March 2010 Archives
If you're a savvy comparison shopper armed with an iPhone, now you can get library results for any book you run into, wherever you are, thanks to a free iPhone app called pic2shop that now includes WorldCat data through the WorldCat Search API and WorldCat Registry APIs.
Pic2shop uses the camera on your iPhone to scan the book barcode, and then provides results for different online shopping sites and now local libraries. If your library has enabled it, you can click straight through to their catalog and see if it's available or reserve it. One of the great things about pic2shop is that it was developed by Vision Smarts, a company based in Belgium, so the app works in all countries. In fact, here's a screen shot of results from Australia:
Of course, pic2shop joins the current mobile apps and sites that showcase libraries with WorldCat results: RedLaser for iPhone (U.S. only at the moment) and the WorldCat Mobile pilot (UK, U.S., Netherlands, Germany, France and Canada).
Download pic2shop from your country's iTunes App store. And check out the video (created by Pic2Shop's partner, Appency) of how pic2shop can help you locate library materials, say, if you're browsing in a bookstore.
The WorldCat Mobile pilot was recently enhanced to now include cover art when available. It also now provides a link to your local library catalog--much the same way WorldCat.org does now. This additional functionality means you can potentially set a hold, view status and reserve a book or video through your mobile phone, as soon as you discover it in WorldCat.
As always, keep sending feedback about your mobile pilot experience, to help improve the service for everyone.
Now it's even easier to guess a WorldCat link, because the title of the work is now included in the URL. This change makes WorldCat.org URLs more intuitive, mashable and search engine-friendly. For example, the previous permalink URL for Catcher in the Rye by J.S. Salinger was http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/287628. Now, the permalink URL will be http://www.worldcat.org/title/catcher-in-the-rye/oclc/287628. Title-only URLs, i.e., http://www.worldcat.org/title/catcher-in-the-rye will also work.
If you've already set up links to your favorite WorldCat.org resources, never fear. All those links will also continue to work.
If you're a fan of WorldCat, chances are you're also a fan of libraries in general. Well you're in luck--not only is today the Ides of March, but this week is also Geek the Library Week. March 15-21, 2010 gives you a chance to show your support for your local library.
A bit of background: the Geek the Library campaign is administered by OCLC and funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, to help raise awareness about the need for public library support in communities both large and small. The grant is currently running for U.S. libraries, and the pilot program has been going on since last year in Georgia and Iowa.
Geek the Library Week is designed as a celebration, but it also highlights the Geek the Library message about the challenging funding issues many U.S. public libraries face. From California to Massachusetts, countless libraries are struggling with difficult budget decisions. If there was ever a time to speak out in support of public libraries, the time is now. Your voice can make a difference.