Links to International Standard Book Numbers (ISBN) can be created using the {{ISBN}} template. For example, {{ISBN|978-0-618-05676-7}} is rendered as ISBN 978-0-618-05676-7, which links to Special:BookSources/978-0-618-05676-7.



Template parameter


An ISBN can be included in templates such as the Citation Style 1 series by means of the |isbn= parameter.

The linking is done internally to the template using a module or a subtemplate. The "ISBN" string links to the article "International Standard Book Number", and the ISBN itself links to Special:BookSources.

Fishman, Stephen (May 2006). The Public Domain: How to Find & Use Copyright-free Writings, Music, Art & More (3rd ed.). Nolo. ISBN 978-1-4133-0454-1. OCLC 62742677.

ISBN template


An ISBN may be linked using the {{ISBN}} template by simply typing "{{ISBN|", the ISBN, and then the closing "}}" in wikitext, or by inserting the template using the visual editor with the ISBN as its first parameter. When you save your edit, the link to Special:BookSources is created automatically by the template. The template checks the ISBN for length, invalid characters – anything other than numbers, spaces, and hyphens, with "X" permitted as the last character in a 10-digit ISBN – and the proper check digit. If the ISBN is invalid, the template will display a red error message.

Markup Renders as
{{ISBN|0-14-020652-3}} (valid ISBN)
{{ISBN|020652-3}} (ISBN with wrong length)

ISBN 020652-3 Parameter error in {{ISBN}}: length

{{ISBN|0-14-020652-4}} (properly formatted ISBN with wrong checksum digit)

ISBN 0-14-020652-4 Parameter error in {{ISBN}}: checksum

ISBN cleanup / maintenance templates


Missing ISBNs can be noted with {{Lacking ISBN}} (renders as a hatnote) for a whole article or section or {{ISBN missing}} (renders as an [in-line] notation) for a specific reference.



ISBNs come in two styles, containing 10 digits or 13 digits, and are known as "ISBN-10" and "ISBN-13" numbers. Please use the ISBN-13 if both are provided by the original work. The ISBN-13 is often found near the barcode and will start with either 978- or 979-. However, if an older work only lists an ISBN-10, use that in citations instead of calculating an ISBN-13 for it. This is because ISBNs are often used as search strings and checksum differences between the two forms make it difficult to find items listed only under the other type.

ISBN-10 and ISBN-13 use different check digit algorithms to compute the last digit of the ISBN. The following tools will convert any ISBN-10 to an ISBN-13 along with the correct check digit value.

Stylistically, please:

  • Use 13-digit ISBNs, if both are provided by the original work, as these are now standard as of January 1, 2007, and issued to new books.
  • Use hyphens if they are included, as they divide the number into meaningful parts. The placement of hyphens varies depending on the value of the ISBN.

Here is an example of a book listing. Look on that page under "product details." There one can find these two ISBNs for that book:

ISBN-10: 1413304540
ISBN-13: 978-1413304541

Using "Click to Look Inside!" (a feature of the listing available above the cover picture) reveals that the proper hyphen placement is:

ISBN-10: 1-4133-0454-0

In tables (or other applications) where the letters ISBN would be redundant, the ISBNT template may be used instead.


In addition to identifying (a particular edition of) a book, ISBNs allow one to search for the book, both at libraries and bookstores.

You can enter an ISBN on this Wikipedia ISBN search page. Spaces and hyphens in the ISBN do not matter.

ISBN links, or the ISBN search, take users to a special book source page, Wikipedia:Book sources. The page contains links to library catalogs and bookstores where one may search for the book corresponding to the ISBN. Note that you can also link directly to the [[Special:BookSources/...]] page — this may occasionally be useful when appearance is an issue. For example; one of the above ISBNs could be searched with this wikilink: Special:BookSources/9781413304541

Uses and limitations of ISBNs


ISBNs only identify a particular edition of a book, and a reader with only an ISBN will not see the full range of versions of the book.

Please do not use ISBNs alone to identify books: add a proper citation as well as the ISBN. Also note that ISBNs are not required of citations; popular citation styles like Chicago, MLA, and APA do not use ISBNs. See Wikipedia:Manual of Style, Wikipedia:Cite your sources.

To suggest additions to the page, see Wikipedia talk:Book sources.

Note that books before about 1970 usually do not have an ISBN (although if published in the UK during the 1960s, they may have an SBN). One place to get the numbers is the Library of Congress catalog, although this will tend to give an American ISBN over, say, an Indian (see one of the National Depository Centres) or Australian (see National Library Australia) ISBN. For a Canadian number, you can use the Canadian ISBN Service System – CISS. If you are adding an ISBN, remember to add only the ISBN for the edition actually cited in the article; a different edition may have different pagination which does not correspond with the citations in the article, and in some cases may even have significantly different content.

Also, note that a registered ISBN, even one which appears with a corresponding book page on a major book distributor database such as, is not definite proof that such a book exists. The ISBN is assigned before the book is actually produced, so the publisher can advertise it – but not all such plans come to fruition, any more than in other enterprises. In addition, ISBN and registration seems to have been abused in attempted hoaxes on Wikipedia in the past. National library catalog systems are worth checking: if a book is published in the UK, it has to be sent to the British Library, and if the British Library includes physical dimensions of a book in their catalog system, there's a fair chance it actually exists!

Books are, of course, an excellent source of their own ISBNs; however, a tiny proportion are printed wrongly.

SBNs: a precursor to ISBNs


In the United Kingdom, before ISBNs were created, there was the Standard Book Number (SBN). To turn an SBN into an ISBN, simply add a preceding zero. So SBN 583-11745-7 becomes ISBN 0-583-11745-7. There is a {{SBN}} template which will also provide a link to Wikipedia:Book sources to search for the SBN with the preceding zero added, so SBNs can be entered as printed, and do not have to be converted.

Missing or invalid ISBNs


Articles that do not have any ISBNs can be tagged using {{Lacking ISBN}}. Entries that are missing the ISBN can be tagged with {{ISBN missing}}.

Entries with invalid ISBNs that are nonetheless printed in a book can be tagged with {{Listed Invalid ISBN}}. Also, if particular ISBNs in a list of ISBNs are known to be invalid, this can be indicated by providing corresponding invalid1=yes to invalid9=yes parameters in the {{ISBN}} or {{ISBNT}} templates.

See also