An announcement was sent to OCLC’s xidentifier-l mailing list about some updates they made to the Library Lookup bookmarklet, which uses xISBN to make it so that if your web browser is displaying something about a book, you can press a button and see if your local library has a copy. Pretty handy. If you’re looking at a book at Amazon, knowing you can have a copy (though perhaps a different manifestation) of it waiting at your local library branch in a couple of days will make you rethink whether you really need to buy it.
I haven’t tried the new system, and there was some discussion about it on the list; it was reported that the current system is not the final one, so if you’re going to do any serious work with it, get on the list and ask.
Ultimately, what we want are tools so that whenever someone mentions a book, CD, DVD, work, expression, whatever, we will have simple tools that will let us find, identify, select, and obtain an item of some suitable expression and manifestation of that work. (Perhaps the exact manifestation mentioned.) “The Three Musketeers is one of the greatest adventure novels ever written, you say? Let me press a button and see my options. Ah, new Pevear translation from Viking, available for sale for $24.99 but my library has it and I can pick it up right now, or I can get the Richard Lester movie on DVD in the shop on the corner.” This tool is one step towards that.