[tweetmeme source=”Intellogist” only_single=false] When I was new to searching, I sometimes had the habit of deleting seemingly meaningless document identifier numbers out of literature abstracts I found. Now I know that these numbers play an important role in locating the print and/or full text version of those documents, and I always save them.
It’s good practice to keep a record of these numbers, especially if the non-patent literature was found through an abstract-only database like Compendex or Inspec. Read on to learn more about document identifiers, and how they can give you the edge in document retrieval.
Here is a quick primer on some different types of document identification numbers and their meaning.
The DOI system has been developed to act as a sort of permalink to an article’s “home page” on the web. Usually a DOI links to a publisher’s website. They protect against link rot and are a useful way to represent a document’s location online. Information about the document may change over time, but the DOI for a document will not change.
An ISSN represents a particular journal or serial publication (rather than a specific article). Keeping these numbers around is quite important. When you can’t buy the article online, you can use the ISSN to search for other libraries or organizations that have holdings for the particular journal in question.
Using an ISSN is far more efficient than searching on a publication’s name, especially for publications that have very broad or general names (e.g. “Computer World”). Running an ISSN search through the JISC-ADAT database assessment tool can show you which online databases have holdings; running it through WorldCat can show you which libraries have print holdings.
Like the ISSN, CODENs are used to unambiguously identify serials and periodicals. They are maintained by the American Chemical Society.
LCCN numbers can be helpful when attempting to retrieve a print record at the Library of Congress. If they can’t pull the document from the stacks using the bibliographic information, librarians can rely on the LCCN to cross-check possible other locations of the document.
Other “Accession Numbers”
“Accession numbers” in general are unique identifiers usually assigned by the database producer itself. These numbers don’t make any sense unless they are also paired with the name of the database in which the record was found. For example, a “Derwent Accession Number” is only useful to look up records in the Derwent World Patents Index (DWPI), and the Accession Number on an Inspec record is only useful to look up that record in the Inspec database. One of the main reasons to understand these numbers is that they sometimes appear in an Information Disclosure Statement (IDS) within a patent file history, and you need to use them to track down the reference document to find its bibliographic data.
What are your tips for tracking down hard-to-locate print copies? Share them in the comments!
This post was contributed by Landon IP Librarian Kristin Whitman. The Intellogist blog is provided for free by Intellogist’s parent company, Landon IP, a major provider of patent search, technical translation, and information services.