Top Three Bibliographic Resources

Looking for the best authority for your bibliographic questions? These are my recommendations for finding a book’s publication information:

1. Library of Congress Catalog

old home page of the Library of Congress Online Catalog

The old (but still available) Library of Congress Online Catalog home page, complete with muses.

My go-to source for full bibliographic information on books. Even if a citation is spelled wrong, I can usually find the correct entry here because I can search by author name or title or keyword.

Pictured here is the old LOC catalog; there’s a new version available here.

2. Amazon.com (and Google Books)

For books that didn’t make it into LOC or when I’d like to verify a quotation, Amazon’s Search Inside feature is invaluable. I can check the book’s copyright page to confirm the date or publisher name; I can look up a phrase from the quotation I’m checking and make sure it’s right.

Google Books is particularly useful for books in the public domain—often the whole book is available for online searching.

3. British Library Catalogue

The British Library Catalogue is helpful for books published by both a British and an American publisher, for example, because I can check to see if there are two different titles. Also, some UK-published books don’t have an entry in the LOC catalog.

If I’m stuck, a careful Google search using Boolean terms and exact title phrases in quotation marks usually gets me what I want.

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