Fan of Full Fathom Five? Be sure to check it out at its new home!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Finding Maritime Information:

Did you know that the largest database of library collections in the world in now available to you for free? Yes--free. No signup, no strings attached. is the free, public interface to the database of over 88 million titles provided by OCLC, an international, nonprofit, library cooperative. Thousands upon thousands of libraries all over the world participate; your local library may or may not participate in; not every library does. But most major academic collections, public libraries, and library consortia are represented.

Let's get specific. If I search for Niven's book on American President Lines in, I see not only the libraries that own this item, but if I put my zip code into the "Enter Location Information" box, they're listed in geographic order with the participant library that's closest to me first. With most libraries, I can click that library's name to be taken directly to their online catalog to see if the book's actually on the shelf. And, with my local library, I can then request that the item be held for me.

Want to ask your local library to interlibrary loan this book for you? Under "Share it" you can select "Link to this page" to generate a short link to email your interlibrary loan request. Did you use this book in your research? Under "Citations" you can export the information in popular bibliographic citation formats. Know something about this book? Click on "Reviews" and add a review. Yes--you can add a review, yourself. Love this book? Under "Get it" there's a link to Amazon, which is duplicated on the lower right of the page if you scroll down.

Want to get fancy? You can build and maintain public and private lists of books inside the bottom of the page, look for the tiny row called "You," and select "My Worldcat." Want to break free of the English-speaking world? Interfaces are available in German, Spanish, French, Dutch, and Chinese.

Want to try it now? Here's my search box (just change the zip code when you get to your search results if you don't live in San Francisco!):

Search for an item in libraries near you: >>

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