Type of site
|Network of library content and services|
|Available in||13 languages|
|Registration||Optional, but some features require registration (such as writing reviews and making lists or bibliographies)|
|Launched||January 21, 1998 (date of registry of the new domain name; the database already existed since 1971)|
WorldCat is a union catalog that itemizes the collections of tens of thousands of institutions (mostly libraries), in many countries, that are current or past members of the OCLC global cooperative.It is operated by OCLC, Inc. Many of the OCLC member libraries collectively maintain WorldCat's database, the world's largest bibliographic database. The database includes other information sources in addition to member library collections. OCLC makes WorldCat itself available free to libraries, but the catalog is the foundation for other subscription OCLC services (such as resource sharing and collection management). WorldCat is used by librarians for cataloging and research and by the general public.
As of December 2021 [update] , WorldCat contained over 540 million bibliographic records in 483 languages, representing over 3 billion physical and digital library assets, and the WorldCat persons dataset (mined from WorldCat) included over 100 million people.
OCLC was founded in 1967 under the leadership of Fred Kilgour.That same year, OCLC began to develop the union catalog technology that would later evolve into WorldCat; the first catalog records were added in 1971.
In 2003, OCLC began the "Open WorldCat" pilot program, making abbreviated records from a subset of WorldCat available to partner web sites and booksellers, to increase the accessibility of its subscribing member libraries' collections.
In October 2005, the OCLC technical staff began a wiki project, WikiD, allowing readers to add commentary and structured-field information associated with any WorldCat record.WikiD was later phased out, although WorldCat later incorporated user-generated content in other ways.
In 2006, it became possible for anyone to search WorldCat directly at its open website WorldCat.org,not only through the subscription FirstSearch interface where it had been available on the web to subscribing libraries for more than a decade before. Options for more sophisticated searches of WorldCat have remained available through the FirstSearch interface.
In 2007, WorldCat Identities began providing pages for 20 million "identities", which are metadata about names—predominantly authors and persons who are the subjects of published titles.
In 2017, OCLC's WorldCat Search API was integrated into the cite tool of Wikipedia's VisualEditor, allowing Wikipedia editors to cite sources from WorldCat easily.
Beginning in 2017, OCLC and the Internet Archive have collaborated to make the Internet Archive's records of digitized books available in WorldCat.
Local catalogs of many OCLC member libraries are intermittently synchronized with the WorldCat database.WorldCat allows participating institutions to add direct links from WorldCat to their own local catalog entries for particular items, which enables the user to click through to the local catalog to quickly determine an item's real-time status (for example, whether or not it is checked out).
In a small percentage of libraries,the local catalog is also run by OCLC using an integrated library system called WorldCat Discovery and WorldShare Management Services.
Library contributions to WorldCat are made via the Connexion computer program,which was introduced in 2001; its predecessor, OCLC Passport, was phased out in May 2005. Cataloging librarians may also use the WorldShare Record Manager or WorldCat Metadata API for similar purposes.
A discovery system is a bibliographic search system based on search engine technology. It is part of the concept of Library 2.0 and is intended to supplement or even replace the existing OPAC catalogs. These systems emerged in the late 2000s in response to user desire for a more convenient search option similar to that of internet search engine. The results from searching a discovery system may include books and other print materials from the library's catalog, electronic resources such as e-journals or videos, and items stored in other libraries.
The online public access catalog (OPAC), now frequently synonymous with library catalog, is an online database of materials held by a library or group of libraries. Online catalogs have largely replaced the analog card catalogs previously used in libraries.
Discogs is a database of information about audio recordings, including commercial releases, promotional releases, and bootleg or off-label releases. While the site was originally created with a goal of becoming the largest online database of electronic music, the site now includes releases in all genres on all formats. After the database was opened to contributions from the public, rock music began to become the most prevalent genre listed.
OCLC, Inc., doing business as OCLC, is an American nonprofit cooperative organization "that provides shared technology services, original research, and community programs for its membership and the library community at large". It was founded in 1967 as the Ohio College Library Center, then became the Online Computer Library Center as it expanded. In 2017, the name was formally changed to OCLC, Inc. OCLC and thousands of its member libraries cooperatively produce and maintain WorldCat, the largest online public access catalog (OPAC) in the world. OCLC is funded mainly by the fees that libraries pay for the many different services it offers. OCLC also maintains the Dewey Decimal Classification system.
In information systems, a tag is a keyword or term assigned to a piece of information. This kind of metadata helps describe an item and allows it to be found again by browsing or searching. Tags are generally chosen informally and personally by the item's creator or by its viewer, depending on the system, although they may also be chosen from a controlled vocabulary.
The Research Libraries Group (RLG) was a U.S.-based library consortium that existed from 1974 until its merger with the OCLC library consortium in 2006. RLG developed the Eureka interlibrary search engine, the RedLightGreen database of bibliographic descriptions, and ArchiveGrid, a database containing descriptions of archival collections. It also developed a framework known as the "RLG Conspectus" for evaluating research library collections, which evolved into a set of descriptors used in library collection policy statements, last updated in 1997. The Library of Congress used the conspectus in 2015 in the revision of its own collection policy statement, and decided to retain this resource on its website, as a helpful scale for judging an academic collection's depth.
DSpace is an open source repository software package typically used for creating open access repositories for scholarly and/or published digital content. While DSpace shares some feature overlap with content management systems and document management systems, the DSpace repository software serves a specific need as a digital archives system, focused on the long-term storage, access and preservation of digital content. The optional DSpace registry lists almost three thousand repositories all over the world.
Google Books is a service from Google Inc. that searches the full text of books and magazines that Google has scanned, converted to text using optical character recognition (OCR), and stored in its digital database. Books are provided either by publishers and authors through the Google Books Partner Program, or by Google's library partners through the Library Project. Additionally, Google has partnered with a number of magazine publishers to digitize their archives.
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to library science:
The California Digital Library (CDL) was founded by the University of California in 1997. Under the leadership of then UC President Richard C. Atkinson, the CDL's original mission was to forge a better system for scholarly information management and improved support for teaching and research. In collaboration with the ten University of California Libraries and other partners, CDL assembled one of the world's largest digital research libraries. CDL facilitates the licensing of online materials and develops shared services used throughout the UC system. Building on the foundations of the Melvyl Catalog, CDL has developed one of the largest online library catalogs in the country and works in partnership with the UC campuses to bring the treasures of California's libraries, museums, and cultural heritage organizations to the world. CDL continues to explore how services such as digital curation, scholarly publishing, archiving and preservation support research throughout the information lifecycle.
Serials Solutions was a division of ProQuest that provided e-resource access and management services (ERAMS) to libraries. These products enabled librarians to more easily manage electronic resources that serve the needs of their users. Serials Solutions became part of ProQuest Workflow Solutions in 2011 and the "Serials Solutions" name was retired in 2014. In 2015, Proquest acquired Ex Libris Group, a library automation company with many similar products to those of ProQuest Workflow Solutions. The Workflow Solutions division was to be merged with Ex Libris into a new business group called "Ex Libris, a ProQuest Company".
Frederick Gridley Kilgour was an American librarian and educator known as the founding director of OCLC, an international computer library network and database. He was its president and executive director from 1967 to 1980.
A union catalog is a combined library catalog describing the collections of a number of libraries. Union catalogs have been created in a range of media, including book format, microform, cards and more recently, networked electronic databases. Print union catalogs are typically arranged by title, author or subject ; electronic versions typically support keyword and Boolean queries. Union catalogs are useful to librarians, as they assist in locating and requesting materials from other libraries through interlibrary loan service. They also allow researchers to search through collections to which they would not otherwise have access, such as manuscript collections.
Geospatial metadata is a type of metadata applicable to geographic data and information. Such objects may be stored in a geographic information system (GIS) or may simply be documents, data-sets, images or other objects, services, or related items that exist in some other native environment but whose features may be appropriate to describe in a (geographic) metadata catalog.
Zotero is a free and open-source reference management software to manage bibliographic data and related research materials, such as PDF files. Features include web browser integration, online syncing, generation of in-text citations, footnotes, and bibliographies, an integrated PDF reader and note editor, as well as integration with the word processors Microsoft Word, LibreOffice Writer, and Google Docs. It was originally created at the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University, and, as of 2021, is developed by the non-profit Corporation for Digital Scholarship.
Faceted search is a technique that involves augmenting traditional search techniques with a faceted navigation system, allowing users to narrow down search results by applying multiple filters based on faceted classification of the items. It is sometimes referred to as a parametric search technique. A faceted classification system classifies each information element along multiple explicit dimensions, called facets, enabling the classifications to be accessed and ordered in multiple ways rather than in a single, pre-determined, taxonomic order.
LibX was a free, open-source scholars' extension for the Internet Explorer browser that lets people use services offered by their library. Users can search their library catalog(s) and databases through a search bar or through a context menu. The context menu is adaptive and configurable. LibX supports the catalogs of all major vendors. In addition, any resource that can be searched using an http GET request can be included, similar to Firefox's smart keywords.
Metadata is "data that provides information about other data", but not the content of the data, such as the text of a message or the image itself. There are many distinct types of metadata, including:
Trove is an Australian online library database aggregator and service which includes full text documents, digital images, bibliographic and holdings data of items which are not available digitally, and a free faceted-search engine as a discovery tool. The database includes archives, images, newspapers, official documents, archived websites, manuscripts and other types of data. Hosted by the National Library of Australia in partnership with content providers, including members of the National and State Libraries Australia, it is one of the most well-respected and accessed GLAM services in Australia, with over 70,000 daily users.
A pathfinder is a bibliography created to help begin research in a particular topic or subject area.. Pathfinders produced by the Library of Congress are known as "tracer bullets". What is special about a pathfinder is that it only refers to the information in a specific location, i.e. the shelves of a local library.
Frederick G. Kilgour, a distinguished librarian who nearly 40 years ago transformed a consortium of Ohio libraries into what is now the largest library cooperative in the world, making the catalogs of thousands of libraries around the globe instantly accessible to far-flung patrons, died on Monday in Chapel Hill, N.C. He was 92.
Online ratings, tags, reviews, recommendations, lists, rankings, personal profiles—the social media revolution is here. It seems the world has exploded with Web 2.0, social networking tools and sites.
Breeding  also makes the following observations about the benefits of the search system: the presence of a more visually appealing interface; the grouping of related material; faceted navigation; and the capability for user-generated content (e.g., reviews). Eden  also refers to the advantages of user-generated content possible in WCL...
Online Computer Library Center has developed two new programs. One is called EPIC, a new command-driven full online service with sophisticated searching features, including subject searches, intended for librarians and other experienced users. The other, designed for end-users, is FirstSearch, which contains the database materials found in EPIC or subsets of them but has a menu interface that nonspecialists find easy to use. Both EPIC and FirstSearch make available the full OCLC Online Union Catalog (called WorldCat in FirstSearch), but they also function as online database services, offering their users a wide array of other databases.
OCLC's WorldShare cloud system has yet to achieve critical mass, amounting to 10% of the academic market (but only 4% of ARL), and OCLC's entire public library business represents just 10% of the public library market.For another source of statistics on library system market share, see: "Library Technology Guides: Marketshare Report". librarytechnology.org.