Tuesday, March 02, 2021

Experience the joys of the physical library right in your web browser with Open Library Explorer


We all have seen the whole year of 2020 hit severely by the Covid-19 pandemic. All schools, colleges, universities, and libraries were closed. People were bound to stay inside their homes and study with the limited resources they have. This need brought a paradigm shift in the ways of access to the resources. Library communities across the world have taken many initiatives of making maximum resources available online to a large number of users during this pandemic. Open Library Explorer is one of these.

Open Library Explorer

The beta version of Open Library Explorer has just launched in December 2020 to receive your feedback. It is a digital interface that gives readers the feeling as if they are navigating a physical library. Readers can seamlessly navigate to the sea of books anywhere online with a better experience.

Key features:

  • Open Library Explorer presents you with the clickable shelves arranged category-wise like a computer and information science, religion, social sciences, philosophy, and psychology, etc.
  • The settings on the page allow you to choose between DDC or LC classification schemes.
  • In settings, we can also select the layout of books on the shelf like 3D, 3D Spines, 3D Flat that we want to see.
  • Readers have many options to select from the smart filter on the page to personalize their library.
  • Smart filters give the choice of converting your entire library to transform into a Children's library.

Open Library

Open Library is a project of the Internet Archive with a vision of making universal access to all knowledge with the contribution of librarians, authors, government officials, technologists, and book readers. Open Library is a non-profit, open-source, digital public library that lends millions of ebooks to its patrons. It is an open project that is open-source, open-data, and open for people who want to give their time and effort to building the site. The goal of the Open Library project is “one page for every book ever published anywhere in the world”. Even though it is a lofty goal, the team has gathered more than 20 million records from a variety of large catalog records and with a single contribution. All are welcome to contribute either a new entry or corrections to the existing catalog, just like in Wikipedia.

There are many roles in an Open library project you can contribute as a volunteer:

  • As a technical writer, storyteller, editor, video maker, marketer, researcher, and idea person, you can contribute to the Open Library project by making its resources discoverable and more accessible to readers.
  • As a software engineer, you can help fix bugs and build new features and programs that reach millions of book lovers.
  • As a translator, to make the knowledge available and accessible in other languages across the globe.
  • As a beta tester, you can test features and give feedback.
  • As a designer and user researcher.

As a librarian, how can you contribute to an open library project?

Librarians can help to improve and edit the library catalog. Data errors like misspelled authors’ names, missing book covers, and duplicated entries are identified and fixed. Librarians can work together and communicate using a Slack chat channel hosted by Open Library. Open Library’s engineering team has created many resources for librarians to empower them in fixing common data problems at scale.


  1. https://blog.openlibrary.org/
  2. https://openlibrary.org/
  3. https://openlibrary.org/explore
  4. https://www.infodocket.com/2020/12/15/a-new-experimental-interface-introducing-the-open-library-explorer/


  1. The Open Library project is a wiki-editable library catalog attempting to build a page on the web for every book ever published. Just like Wikipedia, anyone can edit, correct or add records to it.

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