WorldCat Identities

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Five-color WorldCat emblem, with WorldCat in black letters and OCLC in smaller grey letters
Type of site
Network of library content and services
Available in
  • Chinese (Simplified)
  • Chinese (Traditional)
  • Czech
  • Dutch
  • English
  • French
  • German
  • Italian
  • Korean
  • Japanese
  • Portuguese
  • Spanish
  • Thai
  • Urdu
OwnerOnline Computer Library Center
Alexa rankNegative increase 3,433 (February 2019)[1]
RegistrationOptional, but some features require registration (such as writing reviews and making lists or bibliographies)
LaunchedJanuary 21, 1998; 23 years ago (1998-01-21)[2]
Current statusOnline
Content license
Copyright policy
OCLC number756372754

WorldCat is a union catalog that lists the collections of 17,900 libraries in 123 countries and territories[3] that participate in the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) global cooperative. It is operated by OCLC, Inc.[4] The subscribing member libraries work together to maintain WorldCat's database. It is the world's largest bibliographic database. OCLC makes WorldCat itself available for free to libraries, but the catalog is also used 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.

History[change | change source]

OCLC was founded in 1967 under the leadership of Fred Kilgour.[5] 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.[5][6]

In 2003, OCLC began the "Open WorldCat" pilot program, making shorter records from a some of WorldCat available to partner web sites and booksellers. OCLC did this so that subscribing member libraries' collections would become more accessible.[7][8]

In October 2005, the OCLC technical staff began a wiki project called WikiD. It let readers add comments and structured-field information to any WorldCat record.[9] WikiD was later phased out, although WorldCat later incorporated user-generated content in other ways.[10][11]

In 2006, it became possible for anyone to search WorldCat directly at its open website,[12] It had been available on the web to subscribing libraries for more than ten years already.[13] Options for more sophisticated searches of WorldCat have remained available through the FirstSearch interface.[12]

In 2007, WorldCat Identities began showing pages for 20 million "identities." Identities are mostly authors and people who books are about.[14]

In May 2019, WorldCat held over 450 million bibliographic records in 484 languages. Record over 2.8 billion physical and digital library items.[4] The WorldCat persons dataset (mined from WorldCat) included over 100 million people.[15]

Related pages[change | change source]

References[change | change source]

  1. " Traffic, Demographics and Competitors – Alexa". Retrieved 4 February 2019.
  2. 1998 is the date of registry of the domain; see: " WHOIS, DNS, & Domain Info – DomainTools". WHOIS. Retrieved 2017-01-21. However, the union catalog that became WorldCat was started three decades earlier, and it was already available on the web to subscriber libraries at several years before was a registered domain name; see: " WHOIS, DNS, & Domain Info – DomainTools". WHOIS. Retrieved 2019-06-26.
  3. "About OCLC". Online Computer Library Center. Retrieved August 18, 2019.
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Inside WorldCat". OCLC. OCLC, Inc. Retrieved 19 August 2019.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Margalit Fox (August 2, 2006). "Frederick G. Kilgour, Innovative Librarian, Dies at 92". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-12-22. 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.
  6. "A brief history of WorldCat". February 10, 2015. Retrieved February 13, 2014.
  7. O'Neill, Nancy (Nov–Dec 2004). "Open WorldCat Pilot: A User's Perspective". Searcher. 12 (10): 54–60. ISSN 1070-4795. OCLC 201889986.
  8. Quint, Barbara (October 27, 2003). "OCLC project opens WorldCat records to Google". Information Today. Retrieved 2019-06-26.
  9. "WikiD". OCLC. Retrieved March 5, 2015.
  10. Storey, Tom (September 2007). "A WorldCat community: using to build a social network of the world's library users" (PDF). NextSpace. OCLC (7): 16–17. ISSN 1559-0011. Retrieved 2019-06-26. 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.
  11. Bertot, John Carlo; Berube, Katy; Devereaux, Peter; Dhakal, Kerry; Powers, Stephen; Ray, Jennie (April 2012). "Assessing the usability of WorldCat Local: findings and considerations". The Library Quarterly. 82 (2): 207–221. doi:10.1086/664588. JSTOR 10.1086/664588. Breeding [2] 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 [3] also refers to the advantages of user-generated content possible in WCL...
  12. 12.0 12.1 Hane, Paula J. (July 17, 2006). "OCLC to open WorldCat searching to the world". Information Today. Retrieved 2019-06-26.
  13. Prucha, Francis Paul (1994). "National online library catalogs". Handbook for research in American history: a guide to bibliographies and other reference works (2nd ed.). Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. pp. 25–27. ISBN 0803237014. OCLC 28018047. 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.
  14. Hickey, Thomas B. (April 15, 2007). "WorldCat Identities: Another View of the Catalog" (PDF). NextSpace. OCLC (6): 18–19. ISSN 1559-0011. Retrieved 2016-01-18.
  15. "Data strategy [WorldCat]". Retrieved 2018-02-11.

Further reading[change | change source]

Other websites[change | change source]