[LibX] in Firefox 3.5 LibX is underlining phone number as if they were ISBN

Matthias Liffers matthias.liffers at gmail.com
Thu Jan 28 09:30:10 PST 2010


Hi Victoria (and list),

As far as I'm aware, LibX runs each 10-digit number it finds past a
little piece of code that sees if it follows the proper ISBN format.
Some technical information about this format is available:

http://www.geo.unizh.ch/~uruetsch/docs/isbn.html

There's at least one online utitlity that checks the numerical
validity of ISBNs. I've run both the numbers you've provided through
it, and they are both valid according to the numerical specification:

http://www.isbn-check.de/checkisbn.pl?isbn=617-496-8294&submit=testen&lang=en
http://www.isbn-check.de/checkisbn.pl?isbn=617-495-2452&submit=testen&lang=en

This is just unfortunate coincidence.  Every 10-digit number has a
chance of being valid according to ISBN standards, and some of your
phone numbers simply are.

I imagine it would be technically feasible to modify LibX so that it
checks every single numerically-valid 10-digit number against a
central database of ISBNs. This is probably not a very smart idea,
because the Internet isn't always very fast.

With tongue firmly in cheek, I suggest you change your phone numbers
to include either area codes or your country code so that they are no
longer 10 digits :-D

Regards,

Matthias Liffers

2010/1/28 Victoria Lin <weilin at hulmail.harvard.edu>:
> Hi, we just noticed that when using Firefox 3.5, LibX is underlining some
> phone numbers in our staff directory because it thinks they are ISBN
> numbers. For example on
> http://hcl.harvard.edu/staff_directory/browse.cfm?ld_id=8
> 617-496-8294 and 617-495-2452 are underlined, while other phone numbers are
> not.
>
> our libx is version 1.5.13 rebuilt on Jan 25, 2010, I tested the old
> versions, happens there too. Could not replicate in IE.
>
> thanks,
>
> --
> Victoria Lin
> Systems Librarian
> Harvard University Library
> Office for Information Systems
> 90 Mt. Auburn St
> Cambridge, MA 02138
> Tel: 617-495-3724
> Email: weilin at hulmail.harvard.edu
>
>
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