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This page is about a useful bookmarklet (executable JavaScript bookmark) that let's you search the Merrimack Valley Library Consortium (MVLC). There is also a Library category for all things library.

The bookmarklet[edit | edit source]

Want this bookmarklet? Drag the following link to your browser bookmark bar: Search MVLC

Description[edit | edit source]

Suppose you're shopping on Amazon for a book like Lawrence Lessig's Free Culture: How Big Media Uses Technology and the Law to Lock Down Culture and Control Creativity, and you wonder if your local library has a copy of the book. Amazon displays the ISBN near the title or product details. Highlight the ISBN, and click "Search MVLC" in your toolbar. Presto, you're looking at the search results for that book / CD at your local library!

How it works[edit | edit source]

The catalog for the Merrimack Valley Library Consortium supports lookup by ISBN. If you perform the search, you'll notice that the resulting URL for that search is;_special=1;qtype=identifier%7Cisbn;query=978-1594200069;locg=1

Making this generic, you can change the string record/888792 to results and put any ISBN after the query= part and get the lookup results immediately. Taking it a step further, you can create a JavaScript bookmarklet that can be saved to your browser linkbar which allows you to simply highlight the ISBN on any webpage and instantly search your local library for the book. This is what the JavaScript code looks like:

javascript: (function () {
    // first we get the selection; or do it the Microsoft way
    var t = window.getSelection ? window.getSelection().toString() : document.selection.createRange().text;
    // create a Regular Expression to test the validity of our input
    var re = /[\s\-xX0-9]{10,17}/;
    var OK = re.exec(t);
    if (!OK) {
      // Notify the user if their selection doesn't look right
      alert(t + ' is not a valid ISBN\n Please just select a 10 or 13 digit ISBN\ndashes and spaces are OK');
    } else {
      // clean up by removing dashes and spaces
      t = t.replace(/[\-\s]/,'');
      // hand off to MVLC search
      window.location = ';_special=1;qtype=identifier%7Cisbn;locg=1;pane=numeric;query=' + t;

Note: for the bookmarklet to work, it all has to be on one line. The code above is presented on several lines for readability.

Try it[edit | edit source]

Select ONLY the numeric portion of an ISBN. Do not include the letters "ISBN" The samples listed below also link to the internal ISBN handler of this website.

  • Little Rabbit Foo Foo is ISBN 0671709682
  • Free Culture is ISBN 1594200068

If you want to customize the location of the search, you must change the locg parameter. locg=1 searches across all the MVLC rather than a specific library to cast the widest net - and of course you can always ask for the material to be loaned to your local library. The Merrimack Valley Library Consortium includes the towns of

  1. Amesbury
  2. Andover
  3. Billerica
  4. Boxford
  5. Burlington
  6. Carlisle
  7. Chelmsford
  8. Dracut
  9. Dunstable
  10. Essex
  11. Georgetown
  12. Groton
  13. Groveland
  14. Hamilton-Wenham
  15. Haverhill
  16. Ipswich
  17. Lawrence
  18. Littleton
  19. Lowell
  20. Manchester
  21. Merrimac
  22. Methuen
  23. Middleton
  24. Newbury
  25. Newburyport
  26. North
  27. North
  28. Rockport
  29. Rowley
  30. Salisbury
  31. Tewksbury
  32. Topsfield
  33. Tyngsborough
  34. West
  35. Westford
  36. Wilmington