Type of site
|Network of library content and services|
|Available in||13 languages|
|Owner||Online Computer Library Center|
|Registration||Optional, but some features require registration (such as writing reviews and making lists or bibliographies)|
|Launched||January 21, 1998|
WorldCat is a union catalog that itemizes the collections of 17,900 libraries in 123 countries and territoriesthat participate in the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) global cooperative. It is operated by OCLC, Inc. The subscribing member libraries collectively maintain WorldCat's database, the world's largest bibliographic database. 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 the general public and by librarians for cataloging and research.
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.
A library is a curated collection of sources of information and similar resources, selected by experts and made accessible to a defined community for reference or borrowing. It provides physical or digital access to material, and may be a physical location or a virtual space, or both. A library's collection can include books, periodicals, newspapers, manuscripts, films, maps, prints, documents, microform, CDs, cassettes, videotapes, DVDs, Blu-ray Discs, e-books, audiobooks, databases, and other formats. Libraries range widely in size up to millions of items. In Latin and Greek, the idea of a bookcase is represented by Bibliotheca and Bibliothēkē : derivatives of these mean library in many modern languages, e.g. French bibliothèque.
A database is an organized collection of data, generally stored and accessed electronically from a computer system. Where databases are more complex they are often developed using formal design and modeling techniques.
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.
OCLC, Inc., d/b/a OCLC is an American nonprofit cooperative organization "dedicated to the public purposes of furthering access to the world's information and reducing information costs". It was founded in 1967 as the Ohio College Library Center, then became the Online Computer Library Center as it expanded. OCLC and 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 have to pay for its services. OCLC also maintains the Dewey Decimal Classification system.
Frederick "Fred" Gridley Kilgour was an American librarian and educator known as the founding director of OCLC, an international computer library network and database that changed the way people use libraries. He was its president and executive director from 1967 to 1980.
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.
A wiki is a knowledge base website on which users collaboratively modify content and structure directly from the web browser. In a typical wiki, text is written using a simplified markup language and often edited with the help of a rich-text editor.
User-generated content (UGC), alternatively known as user-created content (UCC), is any form of content, such as images, videos, text and audio, that have been posted by users on online platforms such as social media and wikis. The term "user-generated content" and the concept it refers to entered mainstream usage in the mid-2000s, having arisen in web publishing and new media content production circles. The BBC adopted a user-generated content platform for its websites in 2005, and TIME Magazine named "You" as the Person of the Year in 2006, referring to the rise in the production of UGC on Web 2.0 platforms. CNN also invested in developed a similar user generated content platform, known as iReport. There are several other examples of news channels implementing similar protocols, especially in the immediate aftermath of a catastrophe or terrorist attack. Social media users are able to provide key eyewitness content and information that may otherwise have been inaccessible. Due to new media and technology affordances, such as low cost and low barriers to entry, the Internet is an easy platform to create and dispense user generated content, allowing the dissemination of information at a rapid pace in the wake an event taking place. However, UGC is not solely limited to mainstream news or media.
In 2006, it became possible for anyone to search WorldCat directly at its open website,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", predominantly authors and persons who are the subjects of published titles.
As of May 2019, WorldCat contained over 450 million bibliographic records in 484 languages, representing over 2.8 billion physical and digital library assets,and the WorldCat persons dataset (mined from WorldCat) included over 100 million people.
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WorldCat contains records in MAchine Readable Cataloging (MARC) format contributed by library catalogers worldwide who use OCLC as a cataloging tool, and these MARC format records can also be downloaded into other libraries' local catalog systems. This allows libraries to find and download records for materials they are adding to their local catalog, without having to undergo the lengthy process of creating a new catalog entry from scratch for each new item.
WorldCat operates on a batch processing model rather than a real-time model. That is, WorldCat records are synchronized at intermittent intervals with the underlying library catalogs instead of real-time or every day. Consequently:
As an alternative, WorldCat allows participating institutions to add direct links from WorldCat to their own catalog entries for a particular item, which enables the user to determine its real-time status.However, this still requires users to open multiple Web pages, each pointing to a different online public access catalog with its own distinctive user interface design (which places item status in a different portion of the Web browser display), until they can locate a catalog entry that shows the item is currently available at a particular library.
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.
The reference desk or information desk of a library is a public service counter where professional librarians provide library users with direction to library materials, advice on library collections and services, and expertise on multiple kinds of information from multiple sources.
Interlibrary loan is a service whereby a patron of one library can borrow books, DVDs, music, etc. and/or receive photocopies of documents that are owned by another library. The user makes a request with their home library; which, acting as an intermediary, identifies libraries with the desired item, places the request, receives the item, makes it available to the user, as well as arranges for its return. The lending library usually sets a due date and overdue fees of the material borrowed. Although books and journal articles are the most frequently requested items, some libraries will lend audio recordings, video recordings, maps, sheet music, and microforms of all kinds. In some cases, nominal fees accompany the interlibrary loan services.
A library catalog is a register of all bibliographic items found in a library or group of libraries, such as a network of libraries at several locations. A bibliographic item can be any information entity that is considered library material, or a group of library materials, or linked from the catalog as far as it is relevant to the catalog and to the users (patrons) of the library.
An online public access catalog is an online database of materials held by a library
Discogs is a website and crowdsourced database of information about audio recordings, including commercial releases, promotional releases, and bootleg or off-label releases. The Discogs servers, currently hosted under the domain name discogs.com, are owned by Zink Media, Inc., and are located in Portland, Oregon, US. While the site lists releases in all genres and on all formats, it is especially known as the largest online database of electronic music releases, and of releases on vinyl media. Discogs currently contains over 11 million releases, by over 5.4 million artists, across over 1.1 million labels, contributed from over 456,000 contributor user accounts — with these figures constantly growing as users continually add previously unlisted releases to the site over time.
OpenURL is a standardized format for encoding a description of a resource within a Uniform Resource Locator (URL), intended to help Internet users to find a copy of the resource that they are allowed to access. Although OpenURL could be used with any kind of resource on the Internet, it is usually used by libraries to help connect patrons with such content as articles, books, or patents held in their collections or available by subscription. The National Information Standards Organization has developed standards for OpenURL and its data container as American National Standards Institute standard ANSI/NISO Z39.88-2004.
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.
Open Library is an online project intended to create "one web page for every book ever published". Created by Aaron Swartz, Brewster Kahle, Alexis Rossi, Anand Chitipothu, and Rebecca Malamud, Open Library is a project of the Internet Archive, a nonprofit organization. It has been funded in part by grants from the California State Library and the Kahle/Austin Foundation. Open Library provides online access to many public domain and out-of-print books.
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to library science:
ArchiveGrid is a collection of over five million archival material descriptions, including MARC records from WorldCat and finding aids harvested from the web. It contains archival collections held by thousands of libraries, museums, historical societies, and archives. Contribution to the system is available to any institution. Most of the contributions are from United States based institutions, but many other countries are represented, including Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom. ArchiveGrid is associated with OCLC Research and helps to advance their goals of making archival collections and materials easier to find. ArchiveGrid is described as "the ultimate destination for searching through family histories, political papers, and historical records held in archives around the world."
WHOIS is a query and response protocol that is widely used for querying databases that store the registered users or assignees of an Internet resource, such as a domain name, an IP address block or an autonomous system, but is also used for a wider range of other information. The protocol stores and delivers database content in a human-readable format. The current iteration of the WHOIS protocol was drafted by the Internet Society, and is documented in RFC 3912.
Library technical services are the ongoing maintenance activities of a library's collection, including the three broad areas of collection development, cataloging, and processing. Technical services are the infrastructure that enable the user's experience of many library services.
Evergreen is an open source Integrated Library System (ILS), initially developed by the Georgia Public Library Service for Public Information Network for Electronic Services (PINES), a statewide resource-sharing consortium with over 270 member libraries.
Faceted search is a technique which 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. 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 is 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.
EZproxy is a web proxy server used by libraries to give access from outside the library's computer network to restricted-access websites that authenticate users by IP address. This allows library patrons at home or elsewhere to log in through their library's EZproxy server and gain access to resources to which their library subscribes, such as bibliographic databases.
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.