In my bibliography, I want to link the ISBN number to an actual website. My question is: which website is recommended to be used? Is there some 'neutral' source that I can expect to be still functioning in 5 years and that will return reliable results?

IBSN numbers are apparently provided by the International ISBN Agency, so this would clearly be the best source. Turns out, however, that they do not offer an ISBN lookup! I am currently considering two options:

Google Books: http://www.google.comco.uk/search?tbo=p&tbm=bks&q=isbn:0060930314&num=10

ISBNSearch.org: http://www.isbnsearch.org/isbn/0060930314

Both appear to have their commercial interest, but they appear to be reliable enough. I would prefer Google. Or is there any other more recommended website?

  • 3
    Have you considered a 'copyright' library such as the Library of Congress, British Library, etc.?
    – Joseph Wright
    Apr 28, 2013 at 9:00
  • @JosephWright PS thanks for the tip, but I found those libraries do not have all ISBNs that I might use (I tried a few and they returned no results).
    – user
    Apr 28, 2013 at 9:03

3 Answers 3


You could use worldcat.org, it is built and maintained collectively by the participating libraries around the world (see Wikipedia article). They offer ISBN search, e.g. www.worldcat.org/search?q=isbn:0060930314


Google Books is a great website and there’s nothing wrong with using it for your purpose. But if you don’t want to be dependent on Google you could use the following sites:

Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Special%3ABookSources&isbn=0060930314

The downside for Wikipedia is that it doesn’t show the book title and one has to search another time for the book. But it’s ad free and certainly still online in five years.

But I’d suggest OpenLibrary: http://openlibrary.org/search?isbn=0060930314

Non-profit, ad free, part of the Internet Archive. Also high possibility of availability in five years.

  • Thanks. I see that OpenLibrary lists two results though... that doesn't look right, does it? Apr 28, 2013 at 9:59

http://www.bookfinder.com/ has been around for a long time and they claim they never charge a markup from search results, so although not neutral as such maybe useful?

There is also http://www.openisbn.com/ which says

OPENISBN is a personal project dedicated to provide its users ISBN search services and ISBN data, introduction, book reviews, book preview, free ebooks and book price comparison for your specific book.

Possibly something that will not be around for decades, but it sounds at least very neutral.

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