WorldCat.org helps Web users everywhere find and link to library-owned content and services. A few of the top features:
Refine your searches with facets
A left-hand “faceted browse” panel allows users to refine their results by categories (“facets”) that include author, content (subject), format, language and year of publication. This dynamic navigation mines WorldCat’s structured metadata and helps users narrow a large result set by presenting easy-to-understand refinement options.
Users can move between searching and browsing with ease, and comfortably “drill down” to deeper levels of specificity. (Breadcrumb links at page top let them reverse direction, moving back up a chain of facets.) Only populated facets are displayed—so a user never dead-ends to an empty result set—and result counts show a user the number of choices within each facet.
Evaluative content right up top
Basic identifying information on the WorldCat detailed record view helps a user judge if they’ve found the right item. Information displayed can include cover art; title; authors, actors, directors or other creative principals; publisher; language and format; magazine or journal name (for articles); a summary and rating.
Items with multiple editions or formats available in in WorldCat (such as large-print, audiobook, or translations) include a prompt to see a FRBR-ized view of additional editions and formats.
Once a user knows she is on an interesting detailed record, she can scroll down to:
- Find a copy of the material in a library (sorted by closest geographic location via IP address recognition)
- Buy the item from online retailers
- Get additional details about the work such as ISBN and author Identity information
- See reviews from WorldCat.org commercial traffic partners weRead, GoodReads, Amazon and more
- View similar items via subject headings and the “others who read this book, also read” panel
A WorldCat record includes the ability to generate bibliographic citations for the displayed work. A “Cite/Export” link in the horizontal menu bar launches a pop-up window with citations for the five most common citation styles (APA, Chicago, Harvard, MLA and Turabian) that users can copy and paste into a document or e-mail. A citation can also be exported, either to a file formatted for EndNote bibliographic software, or directly to the RefWorks online bibliography service.
Additional actions available for a detailed record include the ability to Print, E-mail, Share through the AddThis service or see the Permalink. Learn more about linking into WorldCat.org.
Individual library listing details, thanks to WorldCat Registry
A library listing includes a direct link to your local OPAC record for the displayed item if you have set up linking to your OPAC in the WorldCat Registry. It also provides a “Search at this library” link to your WorldCat Local implementation, and the “Library info” link connects to your library’s WorldCat profile with street address, maps, phone numbers and branch information via WorldCat Registry profile information.
Personalization and social networking tools
WorldCat.org offers a variety of exciting and useful social networking and personalization tools to make the search-and-discovery experience more informative and appealing. WorldCat’s social tools include:
- Profiles: The Profiles feature allows users to create a unique portrait of themselves for other WorldCat members to see. On the “My Profile” page, users can add a photograph, adjust their privacy settings, provide contact information (name, address, e-mail, occupation), and write a personal description, provide favorite Web sites and write about “What I like.”
- List creation and maintenance: Users signed into their WorldCat account can save personalized lists of library items right from search results. The user checks a box next to the item and saves it either to a new list, one of several default lists, or a previously created list.
- Lists I am watching: Users can keep a collection of their favorite lists created by other users, and be notified when additional information is added to it. Perfect for specialty groups who want to keep members informed of new information.
- Reviews: Writing reviews allows users to share their opinions of items found on WorldCat. They can also read the reviews and recommendations of other WorldCat.org members.
- Ratings: A one-to-five star rating system gives users the chance to tell others what they think of a work.
- Tags: Tagging lets users categorize items with a keyword or term associated with that item. For example, a biography about baseball legend Babe Ruth could be tagged with “baseball,” “biography,” “Yankees,” “Bambino,” “celebrity,” or any other descriptor the user finds applicable. When another WorldCat user performs a search using one of these tags, the biography of Babe Ruth will be one of the items to appear in their search results.
- Saved Searches: Once a user constructs a search, he or she can save the search to run it again at a later time. Especially useful for genealogists, graduate students/faculty or subject-specific researchers, the saved searches feature can save hours of time by eliminating the need to reconstruct particularly complicated search parameters.
- Favorite Libraries: Users can create lists of their favorite libraries with links to the library’s own Web site. Then as search results are returned, “favorite” library results are always prioritized at the top with a red heart next to them.
There are additional social networking tools for WorldCat.org on external (3rd party) Web sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
Immediate links to online and digitized materials
Users can get to digitized content fast, through links to full-text content when available through HathiTrust, OAIster, CONTENTdm, Internet Archive, Google Books, digitized library content on Amazon.com, through Kirtas and other eContent providers.
Multiple interface language options
A user can quickly switch the interface among multiple language options. (The selection does not affect/limit the search result set or the libraries shown to hold a particular item.)
Find additional works through WorldCat Identities
Found in the “Details” section of the detailed record display, the “Find more information about” drop-down menu connects to a biographical profile page based on bibliographic information and associations stored in WorldCat. An Identities profile provides a unique reference page that, like an item record, can be linked to socially or from other Web-based reference sites and provides yet another door into the WorldCat.org experience.
Profiled persons can be authors, musicians, actors, directors, characters, ships and more. An Identities profile typically includes:
- An overview with the total number of published titles, languages in which those titles are published, story genres, and roles the person has assumed (author, performer, narrator, etc.).
- A timeline, displaying by year the number of publications either created by or about the profile.
- A list of titles most owned by WorldCat libraries, with brief descriptions and selected cover art.
- Audience level indicator
- A “tag cloud” of associated library subject headings.
- Links to other related identities commonly associated with the current profile.
Many elements within an Identities profile—such as the timeline and tag cloud—link back to appropriate WorldCat.org item records or search results.
Easy transition for users to WorldCat Local
WorldCat.org serves as a baseline feature set for WorldCat Local so users can feel very comfortable moving from individual library to consortia to worldwide views--in addition to moving from college to public library upon graduation, for example. In fact, WorldCat.org can follow your users through job changes, retirement, high school to college to adulthood with common interface features, look and feel throughout their library usage experience.