I was catching up on the way into work with the latest episode of Greg Schwartz’s (always entertaining) Uncontrolled Vocabulary discussion/podcast (ep 13) As per usual some interesting topics: anonymous blogging; Mudflap Girl; why Marybeth Peters, the US Register of Copyrights doesn’t own a computer; and also the story of how the Harvard Coop tried to stop students writing down the price and ISBN information from books claiming that the book ISBNs were their intellectual property. It was a story that amused me greatly last week, but the discussion of it brought out a personal bug bare / hobby horse moment for me. I know for some people it’s apostrophes, and other grammatical errors (this blog is probably full of them) but for me it is when people say ‘ISBN number’. Greg, and at least one other contributor said ‘ISBN number’ in the discussion.
For those wondering where I am pedantically going here, ISBN stand for International Standard Book Number. So whilst it is fine to say ISB Number or just ISBN, saying ISBN Number actually means you’re repeating yourself and saying International Standard Book Number Number – there is no such thing, it’s like saying telephone number number.