Results tagged “” from WorldCat Blog

In a rare case of "Wow, I can't believe I hadn't done that yet..."

Heather_wee.pngI have been meaning to tell you about this fabulous blog post that a genealogy blogger, Heather Kuhn Roelker, posted back in January. I know, I know...see above disclaimer. Anyway--she shares a story about how she discovers and how her search eventually leads her to the library who holds the materials related to her Great-Great-Great-Grandfather. She'd been searching for information on him for a very long time.

So even though there was some delay in actually locating the materials...due to some very awesome librarians, she eventually gets the letters and explains:

"I immediately found the contact information for the McCormick Library of Special Collections and sent a request, along with the citation from WorldCat. Within two weeks a copy of the archive arrived. Only a genealogist would understand the anticipation and excitement I felt when the packet was delivered."

It's a wonderful thing to know that helped her connect to her family's roots. Plus, who can resist the heartwarming story of overcoming research obstacles to triumph in the end?
Note we do have a few resources specifically for genealogists for Check them out. But my main question is: have you searched for your family history recently?

(Alice note: Andy really wrote this--but he's away from his desk temporarily and asked me to post it.)

OK... so you don't really have to look deeply into my eyes. But if you want to help improve an information-rich website, sometimes you've got to stare into a weird piece of machinery for awhile.

We go to a number of lengths to make better, easier, faster and more robust. As part of these efforts, Lead User Experience Researcher Mike Prasse, PhD, recently conducted an eye-tracking study in order to better understand how the format of search services affect how users process the results. Basically, they hook up some helpful volunteers and watch where their eyes go on the screen as they try to do various searching tasks.

Mike's results indicate that the description that accompanies the title of an entry was very important to users when looking for a book, but less so when searching for articles. In a report on his findings, he discusses how subtle differences in page layout can have a major impact on what users first look at on a results page, and for how long.

He also explores the idea of "attentional slicing," where users look for key features of an object, rather than the object itself as a possible explanation of his findings. Other results include information about facets, summaries and other elements of the two services he compared, and GoogleBooks.

Interesting stuff, and a good "peek" behind the curtain of what it takes to help make better.

compiledimage.jpgNow there's a special buy-it link that connects you to library-provided content on These books are available on a print-on-demand basis and contain public domain works from Cornell University and the University of Michigan.

The new link is found in the "Buy it" section of a detailed record, and will further expand access to the "long tail" information found in relatively few libraries around the world, but now made discoverable to anyone through

Sample titles include the following:
Massasoit of the Wampanoags with a brief commentary on Indian character; and sketches of other great chiefs, tribes and nations; also a chapter on Samoset, Squanto and Hobamock, three early native friends of the Plymouth colonists, by Alvin Gardner Weeks
Haiti, Her History and Her Detractors, by Jacques Nicolas Léger
The Life of a Simple Man, by Emile Guillaumin
The ministers wooing, by Harriet Beecher Stowe

How does this new link help you, the user?
Now you can purchase copies of these rare and valuable materials in the context of other library material results.

Get more details about the buy-it link over on the official announcement.

Google Gadget is back


The Google gadget for WorldCat is back! If you have a Google account, add the updated Google gadget for WorldCat to your iGoogle page.googlegadget.jpg

All OAIster! All the time!

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oaister.jpgYou may have been excited when you heard that OAIster content was being indexed on 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, of course, and will be integrated in 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.

A new WorldCat API available to all


Now anyone and everyone can create apps and mash-ups using library data from WorldCat, because the WorldCat Basic API is here!

This new API is a simple interface to WorldCat. It's envisioned to be most useful for lightweight or mobile apps, developed by people outside the library space. Still, anyone is welcome to build noncommercial services with it. [Commercial services are also welcome, but they must go through the WorldCat partnership team to gain access.]

It supports up to 1,000/queries per day in OpenSearch and retrieves results in RSS or Atom. It also provides:

  • Information about books, videos, music and more in WorldCat

  • Information about authors, titles, ISBNs and OCLC numbers

  • Standard bibliographic citation formats in HTML (APA, Chicago, Harvard, MLA, and Turabian)

  • A link back to for geographically-sorted library information

  • An easy way to include library results in comparison-shopping Web sites, mobile or Facebook apps

To gain access to the WorldCat Basic API, select the WorldCat Basic API on the WorldCat Affiliates Tools page. Sign in with your WorldCat Affiliates account and then you'll be taken to a specific site where your individual WS Key will be auto-generated. If you already have a WorldCat Search API WSKey, then you do NOT need a WorldCat Basic API WSKey.

By making the collective library data in WorldCat as accessible as possible to ALL developers, we hope to generate more awareness and traffic to libraries in general. Which is really good for everybody, isn't it?

Happy coding! We'll be excited to see what new and interesting apps and mashups you create!

New features in June


Last week we updated you on the WorldCat Identities integration enhancement, and you might be interested in a few other enhancements as well:

advancedsearch.jpgUpdates to Advanced Search
Advanced Search has been streamlined and updated in anticipation of the single-search access to your library's OCLC eContent on, coming this summer.

There are now three dropdown boxes that contain index choices such as OCLC number (also called Accession Number), Author, ISBN, ISSN, Keyword, Title and Subject.

publicprivate.jpgPrivacy settings now easier to spot respects your privacy, and now it's even easier to tell at a glance which items you've marked as public or private. Individual items such as favorite libraries, lists and saved searches are now marked with a red circle to indicate private, or a blue parentheses for public. Make any privacy updates from your profile page by clicking on each area's summary section header.

Each month we work on making the site more valuable and easier to use.

Here's a roundup of the latest enhancements to You may have already noticed a few of them, as you've been using the site lately.

New keyword search widget

The latest WorldCat widget is now ready for your download: Keyword Search. Weighing in at 300 pixels wide, this beauty is perfect for subject-specific Web pages and blogs. You customize it with specific search terms initially, so that relevant materials available through are automatically displayed to your site visitors. You can play around with it, here.

Save your WorldCat searches

My saved searches.jpgIf you find yourself repeatedly crafting searches around something specific like a hobby or large-print editions, this new feature will be a real time saver. Just do a search and refine your query as usual. Once you have the results set you want, click the "Save this Search" box in the upper right of the results screen. Now you can see at a glance if new materials are available in a WorldCat library.

Cover art now on brief results
Hooray, check it out!

Profile enhancements: popularity tracking

profile views.jpgYou may not think your activities in WorldCat are interesting to anyone else, but now you can know how popular your profile is through a new ticker. Having a robust profile helps people know more about you when they look at one of your lists or reviews.

Get ready for big changes to the site design, look and feel in April. After extensive usability testing, is getting an extensive update to make it easier and more intuitive to use.

A very long time ago (2005! gasp!), I wished for all the library content in the world to fit in your pocket. We're a whole lot closer to that now, with the launch of the new WorldCat mobile pilot. The six month-long pilot will gather data to help inform future WorldCat mobile efforts, and is currently available to people in the US and Canada.

To download the application, go to on your mobile phone's Web browser.

The current mobile pilot complements the recently released experimental iPhone app for WorldCat, built from the WorldCat Search API.

Once you've used on your mobile phone, please give us your feedback with details of your experience and/or suggested enhancements.

This pilot was developed through a partnership with the mobile technology organization Boopsie. You, too, can partner with WorldCat by linking in.

Wondering if your phone will work? Here's a list of supported devices, which include iPhones, Blackberries, Nokias and more.

OCLC apologizes for poor response time on during November 19 and 20. The OCLC servers that run and WorldCat Local were attacked by processes initiated from nearly 2,000 IP addresses that proved to be registered to a single source. Our investigation revealed that these attacks seriously degraded response time for and WorldCat Local users. OCLC blocked the attacks and response times returned to normal.