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OCLC Meets Facebook
June 25, 2008 5:59 PM   Subscribe

Citations on the fly. WorldCat previously, the world's online largest catalog of library holdings, got its own Facebook page in early 2008. That was pretty cool, but now WorldCat has upped the ante again by introducing another Facebook app called CiteMe. Using CiteMe, Facebook users can look up any item in WorldCat (there's over 1 billion of 'em) and get its properly-formatted citation (choose from APA, Chicago, Harvard, MLA, or Turabian styles) instantly. For more than a few citations, you can still build a bibliography of any size in your favorite style, directly on the WorldCat site.
posted by Rykey (23 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

 
This is nice, sure, but what is the purpose of having a citation builder in facebook? Is there some social networking aspect to WorldCat that I don't understand?
posted by Clandestine Outlawry at 6:07 PM on June 25, 2008


OMG, my undergrads are going to swarm this.
posted by Riverine at 6:28 PM on June 25, 2008


I love worldcat. I'm done with facebook though. But worldcat can go in so many good directions. I'll personally jump for joy when they make it so that you can see where to get a book online in your area. Right now it'll say "internet resource" and half the time it's random. A link to the table of contents online or some nonsense.

Also, I wish there was a place that listed databases and which libraries had access to them. Of course I realize I'm getting ridiculous here, but still. But yeah, I'd kind of go insane if it wasn't for worldcat.
posted by cashman at 6:37 PM on June 25, 2008


...I'd kind of go insane if it wasn't for worldcat.

I thought it would be my savior as well, but it hasn't actually worked out for me. I must live out in the boonii, because all the hits are for technical colleges or places miles and miles away1 and of course all them require student IDs or similar.

1Just tried again and the nearest copy of a particular book I want (which isn't a bestseller but is from 2005 and of non-zero interest to the general public) is 1100 miles away. I doubt that can be right.
posted by DU at 7:03 PM on June 25, 2008


This would be cooler if WorldCat's holdings were anywhere near accurate. None of the libraries I work in do deletions, and some public library co-operatives are in there as a single entity.
posted by QIbHom at 7:04 PM on June 25, 2008


Even more damning: I just looked for a book that I know is in my own library, less than 2 miles from my house. WorldCat says the nearest copy is 30 miles away in a library I've never heard of. Which, now that I've consulted Google Maps, is in a town that's 40 miles away. Somehow. You'll have to do a little better than that if you want me to regain my sanity.
posted by DU at 7:09 PM on June 25, 2008


I can't even think of how many hours worldcat's citation thing has saved me. Just remeber to add the page numbers after the citation, depending on the format.
posted by 517 at 7:12 PM on June 25, 2008


Du & others - there are multiple listings for some titles. I know - it's not perfect, ugh. If you do the search a different way you'll probably find that the library you know has the book has cataloged it differently. It's probably there (in worldcat) though, I'm betting.

The thing is still pretty freakin cool. Don't make me call Big J in here on yall.
posted by cashman at 7:36 PM on June 25, 2008


Finally, a Facebook app that's actually useful. I could have used this about 2 months ago when I was doing my finals, though. Easybib is great, but clunky.

Yeah, I know I could just do citations by hand. It's not going to happen.
posted by OverlappingElvis at 7:53 PM on June 25, 2008


Next, Myspace will allow you to do spreadsheets and Metafilter will add an image conversion utility.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 8:16 PM on June 25, 2008


Is there some social networking aspect to WorldCat that I don't understand?

No, there's just a huge social networking aspect to a lot of youngsters' lives. I think this is sort of a move by the Library to be more visible in places people already go online, as opposed to waiting for Facebook users to find WorldCat.

I was kinda puzzled by the WC-FB connection too, but I welcome stuff like this. However clunkily and misguidedly at times, as a profession we are (or should be) trying to remain relevant.
posted by Rykey at 8:20 PM on June 25, 2008


There is no reason that OCLC needs all of my Facebook information (which they get if you sign up for it) to provide this function.
posted by grouse at 12:51 AM on June 26, 2008


grouse: It's impossible to add ANY Facbeook application without agreeing to provide that information.
posted by mkb at 4:02 AM on June 26, 2008


I understand that mkb. But it's something that is wholly unnecessary for the functions they are providing. They could have provided this service via a traditional web site, with zero loss of function. It wouldn't be all "Web 2.0" but then again, this isn't either.
posted by grouse at 4:05 AM on June 26, 2008


When I was in college I used redlightgreen to do this. At least, I think I did. I can't remember that well. But now redlightgreen redirects to WorldCat.
posted by lampoil at 6:22 AM on June 26, 2008


Yerg. So much for my hope of blocking facebook from a subset of library laptops because of its lack of academic use. During the height of finals season when everyone and a brother wants a laptop, we have people that check them out just to browse their facebooks as they read some required reading. Meanwhile, I have a host of people that need to write papers or access databases waiting.

Kids these days! Back in my day, we had PINE and we liked it, dammit!
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:35 AM on June 26, 2008


redlightgreen was always a beta ...so yes, it went away. This is still pretty cool and I am delighted to see it.
posted by aldus_manutius at 7:48 AM on June 26, 2008


They could have provided this service via a traditional web site, with zero loss of function.

I think you're missing the point. This service is, in fact, available via WorldCat's "traditional" website, i.e., where kids are most certainly not spending hours every day. Facebook, meanwhile...
posted by Rykey at 9:28 AM on June 26, 2008


That's like saying that this service is available in the library, i.e., where kids are most certainly not spending hours every day. The Internet, meanwhile...
posted by grouse at 9:34 AM on June 26, 2008


That's like saying that this service is available in the library, i.e., where kids are most certainly not spending hours every day. The Internet, meanwhile...

Exactly... just not in the way you mean.
posted by Rykey at 9:45 AM on June 26, 2008


Yeah, this is pretty cool. Too bad it's about the only reason for me to use facebook.

I think I will just keep memorising styles. That's more fun.
posted by jb at 11:59 AM on June 26, 2008


Kids these days! Back in my day, we had PINE and we liked it, dammit!

PINE! Oh, how I miss you!

You were so much faster to search than any web-based system I've used. And I felt so cool for knowing your (not very) archane codes.

Please come back, please save me from my uni's horrible library website where the default search is not the catelogue but the website itself, which is kind of useless.

and bring telnet internet mail with you.
posted by jb at 12:02 PM on June 26, 2008


Hey OCLC! you've got your peanut butter in my chocolate.
posted by celerystick at 4:09 PM on June 26, 2008


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