Thursday, December 21, 2006

Find Books *anywhere* and Borrow Them!

Have you seen's Find in a Library? It's the "lite" version of software that librarians have been using for decades to find books, catalog, and lend books to patrons in other libraries (known in librarian-speak as "Interlibrary Loan"), called WorldCat.

It's produced by OCLC, a big name in library catalogs, and they say "Over 1 billion items in more than 10,000 libraries worldwide." You may wonder what an "item" is -- it's librarian-speak for books, videos, DVDs, CDs, cassette tapes, and many more things that libraries own & lend.

You can use this database to see who's got a book in a nearby library - I can see that over 1000 libraries own Ellen DeGeneres' The Funny Thing Is, including Simmons College (print) and the Boston Public Library (cd).

If you put in your zip code, you can see which libraries near that zip code own the book, and if you click on the name of the library, you can check their catalog to check if the book is on the shelf. Then you can go to your library (the one where you have a library card) and ask them to get it for you (using the coolest thing known to libraries, Interlibrary Loan). Presto: you've got a great book to read, listen to, peruse, etc.

Try it yourself in the search box to the left of this post.

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