Book handles

Look at the URLs in these sentences:

I have spoken about the The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman several times recently. It is available in several libraries near where I live.

They conform to a URL syntax that OCLC has just published (details here) that will be supported consistently. This means that if you have an ISBN, ISSN or WorldCat Number for an item you will be able to construct a URL that will resolve to the OpenWorldCat Find in a library page for that item, if such a page exists. Furthermore, you will also be able to construct a URL which will limit Find in a Library results on that page to a specificed region.
This is a significant step. We hope it makes OpenWorldCat more useful as a platform in a variety of ways. Congratulations to our OWC colleagues for getting this up and running!
One clear place where we see value is that it will allow people to use the OWC URL as a way of passing around book details in the way that many now use an Amazon URL. The nice thing about this is that there is a link back to library holdings.
Incidentally, if you do click on the World is Flat link, you will also see the newly implemented option to buy the book while nominating a library of your choice to receive a portion of the price. More details of this initiative here.
A final note: the current NYRB carries a review by John Gray of The World is Flat.

5 thoughts on “Book handles”

  1. One wonders why OCLC decided not to use (and promote) the OpenURL syntax for this kind of fucntionality. What is going on can easily be considered a service request pertaining to an item that is identified by means of an Identifier. Biased (towards OpenURL) as I am, I would do:

    And I would use the expressiveness of OpenURL to enable conveying all kinds of other information, for example, about the Requester of the service. Because she is kind of part of this service request; hence the location information that is on Lorcan’s example URL.

  2. Several of us here are using this to see where obscure and classic books about the Outer Hebrides can be found on library shelves around the world.

    Using this system, we’ve very quickly discovered that (in the context of the OpenWorldCat database) US libraries are far more receptive to a number of examples of this literature than UK, and especially Scottish, libraries. Which is somewhat disturbing. For example:

    That’s useful in our current campaign about Outer Hebrides awareness.

  3. John,
    It is important to remember that what shows up in Open WorldCat is what is represented in WorldCat. This does not have comprehensive coverage of UK libraries. Lorcan

  4. Peter … the buy the book link only appears on an item when we know it is in stock from the supplier. What appears to have happened here is that stock went low just as I posted – it is now replenished and the link is visible again!

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