November 26, 2020

Must See: "Introducing a New App from OCLC Research: the WorldCat Identities Network"

We’ve been very quietly hoping that OCLC and OCLC Research would develop something like what you’re going to read about and it’s finally here as an experimental app.

From an OCLC Developers Network Blog Post:

The WorldCat Identities Network app lets you explore the interconnectivity and relationships between WorldCat Identities. Here’s the official announcement. If you liked playing “Six degrees of Kevin Bacon,” this app is for you***:

The app uses the WorldCat Identities Web service, which provides each Identity with up to 10 related identities. So each Identity becomes a Network of sorts, with relationships visualized. With this in place, you can then easily jump from Identity network to Identity network by selecting the name in the visualization. And remember–a WorldCat Identity can be a person, a thing (the Titanic), a fictitious character (Harry Potter), or a corporation (IBM). In addition, the app also links to WorldCat.org and WorldCat Identities to give you in-depth information for any given Identity.

Wow! Well you and we now know what we will be spending some time with this weekend. (-: After only a bit of  minutes of testing today we can say that the WorldCat Identities Network app is not only cool but it also and has the POTENTIAL to be of value to many users for many reasons.

Example? Begin with The Yardbird’s (the 60’s rock band), start clicking, and see the related identities. You’ll quickly see some of the relationships between a lot of great musicians.

Mega kudos to JD Shipengrover, Jeremy Browning, Lorcan Dempsey, Thom Hickey, Diane Vizine-Goetz, Jeremy Browning and the entire OCLC Research team.

*** 1. The “Six degrees of Kevin Bacon” statement does point out that this app is both useful and can even be fun. However, the more we think about it OCLC might have a tool that gaming companies might want to get their hands on.

Yes, there are many other data visualization tools out there that are also exciting but the power here is the app’s technology along with the massive amount of data/metadata it taps into from WorldCat. We’re guessing that what’s visible today when you review a set of results is only a small portion of what can actually be done with the app.

2. The potential for this app in the K-12 classroom is massive

3. Finally, if you’re ever in need of a tool to visualize the  potential for structured data, this is one lack to look.

Note: At the bottom of the OCLC blog post you’ll even find a challenge to find the Six Degrees of Separation between Jane Austen and Aldous Huxley.

Direct to WorldCat Identities Network app

See Also: Visualize Relationships Between People via the NNDB (Notable Names Database)
Example: Info Page for Eric Clapton ||| Eric Clapton Visualization

See Also: Muckety
Examples: Larry Page ||| Apple Inc.

See Also: SiloBreaker
Visualize relationships for topics, people, and organizations in the news from this powerful news search tool.

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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