MEMORY OF DAVID WHITAKER - ONE OF THE KEY PERSONS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE STANDARD BOOK NUMBER (SBN) – THE PRECURSOR TO THE ISBN 10.08.2021. News The International ISBN Agency informed the public about the death of one of the earliest champions of book numbering, David Whitaker. Because of his immeasurable contribution to the world of books, it is our duty to share with you some information about this remarkable man. Based in London, UK, he worked with his father in the family firm from the 1950s. The family firm was J. Whitaker and Sons Ltd - at that time prominent as the publisher of The Bookseller magazine and of the famous Almanack, as well as for producing lists of forthcoming books in the UK and for developing new services to assist the book supply chain. David Whitaker became one of the key players in the establishment of standard book numbering (SBN) - the precursor to the ISBN. David was ideally placed to propose that J. Whitaker and Sons should embed the book number in their forthcoming book lists so making the SBN “as much a part of the book as the name of the author and title “. The SBN was introduced in the UK in 1967 and enjoyed early success with David ensuring that J. Whitaker and Sons became the first operational SBN Agency in the world. The system was also quickly adopted in the US, with early interest from Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Germany among others. David helped to prepare the way for international standardization and was the Chairman of the first ISO Working Group. The text was finalized in a little over two years and ISO 2108 (the ISBN Standard) was published in 1972. Aside from his involvement in ISBN, he was also editor of The Bookseller between 1977 and 1979 and Chairman of J. Whitaker and Sons until he retired in 1997. David was made Officer of the British Empire (OBE) in the Queen's Birthday honours in 1991. Share  Events NewsAnnouncementExhibitionPromotionVisitExpert MeetingConcertVirtual ExhibitionOther news Events 24.09.2021. 23.09.2021. 20.09.2021.