Bibliography Generator

A while back, Seth posted on ‘stuck systems‘. Seth talked about turning a list of ISBN numbers into a fully functional bibliography (and more). I figured, ‘that can’t be too hard’ so I made a quick page to demonstrate how simple it is. He agreed it was pretty simple by showing the world my quick creation.

So what’s the problem?

Unfortunately, concepts like bibliographies are too far engrained in our behavior that any kind of change seems nearly impossible. Making an idea like this ‘stick’ with people is the real marketing challenge. Unfortunately, as he mentions, it’s hard for anyone to readily accept this concept.

But, I’ve always loved a challenge.

That’s why I’d like to take my ~100 line script and turn it into a fully functional resource. I’ve run into another student, Jonathan, who has already embarked on this ( and it’s a good start. I hate the name though. Sure, it’s one thing to be radical but the name does nothing for anyone. It tells us nothing, it sounds sopohmoric and I don’t see many people embracing it to begin with.

So, I’ve decided to start developing this project a bit furthur. I think, as with any service, it has to be exceptionally easy and fully functional. No logins, no forms, just add the ISBN and go.
The biggest problem I’ve run into is getting all of the required information. Sure, has the publisher and date.. but almost no one has the publisher’s location. I’ve found a site but it doesn’t allow automatic scripts to load their page. Anyone else with it requires you to license their content. This should be fun to get around. My only thought right now is load the available data I can into my own ‘ISBN database’ from and allow users to either comfirm or edit a located ISBN’s information.

I was thinking I’d take that aforementioned site and load it in a frame below the page. This page will have already loaded the correct book (apparently that’s allowed) but then the user will need to enter the publisher’s location manually. In other words, there is an input box at the top that says ‘Location’ and a page loaded at the bottom that says ‘Location: New York’. Keep in mind, this is just at the beginning as the database is populated.

I don’t know, I keep tossing the idea around. I wish the information were more readily available. That would certainly solve the ‘easy’ issue.

Then, and only then, could I even consider marketing this product and making it, as Seth said, “viral”.

…but I guess the product itself should be viral.