January 19, 2022

Wikipedia Library & OCLC Work Together and Develop Tool Allowing Wikipedia Editors to Easily Create Citations to WorldCat Entries with ISBN

Material from two announcements below.

From the Wikimedia Blog:

2017-05-11_15-54-47The free encyclopedia relies on citations to ensure the information you find on Wikipedia is verifiable and based in reliable sources. Even in the digital age, many of the highest-quality sources are the books available in your local library.

2017-05-11_16-03-00Yet despite their importance, adding references to Wikipedia has been difficult at times, requiring at minimum a basic knowledge of wikicode. Steady improvements have been made over the years to make it easier to add citations, including through the cite tool on Wikimedia’s visual editing interface. However, adding citations to books on Wikipedia is about to get a lot easier.

A new partnership between the Wikimedia Foundation’s Wikipedia Library and OCLC, a global nonprofit library cooperative, will allow editors to easily generate citations to millions of books [anything with an ISBN] on Wikipedia using OCLC’s WorldCat—the largest database of books in the world, spanning the collections of more than 72,000 libraries.

The WorldCat database will be integrated into the cite tool so that an editor can type in an ISBN, an identifier available inside hundreds of millions of published books since the 1970s, and get back a Wikipedia-ready book citation, including authors, titles, and publishers.

Read the Complete Blog Post and Guide to Using This New Tool


“As a library leader, OCLC offers reference expertise to Wikipedia through connections with libraries, librarians, as well as through curated data and services,” said Jake Orlowitz, Head of the Wikipedia Library. “Wikipedia relies on good citations, and I’m thrilled that Wikipedia editors will now be able to harness the massive collection of quality knowledge resources from OCLC’s WorldCat. When we collaborate with libraries, it’s a win for both Wikipedia and OCLC in working toward our shared missions.”

“Wikipedia and its editors worldwide collaborate to create one of the most popular global resources on the web,” said Chip Nilges, OCLC Vice President, Business Development. “OCLC and its member libraries collaborate to make WorldCat the premier global resource for discovery of library collections. Through this partnership, dedicated editors and librarians worldwide are working together to make Wikipedia a richer research experience, and readers are finding supporting material they want through links to libraries.”

Read the Complete Announcement

Note: The Wikipedia citation tool can also handle URLs, DOIs, ISBNs, and PMID/PMCIDs but only with ISBN’s from WorldCat. 

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.