Books for (Washington) DC
March 15, 2015 3:00 PM   Subscribe

Books for (Washington) DC
As part of Open Data Day DC, I began the Books for DC (aka 'booksfordc') project with the goal of increasing user engagement with the DC Public Library's many wonderful resources. Last month, I wrote a web scraper that publishes a Twitter feed of new additions to the DCPL book catalog. And I just released a Chrome browser extension that lets you know what books and ebooks are available at the DCPL when browsing Amazon, Goodreads, or Barnes & Noble.

booksfordc is an ongoing initiative and I'm hoping that more DC residents (especially librarians and public school teachers) get involved. Whether you live in DC or not, feedback is most welcome.

The project is affiliated with Code for DC and not officially affiliated with the DCPL, though I've consulted with numerous DCPL management and staff, who have all been awesome and supportive.
Role: creator
posted by waninggibbon (6 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

Hah, nice to see you're a MeFite. I saw this mentioned on some of the local Open Data mailing lists and bookmarked it to see about making a version of the Chrome extension for the Arlington VA library system. In my Copious Free Time, that is :)

I wonder about the idea of creating a variant for library systems. The price updates for things on my Amazon wish list is nice, but it would also be nice to just have some way to see what on my list is in my local library system. Something that didn't require a browser extension - something I have kind of a lot of installed - would be cool.
posted by phearlez at 10:16 AM on March 16, 2015

Neat, phearlez! Which mailing lists did it get mentioned on? I posted it myself to the DC Code for America google group (plus the DC subreddit). The booksfordc extension is pretty lightweight and only operates on certain domains, so it doesn't bog your browser down. I often end up on Amazon when casually looking up books online and this was built with that in mind. But I had a few people ask me about something that works on wish lists, so there's definitely some interest in a tool like that.
posted by waninggibbon at 3:25 PM on March 16, 2015

This all sounds really cool, I wish I knew how to do this kind of stuff for my library!
posted by mareli at 11:25 AM on March 17, 2015

Figure I'd share this addendum: WAMU 88.5 in DC wrote up a really nice profile of the Books for DC project on their website today.
posted by waninggibbon at 7:38 PM on March 17, 2015

More updates!
  1. A Firefox version of the extension is now available
  2. You can now search the DC Public Library catalog for books, ebooks, and audiobooks by sending out a tweet.

posted by waninggibbon at 2:07 PM on March 26, 2015

And there's now an actual website for the project, so everything is in place:
posted by waninggibbon at 7:14 PM on March 30, 2015

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