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Still awesome, still works: Request library books from Amazon pages

Jon Udell: The LibraryLookup Bookmarklet Generator

I covered this one back in the bronze age of 43 Folders, but I wanted to highlight the awesomeness again today for those who might not have seen it the first time around.

As described in September, 2004:

I still can’t get over how cool this is. Jon Udell’s little wizard [direct link] lets you generate a bookmarklet for requesting a library book—based on the Amazon page you’re currently viewing. It’s clearly a flawless lifehack.

You just need to know your library’s URL and which system your own city uses (which Jon makes simple by providing preview links to see which style your system seems to follow). San Francisco folks, use “http://sflib1.sfpl.org/” and leave the default system of “Innovative” selected.

At some point over the years, Jon's bookmarklet fell out of my favorites bar (J'accuse, Amazon Prime). But today I was able to recreate my bookmarklet in about ten seconds, and now Bobos in Paradise is en route to the Parkside Library.

To modernize the tip just a bit, I'll mention that this (and many other browser tasks involving entering passwords) gets so much easier with the amazing 1Passwd. In this case, you can tell the app to remember your library card number and PIN and autofill the library login page automagically.

Craig Harman's picture

Chris the Librarian and arendallsalvetti...

Chris the Librarian and arendallsalvetti both mentioned a limitation of Jon Udell's Library Lookup bookmarklet. The bookmarklet searches by ISBN number, and since ISBN numbers are associated with a particular version of a book (hardcover, paperback, large print, etc), the bookmarklet will only check for a particular version of a book, and not for any version of the book.

Both LibX and BookBurro will search for any version of a book at your local library. I am not certain how BookBurro does this, but LibX uses OCLC's xISBN service. Jon Udell wrote a follow up post about a Greasemonkey version of Library Lookup that used the xISBN service:


But since Jon wrote this Greasemonkey script, OCLC created a simpler interface that will query your local library for all versions of a book using just a single URL (instead of diving into all of the AJAX and DOM parsing issues Jon documents in his second post). If your library uses a supported OPAC (Online Public Access Catalog) and you can extract an ISBN number from a page, then you can search your local library for any version of a book using a URL that looks something like this:


If you know a little bit of JavaScript, it shouldn't be hard to modify Jon's original Library Lookup bookmarklet to use the xISBN service and search your local library for any version of a book.




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