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OCLC rolls out new discovery, knowledge base services

WorldCat Discovery Services now available

Earlier this year, OCLC launched WorldCat Discovery Services, a new suite of cloud-based applications that brings the FirstSearch and WorldCat Local services together. The new suite enables people to discover more than 1.5 billion electronic, digital and physical resources in libraries around the world through a single search of both WorldCat and a central index that represents more than 2,000 e-content collections. This makes it possible for 18,000+ FirstSearch libraries to offer a richer discovery experience.

“OCLC is letting its mission drive its actions,” says Angi Faiks, Associate Director of Access, Instruction and Research Services, Macalester College, who participated in the beta of the new service. “WorldCat Discovery reinforces OCLC’s public purpose by providing access to more information for more people. Making library collections more accessible can only help us fulfill our mission as libraries.”

WorldCat Discovery Services brings together access for all electronic, digital and physical collections in a single interface, optimized for use across desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones. It is initially available to all current FirstSearch subscribers in the United States, Canada, Latin America, Asia, Australia and New Zealand as part of existing subscriptions. It will be available in EMEA soon.

“Libraries can choose how they implement WorldCat Discovery—whether it is solely for access to WorldCat, as a secondary discovery option, or as their primary, full-featured discovery service.”

WorldCat Discovery includes:

  • A new discovery experience that consolidates access to your electronic, physical and digital collections
  • Access to a central index that represents more than 1.5 billion articles, e-books and other e-content
  • An interface that automatically adjusts for desktops, tablets and mobile devices
  • Tools to showcase and manage your local special collections
  • A unique URL and custom branding
  • The ability to tailor your discovery service through fee-based options.

If you maintain holdings in WorldCat through a cataloging subscription, you receive additional benefits and features with the service:

  • Your library’s resources listed first in search results
  • Visibility on and other partner sites.

Libraries that have also implemented the WorldCat knowledge base receive:

  • Built-in link resolution to full-text resources to which your library subscribes
  • A built-in A to Z list with your library’s data in the WorldCat knowledge base.

FirstSearch will operate in parallel with WorldCat Discovery during a transition that will last through December 2015, allowing libraries to choose their transition timing. Libraries can also choose how they implement WorldCat Discovery—whether it is solely for access to WorldCat, as a secondary discovery option or as their primary, full-featured discovery service. Additional fee-based options are available to tailor the service to meet your library’s specific needs.

WorldCat Local and WorldShare Management Services libraries are encouraged to join a beta going on now, to give feedback on the optional functionality.

Libraries can start their transition to WorldCat Discovery or start a new subscription on the OCLC website.

Introducing the world’s first cooperatively managed knowledge base

OCLC is introducing cooperative data management features to the WorldCat knowledge base, a database of electronic resources and linking features. The new features will be phased in this year and allow member libraries to make changes and add new records and collections to the knowledge base.

Previously, the knowledge base was managed solely by OCLC, which reached out to content providers, normalized data about e-collections and fed it into the knowledge base and out to libraries. OCLC will continue to maintain global knowledge base data, but now in partnership with the library community, which will be able to participate in data quality assurance and maintenance.

Several users requested the ability to contribute data and make changes to global knowledge base collections. As a cooperative with a long-standing tradition of relying on the expert community for cataloging, making the knowledge base cooperatively managed is a positive future direction and one that will help create efficiencies for everyone in the community while improving data quality for all.

The new features:

  • Phase 1: Available now, member libraries approve/deny changes before they are made
  • Phase 2: Available now, member libraries can make changes to existing knowledge base records
  • Phase 3: Coming in the third quarter of 2014, member libraries will be able to add new records and collections to the knowledge base.