By January 24, 2011 1 Comments Read More →

Golden voice gone? Find out-of-print audiobooks on WorldCat

Flo Gibson’s 1,134 audiobook recordings hold a life’s-work of stellar narration. When Ms. Gibson, founder of Audio Book Contractors, passed away last week at the age of 86, the New York Times hailed her as “the Grand Dame of Audiobooks.” Margalit Fox’s NYT story highlighted a near 40-year career voicing unabridged classics that served as core collections for libraries establishing audiobook collections. Although many of Ms. Gibson’s recordings are available today through her company and vendors such as Audible and Recorded Books, it’s true that many have disappeared along with cassette collections. In a conversation on the Audiobook Community social network, Gibson fans praised the availability of out-of-print titles through their local public library.

This is a perfect opportunity to remind audiobook fans about the awesomeness of using the FREE resource WorldCat to track down audiobooks. And as Christine Bulson shares in her recent post on Booklist’s Points of Reference blog, there’s even a new WorldCat mobile app! Here’s a bit from a previous Audiobooker post about WorldCat…

If you are ever trying to track down the availability of a title in audiobook format, don’t waste time on store sites such as Amazon or Barnes & Noble. You’ll miss titles published by Recorded Books, BBC Audio (now AudioGo), and other major library-edition audiobook companies. Or you might find only the mass-market abridged version, and never realize that the unabridged audio is at the public library down the block! WorldCat even catalogs some Recordings for the Blind and Dyslexic titles – another tremendous resource for disabled patrons.

Don’t know what WorldCat is? Take time to explore! WorldCat is a great FREE resource from OCLC – basically, it is a worldwide online library catalog showing you public & academic libraries that own a particular title. But the awesome trick is that you can narrow the search to libraries near your zip code, and see the closest place to pick up a title – or request an interlibrary loan, even if it is a university library. WorldCat links you to the library’s website, allowing you to check to see if the title is on the shelf – and then to reserve online. You can create WorldCat lists, or – my favorite trick – get citations in five common styles, and export them to a variety of formats including EndNote and RefWorks. Instant Works Cited – even if you don’t have the title in hand!

If you like to add your audiobooks to LibraryThing, GoodReads, or Shelfari and you find only the print title’s info, pop over to WorldCat to grab the audiobook edition information!



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About the Author:

Mary Burkey is an independent library consultant in Columbus (OH). An enthusiastic audiophile, she has served on all four of ALA's audiobook award committees as well as the Audies. In addition to writing the "Voices in My Head" column for Booklist, she is the author of Audiobooks for Youth: A Practical Guide to Sound Literature (ALA, 2013). Follow her on Twitter at @mburkey.

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