concept to publication

Category: research

Testing BibMe

BibMe, bibliography maker

BibMe, despite its unfortunate name, may be the easiest bibliography maker available. The site allows you to construct a bibliography in MLA, APA, or Chicago style and download it or save it to the site. You enter an ISBN, author, or title and BibMe does the rest. In addition to books, BibMe can handle websites, journals, videos, newspapers, and “other” (whatever that includes). The service is free.

I tried it with my “books for writers” list at Powell’s (that meant only testing books, so I threw in this blog to see how it would handle a website). I chose Chicago style. BibMe produced the following results.

Social Book Cataloguing Sites

Publishers Weekly compares three book cataloguing sites:, and These sites allow users to keyword tag and comment on books they own or have read. The oldest of the sites, LibraryThing, has been around for a couple of years — a long time in internet terms — and publishers and book retailers are finally beginning to take an interest, either by investing in the sites or by providing members with advance review copies of forthcoming titles.

The PW article tries to make distinctions between the three services (the unfortunately named LibraryThing has by far the most members) but for me largely fails to do so at the user level. Below are screen shots of the sites’ intro pages.



>> A previous post on LibraryThing


Academic Journals Endangered?

Dani Rodrik cites a new paper by Glenn Ellison that appears to show that top academics are publishing fewer scholarly papers in specialized and general interest journals. These writers, like many others, have discovered that on-line publishing is an easier means to reach a larger audience more quickly than print publication.

The interesting aspect of this is that it is truest of the authors with the most prestigious affiliations. Such authors do not need the validation of print. In this context, the trend is for print publication to function increasingly as a farm system for the second-tier authors.

Are we seeing a similar phenomenon in the literary world?

IN RELATED NEWS: Academic book publishing on the decline.


gdp map

I’ve mentioned the website Strange Maps before. Here it is back again, with a map showing U.S. states renamed for countries with approximately equivalent gross domestic products. My state is France, evidement.


news map

NewsMap lets you get the news from any country by clicking its location on a map. It’s basically a mashup of Google Maps and Yahoo News.

Kind of cool but you could get the same information without going through the map.

Via Book of Joe.

WorldCat Library Search

worldcat search boxI’ve been working on a bibliography for a book about Chinese jades. Many of the listings were incomplete, and I had to search a variety of sources to find the information I was looking for. I found that by searching through WorldCat I was able to locate a number of titles (including many books published in India or China) that I could not find elsewhere, and which had turned up no results with a standard web search engine such as Google.

WorldCat provides standard bibliographic information. It will show a list of libraries within a range of a specified zip codes. It will allow e-mail follow-ups to searches. Users can post reviews of titles. Unfortunately its only prominent link for purchasing titles is Amazon, although other options may appear in search results.

Here is what a search for Julio Cortazar’s Around the Day in Eighty Worlds turns up.

When I mentioned it to a librarian friend, he wrote the following:

Yes, it is a very useful tool produced by OCLC, which, however, is taking over the (library) world like Starbuck’s or McDonald’s. Though it is extremely helpful, and wonderful in concept, it is also insidious, and I am very wary of it. It is controlling and unifying all library cataloging and in some places outside of the US and replacing wonderfully enlightening and useful cataloging with bland, uniform, insufficient and extremely conformist cataloging. OCLC is forcing old school and creative catalogers and librarians out of jobs as it grows ever larger. Use it at your own risk & only if necessary. KILL it if you can.

So I guess this is another of those modern dilemmas that seem to be springing up more and more frequently. Good resource, soulless librarian killer, or both?


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