Open WorldCat is a revolutionary approach to using the internet to look up books. From their website (which you should definitely go have a look at):
The Open WorldCat program makes records of library-owned materials in OCLC’s WorldCat database available to Web users on popular Internet search, bibliographic and bookselling sites. “Deep” links to content in library collections—books, serials, digital images and many other formats—appear alongside links to traditional Web content.
The result: OCLC member libraries are more visible on the Web, and their collections are more accessible from the sites where many people start their search for information.
So here’s a little experiment that will demonstrate (I hope) how Open WorldCat works. You’ve got the cover image here of To Kill a Mockingbird. If you want to buy a copy from Amazon, you click on the cover. If you don’t care to buy a copy from Amazon and instead would like to see if it’s in your local library, you can go to Open WorldCat. Note: I use the Amazon link because that allows me to use their image — which they host, so it doesn’t use up my bandwidth. And you know what kind of trouble that can get you into.
So if you see OWC next to the title of a book, clicking on it will take you to the Open WorldCat details page, and from there (as the mathematician would say) Bob’s your uncle. For example, have a look at To Kill a Mockingbird OWC.
I’ll try to include the OWC link now whenever I mention a book.
And because I want to test this some more, a couple titles:
Into the Wilderness OWC
and the little book that was one of my daughter’s favorites when she was about four: Pierre OWC
edited to add: radiant Robyn Bender asks a logical question: how do you look something up on OWC on your own? This OWC page provides that service.