Wouldn’t it be cool if while you were looking at books in Amazon’s online store you could see whether Duke Libraries have the book? Well, you can. A tool called Book Burro (bookburro.org) does just this.
It only works with the Firefox browser, so if you’re using Internet Explorer or other browsers you’re out of luck (there are many reasons why you should try out Firefox, but that’s another blog post). You install the browser plugin (or “add-on”, as they’re now called in Firefox 2) and configure it with your zip code and online book stores you like to use.
Then, whenever you’re looking at a book record in Amazon, you’ll see an overlay in the top left corner of your browser that looks like this:
When you click on the little triangle on the left, the overlay will expand and look something like this:
What displays here depends on how you’ve configured BookBurro (using the tools icon near the right side of the BookBurro overlay). If you’ve put in your zip code, it will show you which libraries in the vicinity have the book – the search includes all libraries at Duke, UNC, NCCU, and many other universities in the region, as well as local public libraries.
Depending on how you’ve configured it, BookBurro will even show you how much the same item costs at other online stores. So you can quickly decide whether to head to your local library, make a request via Inter Library Loan, or order the book from an online vendor and have the book delivered directly to you.
Duke Libraries does not produce or support BookBurro, so we can’t vouch for how well it will work all the time, but so far it’s been pretty handy for me. Try it out – if you don’t like it, it’s easy to uninstall.