" % query

headers = {'User-Agent': 'w3m/0.5.2'}
request = urllib2.Request(SEARCH_URL, headers=headers)
response = urllib2.urlopen(request)
content =

isbns = get_isbnlike(content)

for item in isbns:
    ib = get_canonical_isbn(item, output='isbn13')
    if ib: break

print("The ISBN of the most `spoken-about` book with this title is %s" % ib)
print("... and the book is:")

Then in a command line (in the same directory):

$ python 'noise'

In my case I get:

The ISBN of the most `spoken-about` book with this title is 9780143105985

... and the book is:

{'Publisher': u'Penguin Books', 'Language': u'eng', 'Title': u'White noise',
'Year': u'2009', 'ISBN-13': '9780143105985', 'Authors': u'Don DeLillo ;
introduction by Richard Powers.'}

Have fun!


From the command line enter (in some cases you have to preced the command by sudo):

$ pip install isbntools


$ easy_install isbntools


$ pip install isbntools-2.0.6.tar.gz

(first you have to download the file!)

For Devs

If you need high quality metadata in your app, the only solution is to use polling of several providers.

You can extend the lib by using the classes and functions exposed in, namely:

  • webservice a class that handles the access to web services (just by passing an url) and supports gzip. You can subclass it to extend the functionality… but probably you don’t need to use it! It is used in the next class.
  • webquery a class that uses webservice to retrive and parse data from a web service. You can build a new provider of metadata by subclassing this class. The following classes do that (by using the call pattern). His main methods allow passing custom functions (handlers) that specialize them to specific needs (data_checker and parser).
  • googlebooks a class that retrives and parses book metadata, using Google Books API (you only have to provide an ISBN).
  • wcat a class that retrives and parses book metadata, using the xisbn service (you only have to provide an ISBN).
  • wcated a class that retrives and parses collections of ISBNs related with a given book, using the xisbn service (you only have to provide an ISBN).
  • isbndb a class that retrives and parses book metadata, using the service (you only have to provide an ISBN and an API key).

All these classes follow a simple design pattern and, if you follow it, will be very easy to integrate your classes with the rest of the lib.

Known Issues

  1. The meta method and the isbn_meta script sometimes give a wrong result (this is due to errors on the service), in alternative you could use the Google Books service (e.g. isbn_meta 9780143105985 goob).
  2. The isbntools works internally with unicode, however this doesn’t solve errors of lost information due to bad encode/decode at the origin!
  3. Periodically new blocks of ISBNs are issued to agencies. The range of these blocks is on a database that mask uses. So it could happen, if you have a version of isbntools that is too old, mask doesn’t work for valid (recent) issued ISBNs. The solution? Update “isbntools“ often!
File Type Py Version Uploaded on Size
isbntools-2.0.6.tar.gz (md5) Source 2014-03-14 21KB