WorldCat.org, library search made easy

February 22nd, 2007 at 12:00 am
 


Launched as a beta site in August 2006, WorldCat.org serves as an online database where people on the Web can search for catalog records, book information as well as other services being offered by WorldCat participating libraries. When you go to the website you can immediately perform a search query. You don't need to sign-up or anything. When you conduct a search, WorldCat.org will search the collections of participating libraries and by entering your zip code, country, region or city information you will be able to find the nearest library in your community that has the information, a book for example, that you need. It's as simple as that.

Now, searches will yield information like isbn/isbnnumbers and oclc/oclcnumbers which can aid researchers on their hunt for books, magazines, other publications or library materials. Search results were quite impressive. We would expect nothing less from site considering that it has more than 76 million recorded entries in its database. It is good that the site features a number of filtering devices like providing different categories which divides search results by author, content, format, year, and language. This facilitates more specific searches resulting to an easier and faster time that you'll spend looking for stuff.

The WorldCat.org is an Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) project. The OCLC boasts of more than 57,000 member libraries in 112 countries and territories around the globe. This service or at least the complete and more complicated version, has been available to the OCLC's network libraries for years. It is only dow that the they made this feature available to the general Web user for free.

Aside from having a very user friendly interface, the whole thing can also be viewed in Deutsch, Español, Français and in Nederlands.

WorldCat.org is by far the biggest library organization that has put their catalog online. However, they were not the first. Before WorldCat there was RLG Program's Redlightgreen.com. For more than three years, RLG was able to make available more than 120 million bibliographic descriptions and library entries to librarians, students and the general public alike. The project ended when OCLC and RLG joined together in 2006.