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Wednesday, 11th April 2007

OCLC to Pilot WorldCat Local

UPDATED: April 23, 2007: OCLC’s WorldCat Local: A Promising Development for Library Patrons
New article by Barbara Quint.

From the news release:

New service brings together local discovery, delivery within global network OCLC is piloting a new service that will allow libraries to combine the cooperative power of OCLC member libraries worldwide with the ability to customize WorldCat.org as a solution for local discovery and delivery services.

The WorldCat Local pilot builds on WorldCat.org, which allows Web access to the world's richest database for discovery of materials held in libraries. Through a locally branded interface, the service will provide libraries the ability to search the entire WorldCat database and present results beginning with items most accessible to the patron. These might include collections from the home library, collections shared in a consortium, and open access collections.

The complete announcement with many more details is available here.

Things we're thinking about:
1) Is this the beginning of the end for the local catalog from OPAC providers? In other words, will "chunks" of WorldCat become the local catalog? OPAC vendors (the pilot is being tested with several of them) would still handle acquisitions, circulation, etc.

2) It's always exciting to see new things/ideas but we wish that OCLC would also get other longtime WorldCat issues up and running correctly. For example, showing duplicate entries, showing libraries that the general public does not have access to (with no explanation available as to what a typical user can access or not access), no explanation or documentation about the tools to limit a search (the left rail material), only showing Amazon.com to purchase books. Wouldn't it be more useful to both end users and librarians alike to show comparison pricing info using a site like BookFinder or Isbn.nu?

3) How often are Google, Yahoo, and MSN adding/updating records?

4) When will we see the migration of the RedLightGreen bibliography creation tool?

5) Are user contributed reviews on WorldCat records being utilized? We randomly checked a few titles (new and classic bestsellers). Not one had user contributed reviews.
++ The audacity of hope: thoughts on reclaiming the American dream
by Barack Obama
++ Freakonomics
by Steven D Levitt; Stephen J Dubner
++ The world is flat : a brief history of the twenty-first century
by Thomas L Friedman
++ Einstein
by Walter Isaacson
A Few Classics Again, no user reviews.
++ Gone With the Wind
++ DVD: Citizen Kane
++ Joy of Cooking (1997)
++ Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone


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