Friday, April 18, 2008

NetLibrary and WorldCat


At the reference desk, I have helped a handful of customers sign up for NetLibrary accounts, but I haven't ever actually used it very much myself. It's always a bit difficult to get the customers to understand that they can access the site at home, but that they have to come into the actual library building to sign up to use it. It's worth it, though. For Thing #12, I finally signed up for my own account so I can delve into it a little more. I did a search for books about computers, just to see what's out there. I'm a big fan of starting out with a really broad search, to get an idea of how much more specific I can get as I go along. It's good to know that these books are out there - especially when the more recent computer how-to books are either checked out or missing. The navigation through the book was a bit slow, but I LOVE the ability to search within the book itself. That has got to be one of the best features of ebooks.

For the advanced/extra task, I also looked at Project Gutenberg. I have been reading Christopher Moore's books lately and I totally love them. One day a few weeks ago at work, I was complaining about how I only have one or two of Moore's books left, and how I wasn't sure what else I could read that might be similar. My coworker recommended P.G. Wodehouse, and together, we discovered that most of Wodehouse's stories are available on Project Gutenberg. I always get a little nervous when I don't have anything to read, so knowing that there's a whole bunch of stories to read for free on the web is very comforting. Too bad I don't have an iphone, or I could read it everywhere! :)


WorldCat is pretty cool. I remember using it for projects during my cataloging class in library school, but honestly, I sort of forgot that I could use it in my everyday life now that I'm actually a librarian. I tend to default to using when I need to look up a book's title or author when it's not in the Ocean County Library catalog, but now that I'm exploring WorldCat a bit more, I'm realizing that hm, maybe this would be a better resource. And oh man, will it make filling out ILL forms so much easier! I will have to add this to my repertoire.

Also, just for fun, I found a book in the OCL catalog that is fairly old - Biographical cyclopedia of Ocean county, New Jersey, which was published in 1899. I looked it up in WorldCat, there are only four other libraries that own this book at all - Rutgers, the NJ State Library, the New York Public Library - Research Library, and the New York Historical Society Archives. (Although I do have to be up front and admit that there are 16 others that own it on microform.) How cool!

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