New OCLC Research prototype assesses likely audience for resources in WorldCat, the world's largest catalog of library resources

 
The Audience Level prototype uses library holdings data in WorldCat to calculate audience levels for resources represented in the database.

A user can input a WorldCat number or ISBN and the system will return an assessment of the likely audience (e.g., general academic, general public, child/young adult, graduate/professional research) for the item based on the holding patterns and bibliographic characteristics of the item described in the WorldCat record.

Audience level assessments are useful for collection management, readers’ advisory and reference services.

"One exciting aspect of this service," said co-lead researcher Lynn Silipigni Connaway, "is that it can be useful for building enhanced discovery and recommender services.

"If you're looking for something for a specific user, the audience level assessment can help distinguish among otherwise similar items, so you can target the one most likely to be appropriate for a given user.

"By utilising the bibliographic data we have, in order to add value to familiar library resources, we are making our data work harder and leveraging the value of the collaboratively built WorldCat database," Connaway commented.

The Audience Level prototype is available as a human interface, a web service, and as Greasemonkey scripts for use with the Firefox browser when viewing pages from Amazon and OpenWorldCat.

Lynn Silipigni Connaway and Edward T. O’Neill are the lead researchers of the Audience Level project.  The prototype has been developed with the support of Clifton Snyder and Akeisha Heard.

"I think it is a really compelling example - as with xISBN - of how we can derive higher level services from aggregate data," said Lorcan Dempsey, OCLC Vice President (Research) and Chief Strategist.

More Information

Learn more about the Audience Level prototype
http://www.oclc.org/research/researchworks/audience/

Lynn Silipigni Connaway
http://www.oclc.org/research/staff/connaway.htm

Edward T. O'Neill
http://www.oclc.org/research/staff/oneill.htm

Audience Level project overview
http://www.oclc.org/research/projects/audience/

For more information:

Lynn Silipigni Connaway
Consulting Research Scientist
OCLC Research
lynn_connaway@oclc.org
+1-303-246-3623

Edward T. O'Neill
Consulting Research Scientist
OCLC Research
oneill@oclc.org
+1-614-764-6074

We are a worldwide library cooperative, owned, governed and sustained by members since 1967. Our public purpose is a statement of commitment to each other—that we will work together to improve access to the information held in libraries around the globe, and find ways to reduce costs for libraries through collaboration.