As I’ve been composing blog posts, tweets, Facebook status messages, etc., on my various online accounts (as opposed to those institutional accounts that I have read/write privileges on), and have wanted to link to a book record somewhere, I’ve used a variety of different services. Now I’m wondering what works best for me and what works best for others. Here are the places that I’ve linked to book records over the years:
- Pros: Offers my readers a nice synopsis of a book, reviews of the book, and jacket art. When a book isn’t published yet, this is one of the few places that you can find record.
- Cons: Amazon doesn’t really need my help in making sales. I’d rather link to places that feature borrowing opportunities and deprecate buying ones.
A Publisher’s Website
- Pros: Good for books that aren’t yet published. Often provides author bios, reviews, jacket art, and excerpts.
- Cons: URLs may not be as long-lived as those on other services. As with Amazon, I’d prefer to send my readers to places where borrowing is featured.
- Pros: Book is embedded in a rich social network; jacket art, reviews, recommendations of similar or related titles; Common Knowledge section allows users to add/edit info about books, authors, etc.
- Cons: ???
- Pros: Links to specific editions; borrowing opportunities are prioritized; jacket art; stable URLs; author info in WorldCat Identities section.
- Cons: I don’t want my readers to think that OCLC has an exclusive on making book records available on the web when there are other useful options where the record data can be more freely reused. (I realize that this concern is, at best, half-baked; what other concerns should I have?)
- Pros: I can create new records or edit existing ones (check out my amateurish dabbling); good source of jacket art; the site is an open catalog for the public, whereas WorldCat is really more for libraries and library staff; stable URLs; catalog records can be easily reused.
- Cons: You may have to create the record yourself for a newly published book (as I did just today for The Yahoo! Style Guide); catalogers are going to have bones to pick with some of the records (such as the ones I added).
- Special note: John Mediema’s OpenBook plugin for WordPress does a beautiful job of displaying book information (via Open Library).
I’m really curious to hear what other folks are using when they want to link to books. I’m hoping that I’ll get some comments here, as I’m genuinely interested in what works for others and why.