So if you have an ISBN, there are a variety of places you can look up what it represents, as discussed in the last post.
Books (at least for the past 40 some years) have ISBNs. But what about media (from the past few decades) other than books, like CD’s and DVD’s? They’ve got a barcode, but it’s not an ISBN. It’s a UPC (which is now actually called an EAN or a UCC-13). The same system used on any barcoded retail items you find at the store. Although, sadly, unlike ISBNs, EAN’s from CD’s, DVD’s etc aren’t typically recorded in our bibliographic records (why not??).
I don’t know of any great way free/cheap way to look up a EAN and figure out what it’s for. I don’t even know if there’s a database of such somewhere that if you have enough money you can access, or if blocks of EAN’s are just divied out to vendors, and there’s no central authority tracking how they use them.
But someone just brought my attention to upcdatabase.com, which is a community volunteer updated database of some UPCs. I was told it even has an API, although I haven’t been able to find it. But it looks like you can download an entire db dump if you want it.
Testing a few random CD’s from my collection, it’s coverage isn’t very good though. Which isn’t that shocking, since it’s volunteer compiled and there are millions (billions?) of EANs out there.
similar www.checkupc.com. Seems to have better coverage, but doens’t share their data. (Wonder if they’re getting it from a licensed source instead of volunteer submissions).
Hmm, if anyone would have a db of many many EANs, I’d think it would be Amazon, but I don’t think their API reveals that functionality. Actually, it looks like maybe it does. Darn, but if I start using that it’s really going to be irreplacable if Amazon takes their API away from me.
And wait a second, it looks like here’s a free resource from the identifier assigning authority itself, although no API. Wonder how mad they’d get (or what counter-measures they’d take) if I screen scraped.http://gepir.gs1.org/V31/xx/gtin.aspx?Lang=en-US. But strangely, it’s coverage doens’t seem to be as good as checkupc.com’s.
Okay, it turns out I don’t know much about what’s out there. Anyone know more? Is there a good reliable free/cheap source of EAN/UPC lookup?