Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Google books is the best way to request library books

I wrote bout this two years ago, and again six months ago, but I think it’s worth a reminder. Google has a fantastic service for requesting books from my local library – and probably yours as well.

I’m not being selfless here. I’m worried Google is going to drop this lovely service; they’ve already removed the Google Profile “My Library” integration. Some more traffic might help.

It goes like this:

  1. Search in Google Books.
  2. Select your book (for example).
  3. Click “Find this book in a library”. That takes you to the WorldCat entry for the book. (What is WorldCat?)
    I don’t think you even have to create an  account on WorldCat [1]
  4. Enter your zip code (it remembers the last entry) and browse the list. It showed the book in several local libraries. I clicked on the Saint Paul Public Library link and went immediately the request page.

Unfortunately I still had to use the silly Saint Paul Public Library authentication procedure. That’s the one where one enters a longish ID number that’s masked during entry.

It’s faster and much more elegant than going directly against our library system.

[1] You can export WorldCat cites to reference management software. That takes me back.

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