OCLC Officially Announces the Launch of a “Redesigned and Reimagined” WorldCat.org
Update: OCLC has posted two announcements about today’s release of the new WorldCat.org. Both are posted and linked below. The first release targets library users. After that, you’ll find a release aimed at the library/librarian community. Finally, at the very bottom of this post you’ll find a video tour of the new WorldCat.org that was presented by OCLC at the ALA Annual Conference in June.
From an OCLC Announcement:
WorldCat.org, the only website that connects online searchers to the world’s libraries, has been redesigned and reimagined to offer greater accessibility to the collections and resources of more than 10,000 libraries. From an updated technology infrastructure to a contemporary search interface and a wealth of additional user-centric features, the new site meets the needs of information seekers from academic researchers to those looking for their next vacation read.
“Libraries are the greatest sources of knowledge on the planet. And the updates to WorldCat.org make the world’s largest collection of library resources on the web more
discoverable,” said Skip Prichard, President and CEO of OCLC, a global library nonprofit that’s been innovating library technology, resources, and research for more than 50 years.
“WorldCat.org is a powerful guide to library resources. There’s nothing else like it. It’s the only site that connects people to thousands of libraries and their collections in one simple search.”
The new WorldCat.org makes it easier to discover unique resources from libraries around the corner or around the world. The improved site has a mobile-friendly and intuitive user
experience informed by in-depth user research.
And there are new ways for anyone to engage, explore, and share information and interests with others, including:
- The addition of resource pages for exploration of topics of interest
- Library information pages that feature locally relevant information
- Ability to select favorite libraries, create personalized lists of items in library collections
and share those lists in email or on social media
- Search results based on libraries and resources nearby
- Improved ways to find and get local library resources
Millions of people already explore billions of library resources every year through WorldCat.org. People are typically looking for information about historically significant and/or popular figures (like musicians, politicians, social activists, and athletes), time periods (like international conflicts, artistic movements, and revolutionary eras), topics (like genealogy or a personal hobby) or geographical locations. Searches include a broad range of languages, which reflects the diverse communities that libraries serve.
Visitors search for everything from popular materials to unexpected finds across a wide variety of formats including:
- 440 million articles
- 405 million books
- 43 million e-books
- 25 million sound recordings
- 10 million music scores
- 6 million maps
- 30 million theses/dissertations
For people in school, starting a career, or considering a new hobby, WorldCat.org is an
invaluable resource for lifelong learning anywhere on their journey. The site shows people all
formats of library resources and highlights the materials that are closest to them.
“OCLC introduced WorldCat.org in 2006 to support libraries with a unique opportunity to
showcase their collections online to people who may not otherwise use the library,” continued Prichard. “Since then, user needs and the ability of technology to fulfill them have changed significantly. Our ongoing investment in WorldCat.org ensures libraries and their extensive collections meet people where they begin their search for information.
See Also: Video Overview (Presentation Recorded at ALA 2022 Annual)
Library Community Release
OCLC, the leading library technology and research organization, has introduced a new WorldCat.org, reimagining the single website that connects people to thousands of libraries in one search. The project is part of OCLC’s commitment to increase access to libraries and their collections, and to help expand their impact. OCLC’s ongoing investment in WorldCat.org ensures libraries and their extensive collections are easily accessible to anyone searching for information.
The completely redesigned WorldCat.org:
- Reaches more people with a mobile-friendly design and a more accessible experience
- Connects more people to each library with tools to promote local collections
- Provides more opportunities for engagement, including easier list creation and sharing
- Improves discovery and fulfillment with access to local library e-resources
WorldCat.org is the world’s most comprehensive resource of information about library collections created by OCLC and collaboratively maintained by OCLC, libraries, publishers, and other partner organizations. WorldCat.org represents the world’s largest online library community with access to billions of items from thousands of libraries.
“WorldCat.org is a remarkable achievement in global library collaboration,” said Skip Prichard, OCLC President and CEO. “WorldCat.org makes it possible for people to search the collective collections of libraries around the world, including some of the world’s great university research libraries as well as smaller public libraries with rare or unique collections. It supports the broadening definition of library community engagement on a global scale and advances the collective mission of libraries to provide equal and equitable access to information.”
The new WorldCat.org offers all formats of library resources and highlights the materials that are closest to searchers, increasing user satisfaction and introducing new people to the depth and breadth of library resources. Additionally, it extends the reach and influence of libraries, connecting to people who may never otherwise visit in person or online.
New tools and resources will help libraries stand out and promote what they have to offer to their communities. A library information page features locally relevant information like recent additions to collections, links to the catalog, access to library card request forms, and directions to physical locations. Library staff can also easily create and share lists that highlight a library’s areas of expertise and unique materials.
“OCLC was created more than 50 years ago with one overarching goal—to serve libraries,” said Prichard. “WorldCat.org represents the cumulative progress we have made to promote the incredible collections libraries have to offer. We are uniquely positioned to create a resource like WorldCat.org and to make it freely available to anyone in the world. Our work to reimagine and redesign WorldCat.org demonstrates our continued commitment to innovation and support for all libraries.”
WorldCat.org is central to OCLC’s web visibility program that gives libraries the opportunity to be visible where the search for information begins. Whether it’s local history, important e-resources, or an area of specialized expertise, WorldCat.org connects people to the collections that make every library unique.
“Our collection is the most comprehensive collection of resources on contemporary American craft in the United States,” said Beth Goodrich, Librarian at the American Craft Council, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. “WorldCat.org makes it possible for those interested in the history of studio craft in America to discover our collection from anywhere in the world.”
OCLC offers several subscription options for libraries to make their collections more visible on the web:
- A new WorldCat Visibility subscription, available to libraries with any OCLC cataloging subscription, makes library resources visible to people searching WorldCat.org. It also shares information about library collections with search engines and other popular websites, and links people directly to items in library catalogs through Google Search or through WorldCat.org from a “find in a library” link.
- A new OCLC Small Library Edition subscription is a solution uniquely designed for small public (up to 15,000 population served) and community college libraries (up to 3,000 FTE enrollment) that provides the tools they need to catalog their collections, register them in WorldCat, and participate in OCLC’s web visibility program.
- An OCLC cataloging subscription and a FirstSearch/WorldCat Discovery subscription enables a library to offer exceptional search options within the library as well as all the benefits of web visibility. It ensures that collections are front and center on campus or in the community and on WorldCat.org to people who link to the site from search engines and other sites.
To ensure more libraries are represented in WorldCat.org, OCLC is also introducing a basic institution listing for all libraries that maintain an OCLC cataloging subscription. This listing displays the library’s name, city, state/province, and country on items for which they have holdings in WorldCat.
The new WorldCat.org site is being launched months after another major advancement in web visibility for libraries. In April, OCLC and Google announced they are working together to link directly from books discovered through Google Search to print book records in the catalogs of hundreds of U.S. libraries. The program is expected to expand to more libraries and connect to more library resources in the future.
OCLC began demonstrating the new WorldCat.org site at the Public Library Association Conference in Portland, Oregon, in March 2022, and has conducted extensive beta testing with librarians since then.
OCLC will enhance relationships with lifelong library supporters and inspire new advocates and users with a WorldCat.org marketing campaign to U.S. consumers starting in September.
More about the new WorldCat.org and new visibility subscriptions can be found on the OCLC website.
About Gary Price
Gary Price (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com.