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Comments from Jon Udell on my writeup on LibraryLookup

Jon Udell was kind enough to make some comments on what I've written on his LibraryLookup bookmarklet in Chapter 1 (which I post here with his permission):

    Under "How can it be extended": OCLC xISBN! That service solves a key problem with the bookmarklet version: that an ISBN does not uniquely identify a work. But it creates a new problem: a bookmarklet alone cannot perform client-side remixing (i.e., calling xISBN and then using its output to splice Amazon and the library). I've incorporated xISBN into several solutions:


    Being a Greasemonkey hack, this has limited reach. I've been meaning to try to produce a universal version that'd work with IE, probably using Turnabout (, and you've reminded me to prioritize that.


    This is actually a different kind of mashup, involving Amazon wishlists. It's very cool. But again, it has limited reach in the sense that RSS notification is geeky.


    This version eliminates RSS in favor of email, the idea being to appeal more broadly. Except it hasn't, because the conceptual barrier — multipurpose your Amazon wishlist in order to receive notifications about availability in your local library — is formidable.

    All three of these solutions could, and perhaps should, be generalized for multiple OPACs and multiple libraries, in the way that the bookmarklet generator has generalized the bookmark hack.

    That's it! Hopefully somebody will read this and take on one or more of these challenges, in case I don't get to them.

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  1. | April 27, 2007 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    In addition to OCLC's xISBN, there is LibraryThing's thingISBN, where users, rather than algorithms combine editions. William Denton has been doing interesting experiments with both, showing that it's better to use both services than just one.

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