Results tagged “reviews” from WorldCat Blog

School Reviews for Library Materials


AnchorageSchools, on, has provided more than 7,500 reviews of items from their library which benefits their school's community and users worldwide. Taking a few minutes to look through their recent reviews you'll find a "highly recommended" books like Pika: Life in the Rocks.

If you're posting reviews for use in your school or library, let us know.

bookmark_spread.jpgWhat are your reading plans for the summer? Before you head out for vacation or on holiday, remember that your library and WorldCat can help. You can do things like:

• Make a list of the books you'd like to read this summer (Here are Nancy Pearl's picks from last summer!)
• Write reviews of and rate the titles you've recently read
• Read other people's reviews of the books you're interested in
• Share your recent reads on WorldCat's Facebook Page

If you have high school age kids, remember that WorldCat gives them an easy way to track their summer reading lists and make notes about what they've read. They'll wow their teacher in the fall! Many school and public libraries put out summer reading lists on WorldCat. Here's an example of such a list...find your school's list on then share it with all of us!

Flavor vs. Facts


A recent discussion with Matt Goldner, product and technology advocate here at OCLC, reminded me of my favorite quote from the wonderful movie "Big Fish."

Matt described to me a workshop he conducted where he discussed what librarians and patrons believe to be most important in information discovery:

  • Librarians are interested in the metadata because that's what they use to locate the item a patron needs. This is important when you and I are standing in front of them asking for help. Perfect metadata helps the librarians help us faster.
  • Us patrons, and Web users, are more interested in discovering what is out there because in many cases we haven't figured out exactly what to ask for. We use search engines and keywords to locate things. Then we use reviews, tags and user comments to evaluate whether the things we've found will really help us. (Which is why reviews, tags and comments are often called evaluative content.)

If we were standing in a library or in a live chat, a librarian would ask us all the right questions and suggest the resources most likely to provide what we need. Without having that librarian there to evaluate our needs and apply their expertise, we're left trying to determine quality and appropriateness on our own.

And that's where I started thinking about Big Fish. Albert Finney's character, Ed Bloom, is a salesman and a storyteller while his son, Will, is a reporter for United Press International. Albert delivers the movie's climatic phrase in a subtle moment by saying that his son can't tell a story well because he would give you "all of the facts and none of the flavor."

That strikes me as an important difference between metadata and evaluative content. Mind you, I'm not talking about the librarians. They can provide all the flavor you want. But when you remove the person--the storyteller--and it is just you and your computer, the facts just aren't enough. We need some flavor, some context to help us evaluate the information and to make it useful.

I cornered Matt the other day because I'm re-reading an old article, "Collaborative Tagging as a Knowledge Organisation and Resource Discovery Tool" (Library Review V. 55; No. 5, 2006). The authors, George Macgregor and Emma McCulloch, discuss the pros and cons of tagging and controlled vocabularies. While they clearly favor the controlled vocabularies of the library world, they allow that tagging is a means for "exploring exhaustive subject areas before formal exploration."

Tags and evaluative content provide the context, the flavor, we need to help us zero in on what we're really looking for. Nothing beats a good reference interview by a librarian, but when it is just me and my computer, evaluative content works very well. And that's why I love working on We're bringing more and more evaluative content to the site to help Web users discover some of the flavor of what libraries have to offer.

Welcome weRead!

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I know we've mentioned weRead before but I'm happy to now announce weRead as an official WorldCat partner. weRead is a social reading site and community for book lovers. Here's the official announcement.

As part of our partnership, you'll be able to view reviews from weRead users alongside reviews from other users, Educational Media Reviews Online & Amazon reviews.
weReadreviews image.jpg

In addition, also uses the weRead recommendations engine to make "Read By Others" suggestions for additional titles of interest on a detailed record page.

Come and take a look and add your own reviews too!

Even More Reviews!


Reviews are bigger and better than ever!

Through work with our friends at WeRead, we've incorporated reviews and ratings from WeRead users into, alongside reviews from you, Amazon and EMRO (Educational Media Reviews Online). We've also included some additional reading suggestions from WeRead users that we thought you might find helpful - "people who read this book also read... ".

We're still tweaking some of the finer details, but stay tuned for more information on how we're working with WeRead and other partners.

A Book Store for the Rest of Us


Today the NYT Home & Garden section profiled an architect/designer named Kelly Wearstler. Kelly has a love of out-of-print books. She frequents several high-end book stores that carry these and other hard to find design books and scours them for ideas.

I could launch into the typical why-aren't-libraries-the-cool-place-to-be refrain, but that's not the point.

I'm glad folks like Kelly point me to the $3,200 out-of-print books available in boutique shops. More than likely I can dig up the book somewhere in my state and through inter-library loan, I just might be able to get a copy for myself.

I wish Kelly and other's like her could experience what I experienced when I was a student working at The Ohio State University Main Library. Shelving books in that cavernous, 14-story building introduced me to more information and ideas than any boutique book store could hope to.

I wonder what sits next to David Douglas Duncan's Goodbye Picasso on the shelf at OSU?

You shouldn't judge a book by its cover, but cover art sure helps us identify the book we're looking for.

Of coarse course that doesn't help us know whether we'll like the book once we find it. Usually we turn to someone else to help us figure that out. Someone like the publisher who puts nice summaries on the jacket flaps or a reviewer in a newspaper. But this is 2008 and I'm writing to a Web audience that is probably using an RSS feed to get this post. Which means you're probably a savvy bunch so all this talk of jacket flaps and newspapers is silly.

The fact is that readers on the World Wide Web often turn to to determine whether to buy this book or that book.

But what if you're headed to your local library? How do you find something to read? You can look at the staff picks once you get there. Or before you go you can search the more than 150 lists of books to read on Because, hey! If this person wants to read this book, then maybe you will too. But how do you, the Web-savvy reader, know for sure?

You look at the reviews of other users!

And now you can read the Amazon review of this book and that book and many other books! And after you read the book you can rate it and review it here for other library users.

To read the Amazon reviews of a book on, just find the book, scroll down a bit and click the Reviews tab. Then click back to the Libraries tab to see which library near you has the book. Find your library, click, log in and you're off!

And what about that scary movie you borrowed on Friday night? You can rate it and review it too. And soon you'll be able to see the Amazon reviews for it and other movies as well as music and games.

What more could you want!? No. Really. Tell us: What more do you want?

You've probably already noticed...but full-featured ratings and reviews are now available and fully functional. All the list errors Bob mentioned earlier should be fixed. Let us know if you're still seeing something unexpected. Here's a rundown of the new stuff. You can:

  • Quickly rate items on a five-star scale
  • Create and save drafts of your reviews
  • Write a review in your preferred language
illo_rating.png On your profile page, you'll see links to reviews you've published--as well as draft reviews that you're still working on. To read other people's opinions, look right below the five-star rating area on an item’s detailed record.

We'll add reviews from additional sources soon. For now, though, write a quick review of your favorite movie, book or article. On its detailed record, look for the “Review this item” link under the “Add to It” section.

Also new: Cover art added to lists

You may have seen full-color cover art on individual detailed records. Now you'll find cover art for your list items, too. For some reason, seeing all the covers makes me so happy. It's like it brings the books to life!

List Problems?

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It's true. is having a few issues with lists disappearing. The now-you-see-it-now-you-don't trick that lists have been playing on us lately should be resolved in a couple of days. We've isolated the problem and have prepared a couple of fixes.

Don't worry if you're experiencing this problem. We are not losing your lists, we're just having trouble displaying them. As soon as this is resolved all of your lists will be available and should function normally.

If you haven't seen this issue, what happens is that your list of lists will disappear. For instance my list of list should be here:

If you go to that page you may (or may not) see my list of 20 or so lists. The lists themselves are still there even if you can't see them. For instance my list of "Radio Shows from WorldCat's Long Tail" is always accessible even if my list of list is not showing up.

This problem appears in the drop-down menu from the search result page and the item page which can make it difficult to add items to your lists.

New lists will likely appear if you happen to create one; however creating a new list could cause your old lists to run through the disappearing act.

Again, rest assured that we'll get your lists back in order as quickly as possible, and even improve a few things along the way. (Have you checked out our new reviews and ratings yet? Here's an example from my profile. Give them a whirl and let us know what you think.)