Hello Wikipedia and libraries folks,
I work at the University of Pennsylvania library, and
have been working with free online resources like online books
and Wikipedia for some years now. For instance, I've been
maintaining the Online Books Page since 1993, and have
recently added links from author and subject browsing pages
on that site to corresponding Wikipedia articles.
I've recently developed some templates, and a redirection
service, intended to support links from Wikipedia articles
to readers' local libraries, wherever those libraries
might be. If you think these might be useful, I'd be
interested in hearing your thoughts, and would also be happy
to help get people started with them as appropriate.
The service, which I'm calling "Forward to Libraries" or "FTL",
is invoked by templates that can be placed in any Wikipedia
article. The template documentation can be found here:
(See in particular, the "Library resources About George Washington..."
The box shown there has working links.)
As you can see from the example, the "Resources in your library"
links can take a reader to a relevant search in the online catalog or
discovery system of the user's preferred library. (If that preference
isn't known, the user will be asked first which library they want to
search. But users can register a preferred library for future searches.)
Readers can also choose "Resources in other libraries" to check other
libraries and library services. (For instance, a reader who usually
uses a university library might also want to check nearby public
libraries. Or they might want to do a WorldCat search of lots of
libraries.) The service currently knows how to connect to over 70
libraries in the US-- and users can request others to be added-- plus
and The Online Books Page. (Direct links to the Online
Books Page are also an option, if there are relevant free online books
people can read without leaving their seat or logging into alibrary
proxy.) Libraries outside the US can be added as well, though the
service currently works best with libraries that use the Library
of Congress name and subject headings, or similar ones.
For more details and rationale, see my blog post at
I'm still fairly new at Wikipedia template-building (and have only
recently created an account at Wikipedia instead of just editing
anonymously). Suggestions and other feedback would be most welcome,
and I'd be glad also to answer any questions folks on this list
John Mark Ockerbloom