ISBNdb – it’s IMDB for books

Paul Raven @ 10-04-2009

Heads up, academics and A-grade book geeks – here’s a site you’ll want to be adding to your bookmarks for research purposes. ISBNdb, as its name suggests, attempts to do for books what IMDB does for movies. From the FAQ page:

ISBNdb.com gets the data in a unique way – it scans libraries all across the world for book information. The scanning is random and similar in a way to how general purpose web search engines scan web sites.

Scanned results are then parsed and stored in a searcheable and browseable database that you see here on ISBNdb.com. An attempt is made at cross-indexing the database by author, publisher, category and so on. Cross indexing is still a work in progress and is likely to improve as the time goes on.

For each book you can see records received for it from different libraries, you can download original MARC record for the book as it was returned by the library.

Another interesting feature is ‘Books on the Same Shelf’ — it allows to quickly look up similar books in the same way they would be placed in a real world library. Currently, two classification systems are supported — Dewey Decimal Classification (trademark of OCLC) and Library of Congress Classification.

Starting late 2004 we also started scanning book merchants for best book prices. You will see best prices for new and used copies on all book pages below the left menu in most cases fraction of a second after you load the book data. Active and historic prices are also available through the data access API.

I just lost half an hour of productivity to that thing without even trying! And that API is just begging someone to do some good mash-up work; it’s the sort of thing author- or genre-specific fan sites could get some great mileage from.

My inner bibliophiliac library employee needs to go lie down in a dark room right now… [via GalleyCat]


UC-Santa Cruz to put novelist Robert Heinlein’s archive online

Stephen Years @ 21-09-2007

heinlein.jpg

According to the San Jose Mercury News, the entire contents of the Robert Heinlein archive will be placed online thanks to an partnership between the University of California-Santa Cruz and the Heinlein Prize Trust. The archive, which has been housed in the UC-Santa Cruz Library’s Special Collections, was recently scanned to preserve them digitally. Eventually all of Heinlein’s work, including manuscripts and notes, will be put online. More information can be found at the Heinlein Prize Trust.


Manage your library with Google Book Search

Paul Raven @ 05-09-2007

A big stack of booksLooks like LibraryThing and Shelfari just got served – Google Book Search now allows you to tag titles that you own and assemble an online catalog of your precious book collection. I liked the look of LibraryThing, but the idea of having to pay to catalog more than a few hundred titles was a deal breaker for me. Yet another business model trounced by the ubiquitous giants of search …

On the subject of libraries, the place where I work has a lot of old manuscripts which are, tricky to read – at least for anyone unaccustomed to 19th Century copperplate handwriting. So if the technical types who’ve developed the new ‘Blurred Shape Model’ optical character recognition system need someone to beta test it, we’d be more than happy to help. [Image by GeneralWesc]