Tuesday, January 13, 2004

ISBD Database

The ISBDdb is an interesting project. As a Web service it could prove very useful.
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 searchable 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 of the web site is grouping by Dewey Decimal System's first number, which most libraries use as shelf markers. We are still working on adding more granularity to it, but even in its current form the Library Shelves category is a quite useful feature for both finding similar books and for orientation in physical libraries.

How can I use book data on my site?

We are working on a toolkit that will allow to use ISBNdb.com as a web service, ready to be integrated into other web sites and applications. As originally promised, we plan to let individuals use the service for free. Likely, there going to be a limit on the number of free queries per day (or other period of time).

Stay tuned for updates, better yet -- subscribe to the news RSS feed.

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