ISBN Title Lookup Google Doc Spreadsheet

ISBNDB ended free API access in Dec 2017. While the principles involved here are still valuable, the example will no longer work

We needed to do a quick inventory of some discarded books, and while we could pull the majority of the information from our catalog, we have some donations and other books we had no quick method of getting title data.

We’ll scan the barcodes in using a barcode scanner

This uses the ISBNdb API and a quick bit of importXML

There is a 25 ISBN/day limit on this API key for testing. Google limits importXML to 50/sheet. Please get your own ISBNdb account to implement this.

Here’s the bit of code for the spreadsheet. Copy the example here

=importXML( concatenate( "", A2), "//title")

=importXML( – grabs the XML response from the ISBNdb API

concatenate( – assembles the API call URL – initial APIcall string. Specifies v2 API, XML response, key and the source we’re pulling from (books)

A2 – The cell from which we’re pulling the ISBN from

“//title” – The section of the XML response that we want to put in the cell, in this case the title of the book.


Alpha Release: An EZProxy Bookmarklet

When at a journal or ebook, this bookmarklet will create a proxied link in a highlighted, popover window that you can add to a bookmark or link. The first link is a standard link that can be dragged to the desktop or bookmark bar in Windows or Mac computers. Android supports bookmarking to the homescreen The textarea contains the full link, making it much easier to create proxied bookmarks in Mobile Safari.

5-16-2013 8-35-27 AM

This project is based on the generic server-side Javascript bookmarklet described here

If you would like to try out my custom bookmarklet go here and drag the bookmarklet to your toolbar.

Here’s the bookmarklet code

javascript:javascript:var i,s,ss=['',''];for(i=0;i!=ss.length;i++){s=document.createElement('script');s.src=ss[i];document.body.appendChild(s);}void(0);

You can take a look at the server-side javascript hosted in my Google Drive

Link to Javascript

To try it out with your institution’s proxy server, download the code here, and just replace the var proxyURL = ""; with your institutions proxy URL.

Here are some of my development plans for this bookmarklet.

1) Better CSS styling, both more consistent cross-browser and better look & feel
2) Streamlining the javascript (It’s currently very, very clumsy)
3) Cleaning up the whitelisting
4) Re-writing URL’s that have been proxied by Hostname and/or by Port to create a link that will work under any circumstances.

Creative Commons License
Early Beta: An EZProxy Bookmarklet by Brett Williams is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.