Monthly Archives: December 2010

We Sing Sea Shanties On The Show Floor

In two weeks, the entire team will be in Sunny San Diego, at the American Library Association’s Midwinter Conference, to tell institutions (primarily libraries) about our product, and to see if they’d be interested in giving it a try. We’ll be exhibiting on the convention show floor, at Table 722. The Tables are the small products area; in most cases, these are products or services that are just starting out. It’s always a good place to see what kinds of new products are appearing in the marketplace. Serials Solutions started in the table 10-1/2 years ago; they’ll have a 30′ by 30′ booth at this conference.

What we don’t have in size, we make up for in originality. At this show, we’re running a promotion that we’re calling “We Sing Sea Shanties On The Show Floor”. When you sign up your library for a free trial of, we (well, specifically, I) will sing you a sea shanty, right there, among the other exhibitors. It won’t be amplified; we won’t have a singing Elvis or anything like that, but it will be different. So bring your library’s IP addresses, so we can get your trial set up then and there. Then choose your shanty! Or, let me choose a shanty for you.

We’re looking to a very fun — and very different — ALA Midwinter conference! We hope to see you there!


How variant editions can screw up Google Books links

As we’ve mentioned in the blog before, you can link to the full text of many, many resources cited in In fact, with a recent addition of a file containing tens of thousands of online ship images, nearly 90% of the citations provide full-text linking. Much of the linking comes through links to online resources, but others are available via links to books in Google Book Search.

A few weeks ago, several of us at ShipIndex were using some of these links, and found that many links for Sherry Sontag’s book Blind Man’s Bluff didn’t seem to work. While the links took one to the page cited in the index, the vessel mentioned in the index wasn’t listed on the page that we ended up at in Google Books. So today I picked up a copy of Blind Man’s Bluff from my local public library, to see if I’d made a lot of mistakes in working through the index.

I found that, in fact, I hadn’t made any mistakes – the page numbers in ShipIndex were the same as the page numbers listed in the back of the book. So then I re-tried some of the Google Book links we offer. Once again, a link to page 57 took me to page 57, but USS Halibut wasn’t mentioned on page 57 in Google. So I checked the copy I’d gotten from the library. That’s where I discovered the problem.

The copy from my public library, and the copy I’d originally used when creating the file to add to ShipIndex, came from the first publication of the book, by Public Affairs, a division of Perseus Books, and first published in 1998. But the copy on Google Books is the paperback edition, published by HarperCollins, in 1999, and the pagination, layout, and nearly every other aspect is completely different between the two. The HarperCollins version has 432 pages, while the Perseus version has 352. While the content may be exactly the same, the pagination is obviously different, so linking doesn’t work the way it should.

So now it seems that, in order to make the Google Books linking continue to work, I need to find an index to the HarperCollins edition of the book, and replace the index I’d compiled from the Public Affairs edition. It’s likely not a big deal to get done, but I thought it was an interesting problem that we may come up against more and more in the future.

ShipIndex as a gift!

Know someone who’d love to have access to but won’t get it for themselves? Now, you can do it for them. We now offer fixed-time access to, and you can give this access as a gift. For example, you can give a genealogist-friend access to the database for three months, for $25; give a historian cousin access to the database for six months, for $45; or give a maritime researcher friend access to the database for a full year for $85. It’s a one-time payment, via PayPal (you don’t need to have a PayPal account, and can pay with a credit card this way, as well).

To make it happen, send us a note at We’ll need to know the email address of the recipient, and when you’d like the access to begin. We’ll create a pdf Certificate that you can print out and give, or email to your friend, which will tell them how to access the database, when access will expire, and who is giving it to them. You can then give the certificate whenever you see fit.

This can be a great gift, for any occasion, from a holiday or birthday gift to a retirement or ‘Thank You’ recognition.