February 2010 Archives
This post graciously comes to us from Gary Perlman, a Consulting Research Scientist at OCLC who works on WorldCat searching, improving user interfaces and analyzing the overall user experience for WorldCat.org, among other sites.
The links above are for generic types not on particular subjects. Tens of thousands of WorldCat catalogers have added subject headings to millions of records, primarily using the Library of Congress Subject Headings. These are the hotlinked subject headings you see under "More Like This" and "Related Subjects". They are chosen from a controlled vocabulary by cataloging experts and ensure that items with the same focus use the same terminology.
Unlike the general keyword index, which matches terms anywhere in records, the subject headings index is much more precise, while at the same time, less forgiving.
Subject headings provide precise hotlinks to similar items, but it's best to use the subject hotlinks in records because guessing and using the wrong terms instead of the controlled vocabularly used by catalogers can give you poor results. Once you have some subject headings that you like, you can save them for future use to show you high-quality results in that subject area. You can also limit them to specific languages, ranges of publication years, and by format, content, and audience. Each of the following is limited to English non-fiction books published in 2010. On January 1, 2010, some links matched no books, but new items are added every day.
* Economic Development: adult, juvenile.
* Genealogy: adult, juvenile.
* Global Warming: adult, juvenile.
* Globalization: adult, juvenile.
* Nutrition: adult, juvenile.
* Presidents: adult, juvenile.
* Social Networks: adult, juvenile.
* Sports Doping: adult, juvenile.
* United Nations: adult, juvenile.
Of course, subject headings can be used to find fiction. Instead of saving a search with a particular year, you can save a search with a sorting option to show the most recent publications first, such as with these juvenile offerings: Wizards, Witches, Vikings, or Dragons.
Final Tip: You can remove the language, year, format and other limits in the "Refine Your Search" section on the left side of the results. Just click on "All Languages", "All Years", etc.
We're always excited when a mainstream news outlet talks about using the library and features all the latest ways to access the great content available through libraries.
The popular Professors' Guide blog reminded their readers last week to use e-resources, WorldCat.org (tip #3!), ILL and living, breathing reference librarians in their post, Writing a Paper? Try these 7 Research Tips.
You may remember that the Professors Guide featured ways to get more out of your college library last March (2009), so it's definitely one to watch if you have rising high school seniors or first year undergraduates in your midst!
Editor's note: this is a special guest post in a new occasional series to highlight how WorldCat.org helps specialized searchers find what they're looking for. Taneya Koonce is both a librarian and a genealogy researcher, making her an especially interesting guest blogger. If YOU'RE interested in submitting a guest post about specific searchers for the WorldCat blog, please leave a comment and we will follow up with you.
As an information professional who pursues genealogy as a hobby, I am always interested in utilizing and sharing resources more likely to be known to professionals in my field. During the past few weeks, I've been delighted by one of the popular genealogy-blogging themes, 52 Weeks to Better Genealogy where each of the prompts so far this year have been designed to encourage genealogists to further explore and use their library resources; in fact, the series creator is a librarian herself . Week 5 of the series has particular emphasis here because the goal was to encourage hundreds of genea-bloggers to explore WorldCat.org and I'm a huge personal fan of WorldCat.
So, from Jan 30 - Feb 5 many geneabloggers took an opportunity to check you out WorldCat - did you notice any spikes in your usage? I wrote to WorldCat to let them know of these goings-on in case they were unaware, but someone was paying attention! Alice, one of the WorldCat bloggers wrote me back noting that she'd seen this and asked me to do a guest post. I was honored at the invitation! If you'd like to read some of the responses to the challenge, you can visit the group roll-up feed at the GeneaBloggers website though at the time of this writing, everyone is now working on Week 7 so you may have to scroll down some to see those from Week 5.
The posts are a great opportunity for WorldCat to better understand searching behavior and how a variety of individuals interact with the site as they seek to make improvements and updates. I hope too that all my fellow geneabloggers out there have also come to understand just how valuable this resource can be for family history research. I use this site almost daily. And it's great that it's also on my Android phone.... :-)
Here's the Top 20 List for January in order of views. Items new to the list are emphasized in italics:
1. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
2. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
3. Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer
4. Dear John by Nicholas Sparks
5. Push by Sapphire
6. New Moon by Stephenie Meyer
7. Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer
8. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling
9. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
10. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
11. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J. K. Rowling
12. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
13. Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
14. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
15. The Secret by Rhonda Byrne
16. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
17. Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man by Steve Harvey
18. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett
19. Going Rogue by Sarah Palin
20. Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Simone Beck, Louisette Bertholle and Julia Child
Gone from the list:
6. The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown
7. Delphine by Molly Bang
8. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
13. Sea Swept by Nora Roberts
14. Cajun Night Before Christmas by Trosclair
18. The Sounds of Slavery by Shane White and Graham White
19. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
You may have been excited when you heard that OAIster content was being indexed on WorldCat.org. The latest news is that a new site is available that only includes OAIster and its millions of metadata records.
OAIster records will continue to be indexed in WorldCat.org, of course, and will be integrated in WorldCat.org search results along with "regular" records from thousands of libraries worldwide.
What is OAIster again?
OAIster is a union catalog of digital resources hosted at the University of Michigan since 2002. Launched with grant support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, OAIster was developed to test the feasibility of building a portal to open-archive collections using the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH). In 2009, OCLC formed a partnership with the University of Michigan in order to provide continued access to open-archive collections through the OAIster database.
What does it mean for you?
Access to 23 million records for open-archive collections, contributed by more than 1,100 organizations worldwide.
This quick but uber-helpful walkthrough comes to us from the LibraryTechTalk blog, a team blog from the Albert S. Cook Library at Towson University. David, one of the Emerging Technologies Librarians on staff, put together a few simple steps that outline how to create a WorldCat list and then how to get that list onto your WorldCat list widget.
So go check it out and get busy making your lists and widgetizing them!
The top five items that WorldCat Libraries added in January 2010 are:
- Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association which was added by 2252 institutions.
- Eidi, has reading level of elementary and junior high school. Eidi was added by 1927 institutions.
- How to Build Your own Country, is appropriate for primary (elementary) school readers. It's been added by 1899 institutions.
- Million-Dollar Throw also for elementary and junior high school readers. 1827 institutions added Million-Dollar Throw.
- Touchdown: The Power and Precision of Football's Perfect Play also appropriate for elementary and junior high school readers. It has been added by 1790 institutions.
All of the above, except the number one spot, were Junior Library Guild selections.
The most recently added items lists appear on the WorldCat Library's profile page, such as our metro library here in Columbus. You can find your own local library's profile by searching WorldCat Libraries, if they are a WorldCat library, you can see their recent items. This month 716 libraries show up with new items giving us a total of 14,014 institutions that added new materials within WorldCat.
We were tickled pink on Monday evening to see the New York Times FirstLook blog was featuring a mashup made from the NYT Best Sellers API and WorldCat.org links. Built by Wade Guidry of the Collins Memorial Library at the University of Puget Sound, the mashup uses Yahoo Pipes, to let Puget Sound library users find New York Times Best sellers for hardcover nonfiction, paperback nonfiction, and hardcover fiction via RSS feeds. It makes a lot of sense, if you're looking to see what the rest of the U.S. thinks is worth reading--from titles available at your library.
A nice touch in their catalog, too, is the library map display. So when you find an item you're interested in, it shows you the handy schematic of where you find it in the library building. I know all too well the woes of wandering all over, looking at call numbers on shelves in an unfamiliar library location.
While we won't be able to include that level of granularity on WorldCat.org for a long time (!) Wade's mashup shows how putting two things together, with a little developer elbow grease, can really create a super useful tool that more than doubles the value. (Of course, since he's a WorldCat Mashathon alumni, would we expect anything less?)