What is the real difference between these two barcodes? I don't get it.

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What is the real difference between these two barcodes? I don't get it.

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1athenaharmony
aug 20, 2014, 10:24pm

So, not wanting to be an unnecessary bother only hours after getting my CueCat, I've done my research and I think I understand the differences between a UPC bar code and an ISBN bar code. These, to my understanding, include...

1) ISBN bar codes have the book's ISBN, starting with "978," underneath/above the bar code
2) UPC bar codes have groupings of five numbers under the lines of the bar code, instead of groupings of six numbers like on the ISBN bar codes
3) CueCat's "gibberish" output includes "cGf2" in the middle if the bar code is an ISBN bar code

Now, if I'm correct about that, it makes it very confusing to try to wrap my head around this problem: I've tried scanning three books, of which 2 are paperbacks and one is a hardcover. All three books have a number beginning with "978" under the bar code on the back cover; all three have groupings of six numbers (not five) under the bar code, and all three put out similar strings of "gibberish:"

.C3nZC3nZC3n2CND0DxP1DxnY.cGf2.ENr7C3bYDxfXE3zWD3zWDNnZ. (Hardcover)

.C3nZC3nZC3n2CND0DxP1DxnY.cGf2.ENr7C3bWC3D0Dhz6E3PZCNnZ. (Paperback 1)

.C3nZC3nZC3n2CND0DxP1DxnY.cGf2.ENr7CNT7DNn0CNvXC3zYCxP2. (Paperback 2)

Only the hardcover comes up with any result at all. For the other two, the CueCat seems to take away the 978 and other numbers on its own, leaving me with a number that doesn't work with LT. For example, when I scan Paperback 1 into the "Add Books" box, I get "CueCat entry: 0330477595." Paperback 2 results in "CueCat entry: 1885071620." These are basically the ISBNs with the 978 removed. The bar codes look exactly the same, and there is no "ISBN bar code" on the inside cover of either of the paperbacks.

I have scanned other paperbacks with similar bar codes and they are O.K. (thank heaven; I was getting really upset, as the vast majority of my books are mass market paperbacks, and if the CueCat was going to reject all of them, I was in trouble). I don't understand what, if anything, makes CueCat misread these two bar codes. Has anyone else had problems with nearly identical bar codes just refusing to give the right result?

2legallypuzzled
aug 21, 2014, 5:49am

The code for Paperback 1 resolves to 9780330477598, which, when converted to ISBN-10, becomes 0330477595, because the check digit at the end has to change. That should have pulled up The Secret Keeper. Is that the book you scanned?

For Paperback 2, the scan resolves to 9781885071620 or 1885071620 (in this case, the check digits happen to match). That should be Pocket Ref.

When you say the number "doesn't work" with LT, where is it failing? Are you attempting to add books through a source like Amazon or Overcat, or a smaller library?

3athenaharmony
aug 21, 2014, 8:37pm

I've been using Overcat, which doesn't seem to recognize either of those numbers as the ISBNs for the correct books (yes, you have the correct titles). It just gives me the "Cuecat entry" numbers and doesn't interpret them as ISBNs.

4athenaharmony
aug 21, 2014, 8:38pm

I also tried copying and pasting the strings of 10 numbers above and LT didn't recognize them as valid ISBNs for some reason.

5legallypuzzled
aug 22, 2014, 6:42pm

I'd suggest switching to Amazon as a source, just to test. If it works, then sadly Overcat doesn't have those titles (I'd expect the first one to be in there, though). If even Amazon doesn't work, then there's a different problem.

6athenaharmony
aug 23, 2014, 3:39pm

Thanks! I'll try it out!

7athenaharmony
aug 23, 2014, 4:02pm

Amazon.ca worked! Thanks for the help. This is going to make cataloging books after library visits much quicker.

8legallypuzzled
aug 23, 2014, 4:33pm

Great. You might want to switch back to Overcat to see how many you can pick up that way, then scan the others with Amazon. Many people are displeased with the quality of Amazon's data, but Overcat data comes from various libraries, so it's usually better.

9jjmcgaffey
aug 23, 2014, 10:30pm

Or if you can think of a library or library group that's likely to have the books, if you scan and find them there you'll be adding them to Overcat for others' use later. I've got about 20 sources, from the Library of Congress to ACCESS Pennsylvania (not near me) to my local library(ies); if a search fails, it's easy to click on another from the list that pops up in the results box. If all of them fail, I'll try an Amazon, but their data is often wonky and a successful search there doesn't add the result to Overcat.

Actually, if you're getting books from the library, add your library to your sources. It's probably available, and will give you pretty close to 100% results.

10athenaharmony
aug 24, 2014, 4:42pm

I'd never thought of that! Thanks.

11jjmcgaffey
aug 25, 2014, 12:40am

Yeah, it seems so obvious - it only took me a couple years after the new Add Books page appeared to think of it. I was being utterly frustrated by a book and adding source after source to try to find it...and there was my library, the one I'd checked the book out of...

12bnielsen
aug 27, 2014, 5:21am

I tend to pick up a few books when on holiday in another country and now my children have started bringing me books from their journeys too, so once in a while I get a book that is really a challenge to find in any of LT's sources. AND once in a while when I _do_ find it, the library source has a really wonky catalogueing practice or a not-so-good z39.50 profile resulting in some very strange data. (I tried to make sense out of the character issues with the Subject field and some of my books in Catalan came back to haunt me :-)