Biblio-o-matic for the people

Tim Middleton is a Project Manager & Retailer Liaison at BookNet Canada. With a passion for startup culture, entrepreneurial enterprises, and disruptive technology ignited by a varied career in retail and consumer research, all things bookish remain his first and true love. He’ll be at Tech Forum talking about Spiders, Chatbots, and the Future of Metadata: A look inside the BNC BiblioShare sandbox.

At BookNet, we like to build things. Biblio-o-matic is our latest toy, built to make seeing bibliographic data easier while you browse the web. Read on to see what we mean.

When Biblio-o-matic finds a valid book ISBN in a web page, it provides an icon next to the identifier.

When you click on the icon, a pop-up appears and if the title has information in the BNC BiblioShare bibliographic database you’ll see basic bibliographic data including title, contributor, product form, publication date, subject, keywords, audience, and list price. It will also display any images that have been provided to BiblioShare and are associated with the ISBN. For example:

the cover…


and author photos.

If you’re responsible for the ISBN in question and you’re not sure if you’ve added a cover to BiblioShare, you’ll quickly find out when you see the “No image available” image where a cover should be:

For every book, you’ll see links at the bottom of the pop-up to view the full ONIX record in our database, the title detail page in SalesData, and the title detail page in CataList.

We’ve been using the extension in-house for a while and it makes life so much easier. Pamela Millar, our Director of Customer Relations, says: “I love it!”

The reason this is such a lovable little beast is that it puts everything right at our fingertips for quick and easy validation. Is there incorrect or outdated information appearing on some site? Just click “View ONIX record” and review the raw data for that ISBN. Do you want to know the sales history of the title? Click “SalesData.” Do you want to know more about the book? Click “CataList” and if the title was ever loaded to a CataList catalogue then you can see it there.

Currently we have only built a Google Chrome extension, but if there is enough demand there is no reason we can’t build it for other popular browser platforms. To install the extension for Chrome, simply go to the plug-in page, click “Add to Chrome,” and you’re on your way.

Let us know what you think by emailing

Join us at Tech Forum to get an idea of what BookNet Canada will build next and much more!