Sunday, January 27, 2008


A couple of the books I've referenced in the past are very rare, and sometimes I get email from readers who don't want to spend a small fortune on a used copy from an internet bookseller. Solution: WorldCat. This is a fantastic, free service. You type in the title of the book you want, then your zip code, and it shows you which libraries near you have it. Then you click on the library to see whether the book is in the stacks, checked out, or -- likely with rare books -- kept on reserve for in-house reading only. I've spent several Saturdays in a reading room at the New York Public Library with books that were either unavailable via internet booksellers or ridiculously priced.

It's a great resource. The link is here.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I work in an academic library and WorldCat is one of the best features of the modern world, frankly -- it's taken decades to build up, and now that it's aiming at being a general resource for all, I think its use will go through the roof. Good to see the word get out on it! (There's a WorldCat application for Facebook as well, which I've installed just as a way to promote it further!)

1/27/2008 8:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

JSTOR also makes me weak in the knees -- a century of full-text searchable articles from hundreds of academic journals in history, anthropology, sociology, geography, economics, and on and on and on. Available at university libraries and bigger public libraries. Incredible stuff.

1/28/2008 5:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This librarian thanks you for your referral.

1/28/2008 8:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All the librarians who read this are outing themselves.

Well, here's another one. One more tip--if you can't access something through your local public/academic/whatever library, most engage in a practice called interlibrary loan. They'll find and borrow the book for you. Sometimes for a fee, but it's worth it if it's something you really want to read.

1/28/2008 6:16 PM  
Blogger Daniel said...

I join the throng of librarians coming here to THANK YOU for using WorldCat. I was going to tell you about Interlibrary Loan, but Cheryl beat me to it.

But did you know that by living in NY you have desktop access to thousands of business journals and much more through the New York Online Virtual Library? It's at You can login 24/7 with either a public library card, your NY driver's license or ID, or a library card from the New York State Library. Some of the titles available here include: Business Week, Economic policy review (Federal Reserve Bank of New York), Economist (London), American banker and National mortgage news among many others.

Take care and keep up the good writing.

1/31/2008 1:41 AM  
Blogger David Shvartsman said...

I am also a fan of the WorldCat and Interlibrary loan services.

Have obtained many hard-to-find texts through this service, especially in the area of economics and investing.

2/02/2008 2:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love libraries. I'm reading Ray Bradbury's, Fahrenheit 451, and in the intro he talks about all the time he spent in a library. Also checked out is "The Dark Side of Valuation" by Aswath Damodaran. On interlibrary loans. Our library won't loan out anything that is current (it has to be at least a year old or more), so they won't allow you to make a request. If you are interested in technology and finance, things that change rapidly, it puts a crimp into reading. "Words without Borders" and "Project Gutenberg" are neat. Our library also offers something called netlibrary where you can read books online. It's a nice idea, sort of, but the interface is not very user-friendly so you waste a lot of time. I don't use it much. A great day, when it rains, is going to the University library, in a quiet section, and reading a book, with the hum of the building in the background.

2/06/2008 6:16 PM  
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