WorldCat Beta versus WorldCat Identities

On closer inspection, it seems that WorldCat identities is a more Web 2.0 gateway into the WorldCat Beta site. It arranges materials by “identities” which include authors, named subjects, and more. But once you whittle down to a “work”, you are linked into WorldCat.org Beta.

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WorldCat Beta

In an earlier post I mentioned the OCLC test site called WorldCat Identities. Today while searching Google Scholar, I found myself in the free worldcat.org beta site. If you haven’t searched this free site lately, you should take a look. To compare it with my earlier post, here’s a link to the page for Tolkien’s The Hobbit. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/50894.
The beta search seems to incorporate many of the features I liked in WorldCat Identities.

Nice features include the link to all the different editions of this book, the ability to search my library’s embedded search tools, the ability to create or add to a personal list of topics, the ability to export the citation in a particular bibliographic format, and the ability to add content. Here’s a screenshot.

Screenshot of Worldcat.org Beta

What does worldcat.org say about local libraries? Here’s an excerpt from their What is Worldcat? page:

“Your library may let you search WorldCat from the online catalog on its Web site. (Again, you may have to log in with a valid library membership.) When you are physically at the library, you can search WorldCat using the FirstSearch reference service. Although the basic identifying information you’ll find on this Web site can fulfill most needs, WorldCat at your library includes extra features such as advanced search,”find similar items”, and links to published reviews and excerpts. ”

In addition to features listd above, it seems to me that some of the entries I looked at were lacking some MARC fields. I don’t know if the project is complete or still under test, but I would like to see the subject and author links more extensive. Still, this project is definitely of setting the standard for the future.

More on WorldCat Identities

I have played with the site some more. One bug they need to fix involves the searching of my local library. Although my library has the title listed and my library is the top location on the list, when I click on my library’s name, the search of our catalog does not produce a result. However, if I search our catalog manually I find the title. Something about the ISBN search in our catalog is not working correctly. But, still, the promise is great!

Now That’s What I Call a Catalog

On the listserv, NGC4LIB, I ran across a link to a new OCLC service called WorldCat Identities http://orlabs.oclc.org/Identities/. Wow! Maybe you’ve all seen this already, and I’ve just crawled out from under my rock, but I am definitely impressed. Now that’s what I call a catalog. If they would just give us the ability to add local holdings, I could imagine doing away with our own catalog completely. Check out the entry for the The Hobbit! WorldCat: The hobbit, or, There and back again,

Features I liked especially included that their was one entry per author. I liked the graph that showed the number of books published by and about the author in each year and that when I clicked on a particular year, it took me to those titles. I found it really great that when I scrolled down and clicked on the first title in the list of “most widely held titles” by the author, the first holdings that came up were in my library. I liked the tabs that allowed me to browse by edition, title, location, etc. It also used our FirstSearch subscription and the information we have provided them to link to my library’s catalog, ILL services, and link resolver.

Please OCLC, continue to fully develop this product and build in the ability for each library to add and maintain their own local holdings information!