The Gambia National Library Services Authority (GNLSA) on Thursday met with stakeholders in the writing and publishing industry to discuss on the importance of International Standard Book Number (ISBN), International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) and the best practices in its acquisition in the book chain development and curriculum enhancement for school textbook and supplementary readers.
ISBN and ISSN are standard numbers issued on published books and serial publications respectively for identification purposes. The meeting held at the Region One Education Directorate Kanifing, was also meant to interact with serial publishers of newspapers and magazines on the best handling procedures in order to fulfill the legal obligations as per the (GNLSA) Act 2009.
According to librarians, their obligation is for every publisher to deposit two copies of the published book or newspaper to the Director General of GNLSA for preservation, failure of which, one is liable to prosecution to a fine not exceeding D5000. However, some publishers they said are defaulting in that area.
Speaking at the meeting, Matilda Johnson, Director General at GNLSA, highlighted the significance of the meeting, saying it will clear some of the misconception in the acquisition of ISBN and ISSN.
The meeting, she went on, will also showcase the value of ISBN as a unique serial identifier in the book chain industry globally with its regional identities and national specificities.
Johnson told the gathering that the ISBN is now issuing thirteen digits number instead of the previous ten digits.
Bakary Sanyang, Director of Bibliographic Services at GNLSA, said that as a national agency, they are mandated to submit to the international ISBN database in the United Kingdom, all ISBN for each year with full details of each author and publisher.
“This helps international publishers to identify books published in every country or region annually, and in the event that they are interested in the title, they would contact the author or publisher directly. In this connection, we are implicitly marketing your product globally”, he said.
Sanyang went on, “ I must admit that we are having some challenges with the ISSN publishers for their consistent failure in meeting their legal deposit obligation, although, some are often out of business and hence they fail on this obligation. However, as an interim measure, all the ISSN issued over the years would be reviewed and any serial that has not been published in the last six month would be declared null and void”.
Dr Burama L.J Jammeh, Director of Curriculum, Research and Development at MoBSE, also spoke on the importance of reviewing book before they are finally published to avoid error.
Hassoum Ceesay, Director of Copyright at the National Centre for Arts and Culture (NCAC), dilated on the copyright law, which protects a writer from infringement.
Ceesay said that writers are the main link in the book chain, and therefore called on them to honor the legal deposit of the two copies to the national library. He also called on writers to fully engage good editors to avoid sabotage on their work.
He maintained that the ISSN should not be abused and called on the librarians to first arrange with publishers before issuing them the standard numbers.
by Meita Touray