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Web address
Slogan Make a bibliography. It's free, easy and OttoMatic.
Type of site
Registration no
Created by Jonathan Otto
Launched January 2006
Current status operational is a website with a free tool to generate an alphabetized bibliography of books from a list of International Standard Book Numbers (ISBN) with output in MLA, APA, Chicago/Turabian, BibTeX and Wikipedia {{cite book}} format.[1] Each query also generates a "temporary" permalink (self-destructs in about one month) which can be used to recall the bibliography without reentering the ISBN data. The site is a metasearch engine, integrating data from several sources, including the U.S. Library of Congress API, the database of books, and OttoBib accepts ISBNs with either 10 or 13 digits.

Background[edit] was started as a hobby project in 2006 by Jonathan Otto, a then 4th year undergraduate at the University of Wisconsin–La Crosse, USA.[2] It was originally called "That's Crazy Hot!" but the name was quickly changed to OttoBib because the original title was "not suitable for the academic environment and consequently won't take off."[3]

The original inspiration for the site came from Seth Godin's January 3, 2006 blog post on "Stuck Systems", where he wrote:

"A quick online search didn't turn up what seemed obvious to me: a free service that would allow a writer to type in all the ISBNs used in creating a paper and then generate two things:

1. a bibliography based on looking up the data online and
2. a web page that would allow the reader/teacher to see the books, their covers... etc."[4]

Functionality[edit] performs the two basic functions outlined. Marcus P. Zillman, an Internet information retrieval consultant and speaker said "this website is the start of a new paradigm of citing sources."[5] Jason Clarke, a writer and web developer, said OttoBib is a "tool that solves a simple problem in a simple manner."[6]


In January 2007, OttoBib introduced a REST interface to allow a citation to be generated from a URL that contains the ISBN. For example, ISBN 0-19-511797-2 can be used in the URL:

to display

Patterson, J., (1997). Grand Expectations. Oxford Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press.

In February 2007, OttoBib introduced the ability to request citations in BibTeX and Wikipedia {{cite book}} formats.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Boswell, Wendy (October 2, 2006). "Back to School: Automate your citations with Ottobib". 
  2. ^ Web 2.0 Application Listings -- About the company
  3. ^ Jonathan Otto (January 13, 2006). "That's Crazy Hot!". OttoBib Blog. Archived from the original on 2006-11-01. Retrieved 2007-02-20. 
  4. ^ Stuck systems January 3, 2006 post on Seth Godin's Blog
  5. ^ Internet Happenings, Events and Sources December 11, 2006 post by Marcus P. Zillman, accessed December 24, 2006
  6. ^ Downloadsquad review posted Sep 20, 2006 by Jason Clarke

External links[edit]