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WorldCat Metadata API powers new enhancements in latest MarcEdit release

MarcEdit, the popular free library metadata software suite, includes new functionality that will give OCLC member libraries the ability to contribute and enhance their bibliographic and holdings data within WorldCat while using MarcEdit.  The new functionality will provide catalogers with a new way to interact with their OCLC data, as well as provide another option for libraries looking to streamline their metadata workflows.  The new functionality in MarcEdit is made possible by leveraging the WorldCat Metadata API, one of the many APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) being made available from OCLC through the WorldShare Platform.

The integration work between MarcEdit and OCLC’s platform services started out as a discussion between the application’s author, Terry Reese, and OCLC’s Steve Meyer, the WorldShare Technical Product Manager. Mr. Reese explained that “the discussion really started around the hope that we could find some points of collaboration that might benefit our shared user communities. I’d been hearing from MarcEdit users for a while that they were interested in moving some of their holdings management and record maintenance tasks for specific materials into MarcEdit, but it was OCLC’s release of the WorldCat Metadata API that helped make this integration a reality. Steve and John (Chapman) provided valuable feedback throughout the process, helping to fill in the documentation gaps and a handful of MarcEdit community members provided essential testing and feedback prior to releasing the enhancement.”

In addition to the new functionality being made available in MarcEdit, Mr. Reese has released the source code used to interact with a variety of OCLC WorldShare Platform Services.  The code library, written in C#, is available via github at:, and includes support for OCLC’s Metadata API, Search API, Classify web services, and FAST web services. Mr. Reese noted that “doing the integration work with MarcEdit was really just one part of this process. Hopefully, by sharing the source code, library developers will be able to take advantage of some of the work that I’ve done to help spur on their own innovative efforts and projects.”

API-eligible libraries that also use MarcEdit will now be able to upload new records to WorldCat or create new WorldCat-derived records through MarcEdit.  In addition, libraries can now update WorldCat holdings, with options to add or delete holdings in batch.

In order to utilize the new features in MarcEdit, libraries will need to request a Web Services Key (WSKey) that supports both the WorldCat Metadata API and the WorldCat Search API.  The WSKey enables OCLC to authenticate users and activity so libraries can be confident about updating their data through third party or locally-built applications.  WSKeys can be requested through OCLC’s Service Configuration and used across applications. If institutions already have a WSkey for the WorldCat Metadata API and WorldCat Search API, they can put the new functionality in MarcEdit to use immediately.

MarcEdit also uses two additional OCLC Web Services, notably the FAST service to generate subject headings and Classify, to provide classification recommendations based on a control number.

“WorldCat integration into MarcEdit is made possible by the WorldShare Platform,” says Kathryn Harnish, OCLC Director of Network Experience. “The cooperative has been sharing data for more than 40 years through WorldCat cataloging.  Now, through API integration—at a machine-to-machine level—we can enable an ecosystem in which library staff can work in the editor of their choice to manage and share metadata. When integrated into solutions like MarcEdit, the WorldCat Metadata API streamlines workflows, helping libraries to reflect more accurate holdings in WorldCat with far less effort.”

OCLC Libraries that use MarcEdit are encouraged to go to OCLC Service Configuration and request a WSKey for the WorldCat Metadata API. Then, simply plug it into the preferences area in the latest version (5.9) of MarcEdit.  More information related specifically to MarcEdit’s integration with the WorldCat Metadata APIs can be found at: MarcEdit and the OCLC Metadata API: Introduction.  Instructions on how to request a WSKey and documentation for the WorldCat Metadata API are available at the OCLC Developer Network site.

The OCLC Developer Network recently held an online workshop about additional ways to use the WorldCat Metadata API. Any interested person is able to download and use the WorldCat Metadata API in a test environment. A subscription is required to use the WSKey in production.


Terry Reese is the Head, Digital Initiatives at The Ohio State University.  Mr. Reese was formerly the Gray Chair for Innovative Library Services at Oregon State University Libraries.  He has been developing and supporting MarcEdit and the MarcEdit user community since 1999.  Email: /