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(4) Places to Start Your Search for that Elusive Book Title


Libraries get a lot of those “I can’t remember that book (story, poem, etc.) title” types of questions, which we love because every good librarian loves a mystery that requires some biblio-detective work.

Even with the web, some titles remain elusive, so what’s a librarian or a reader to do?

There are a number of websites that might help with the search. A lot of sites require registration, which wouldn’t be a bad thing except it’s one more password to remember. But if you can’t get that elusive title out of your head, maybe it’s worth the trouble.

I’ve listed 4 sites fellow librarians suggest and I’m sure there are many more. Don’t forget those mega “Ask Me” and those “Questions?” websites, e.g. Yahoo Answers, although they can be rather labor intensive, daunting, or so diverting that you end up reading other people’s questions rather than crafting your own.

1) First, be a biblio-locavore! Try local resources first: Your public or state library may have an online reference service. In Oregon, we have statewide L-net and local public library systems have their own in-house services so visit your public library’s website. Let your library staff do the research for you!

2) What’s that book? (Registration required.)

3) AskMetafilter (Registration required.)

4) Google Groups, e.g. this one, a Usenet Group (remember those?!): Discussion of written science fiction and fantasy

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One response to “(4) Places to Start Your Search for that Elusive Book Title”

  1. Anonymous says:

    If you are searching for a fiction title… I can tell you I once had fantasitc luck tracking down a 1960's novel set during the Boer War with a green cover (that was the patron's description). I used the “Fiction Catalog” available at my local public library. It was in print at the time, but I believe it is now available electronically.

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