WorldCat Collection Analysis frequently asked questions
Show all answersHide all answers / Print
Can anyone use WorldCat Collection Analysis?
Currently, the service is available to libraries and library groups that have their holdings in WorldCat.
How does WorldCat Collection Analysis work?
Using your library’s holding symbol (an identifier indicating that your library owns an item), the service takes call numbers in your WorldCat records and maps them to the OCLC Conspectus [Microsoft Excel]. The OCLC Conspectus structure is a hierarchical classification scheme that allows libraries to analyze their entire collections by subject instead of call number.
Since the service supports multiple classification schemes, individual libraries can get a more complete picture of their collections, and members of groups can more easily compare their collections.
Why should my library or group use WorldCat Collection Analysis?
The WorldCat Collection Analysis service lets your individual library view and analyze the age and content of your collections individually and collectively, and also gives you the ability to compare your library’s collection with those of peer libraries.
Analyzing your collection
What do the age and subject analyses of my collection indicate?
The analyses indicate many details that will facilitate your evaluation process. For example, you can view the age of your materials by any given subject, and subject coverage based on language and format. Also, based on your collection development policies, the analyses will help you decide what to keep in your collection, move to remote storage or remove from your collection.
May I choose the library collections against which I want to compare my library's collection?
Yes, as long as those libraries have their holdings in WorldCat. You may also choose to compare your collection against a Predefined Group of libraries.
To how many WorldCat libraries can I compare my library's collection?
You may compare your collection with one other library (with their permission) or with as many peer groups (two to ten institution symbols per group) as you wish during the subscription period.
Do I have to know all the libraries with whom I wish to compare my library’s collection when I order the service?
No. After you order and have access to the service, you’ll have the opportunity to select the libraries against whom you wish to compare, using the service’s Administrative Module.
What information is gained from a comparison with a peer library?
You may wish to compare your collection to that of another library whose holdings represent a "gold standard" in your thinking. Performing this comparison in WorldCat Collection Analysis helps you identify what items the collections share, where you may have gaps in coverage, and also what items are unique to your collection.
Is it possible to compare my collection against one other library?
Yes, you may compare your collection with one other library's collection, with their permission. Some libraries have already given blanket permission for all users; see the list of blanket permissions. Some libraries are excluded from one-to-one comparisons. The excluded institutions can be used in a 2-5 library comparison.
How many libraries within a group can be analyzed?
Library groups that use WorldCat Collection Analysis may have up to 100 member libraries. Each member of the group has the ability to analyze its own collection individually and comparatively with other libraries in the group.
Interpreting your results
Why don't I see all of my collection in WorldCat Collection Analysis?
The data in WorldCat Collection Analysis comes from your institution's holdings in WorldCat. Institutions that do not add all their holdings into WorldCat or that do not keep their holdings in WorldCat up-to-date will see a discrepancy when comparing their local catalog holdings to their WorldCat holdings.
I keep my WorldCat holdings up-to-date, but I still see a discrepancy in the number of holdings in my local catalog and the number of holdings in Collection Analysis.
This could be the result of several things. Some functions within WCA use FRBR-like applications, meaning that bibliographic information for different editions or formats of a given title are grouped into a multi-version record. WCA data is title-level data, meaning that multi-volume sets like encyclopedias may be collapsed into one WorldCat record, but have been catalogued as individual items in your local catalog.
Why isn't my data up-to-date at all times?
To deliver analyses results quickly, and because of the enormous quantity of data involved, we take a snapshot portrait of all the holdings in WorldCat every three months. This is the data you search when you use WorldCat Collection Analysis not live WorldCat data. Again, if you compare your search results in Collection Analysis with a live WorldCat search, you most likely will see a discrepancy in the totals. However, based on these quarterly snapshots, we’ve determined that, typically, a library’s collection changes an average of 2% per quarter.
Why do I see "No Title Available" records in my search results?
"No Title Available" likely indicates that you have withdrawn an item from your collection since the last quarterly update. When WCA searches WorldCat for this record, your symbol is no longer attached, producing the "No Title Available" records.
If many holdings in my local catalog aren’t in WorldCat, how can I get my holdings up-to-date?
When analyzing your own collection using WorldCat Collection Analysis, it is imperative to have up-to-date WorldCat holdings to retrieve accurate and comprehensive results. This is why OCLC offers a complimentary batchload to new WorldCat Collection Analysis subscribers. Find out more.
How can I analyze my eSerials holdings in WorldCat Collection Analysis?
eSerials holdings can now be loaded into WorldCat. Doing so will increase the comprehensiveness of your WorldCat Collection Analysis results. Find out more about eSerials holdings.
Why do I have to ask for a library's permission before conducting a one-to-one peer-comparison?
As a membership-organization, OCLC strives to protect the privacy of our members' information and we believe that access to the detailed, formatted collection information WCA’s peer-comparison function provides should be granted by our member libraries on a case-by-case basis. We have streamlined the process by creating a Permissions Template. Additionally, we maintain a list of libraries that have given permission to all libraries to use their collections for comparisons.