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A bibliographic or library database is a database of bibliographic records. It may be a database containing information about books and other materials held in a library (e.g. an online library catalog, or OPAC) or, as the term is more often used, an electronic index to journal or magazine article, containing citations, abstracts and often either the full text of the articles indexed, or links to the full text.

Many scientific databases are bibliographic databases, but some are not. Within Chemical Abstracts, for example, there are databases of chemical structures and within Entrez there are databases of sequences.Outside of science, the same holds — there are databases of citations to articles in art history journals, and there are databases of images, such as ARTstor.

Some relevant databases are discussed briefly below. For a list of bibliographic databases by subject, see Academic databases and search engines.

Library book databases

These databases are intended to be employed by college and university students to identify and locate books for class work and research. The books are then usually obtained through the catalog of the specific library, or via interlibrary loan.


This very widely used database, known as WorldCat has input from almost all US academic and large public libraries, and from many in other countries. It is available to libraries that subscribe to the service.

A somewhat less powerful free version is now available, called simply a version known as Open WorldCat, it can be integrated into web browsers.

Specific libraries

The catalogs of the largest libraries, especially the major national libraries, can be used for general purpose bibliographic searching; they can be assumed to include all significant titles, and information then used to search more specific library catalogs. The catalogs of individual libraries can be used for finding books in those particular libraries.

Online general-interest book databases

Some databases are intended primarily for general rather than academic use, and are constructed less formally than those mentioned above.

Social networking book databases

There are several databases intended primarily or partially for social networking. They encourage users to make their own catalogs, to rate the books on the site, and to use this information to identify others with similar interests. LibraryThing is a large and well-known example.

Book retailer databases

Aimed primarily at selling books and other products.

Compilations of other databases

Also known as book meta-search engines, these combine the output of catalogs from a number of libraries and other sources. [270808] is a website that attempts to build a free database of books by querying various libraries across the world for book data. The results are then indexed by a variety of parameters (authors, publishers, subjects, similarity, etc.) and presented on the website in an organized format. Original MARC records are available for download as well. As of May 2006, the site has data on more than 2 million unique ISBNs and corresponding books searchable by title, ISBN, author, subject, and other criteria. 2000-5000 records are added daily.

The website also offers book price comparisons for availability and pricing in many online stores, including both general dealers such as Amazon and large used book dealers (AbeBooks, Alibris, etc). displays the pricing information immediately, in parallel to normal book browsing.

Effective July 2005, offers an XML based remote access API that allows access to all of the same data that is displayed on the website itself. was started in 2001 as a hobby project by Andrew Maltsev. It is now a project of his company, Ejelta LLC.

Digital Bibliography & Library Project (DBLP)

The Digital Bibliography & Library Project (DBLP) tracks citations in computer science. As of July 2007, the DBLP website listed more than 910,000 citations to articles on the computer science field, mirrored at five sites across the Internet.

See also

External links

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