OCLC’s Xiaoming Liu sent word to the xidentifier-l mailing list on 11 February about some new features to xISBN. The xISBN API documentation has been updated to include it. You can now page through results at increments of your choosing. Along with the other metadata available, you can now ask for Library of Congress Control Numbers and cities of publication, and it’ll tell you if it knows. Liu gave this example which asks for only LCCNs and cities. And xISBN now returns full author names, as shown in this other example. Check the API for more — these are just recent additions.
ThingISBN Adds LCCNs, OCLC Numbers from last week explains how thingISBN, LibraryThing‘s xISBN equivalent, can now also return LCCNs and OCLC numbers if you ask if, as in this example.
The Library of Congress Control Number is the unique identifying number assigned to new things acquired by the Library of Congress. It was in the news lately because of the new LCCN permalink service, a very nice way of getting reliable access to the LC’s bibliographic metadata.
The OCLC number is an equivalent number assigned by OCLC for things in WorldCat. About a year ago the numbers, which go up by one each time something new is added, hit 100,000,000.
With these new services it’s easier to acquire useful metadata in a nice easy-to-use format. You can take an ISBN, find out more ISBNs, ask LC for what it knows about them, and so on. All three services will be useful for FRBRization projects. You may wonder why there are so many unique identifying numbers for books, but that’s just the way big databases work, and LC and OCLC are so enormous and copied that other people care about the control numbers they assign.