WorldCat® Local search-related frequently asked questions

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How does relevance ranking work in WorldCat Local?

WorldCat Local determines relevance in the same way as WorldCat.org, but also factors in the holdings of your library to elevate locally-owned items in search results.

There are several components to the WorldCat Local relevance algorithm:

  • The search terms in the author then title fields are weighted first, then the rest of the fields of the record
  • Term frequency
  • Proximity of the terms to one another
  • Recency (more recent items are weighted more heavily)
  • How widely held
  • Locally held items are surfaced to the top of the results if the library chooses this as the default sort

Can my library configure its own relevance algorithm for a WorldCat Local installation?

No. The relevance algorithm is maintained by OCLC for all libraries that use WorldCat Local. OCLC regularly evaluates and adjusts its algorithm to ensure your users receive the best possible result sets.

Can users limit search results to only available items?

No. WorldCat Local does not currently have the ability to limit to only available items.

Is there a way to limit search results to one location?

Yes. WorldCat Local supports scoping of search results. Scoping is based on how a library has set up ranking of search results. For example, libraries can set the default scope to display just items held by their library or by their consortium (which would include their holdings) or all libraries in WorldCat.

In addition, WorldCat Local supports branch-level scoping. OCLC will work with libraries during their retrospective batch project to set Local Holdings Records (LHRs) to identify items held in their branches.

How does the FRBR algorithm used in WorldCat.org affect a library's local holdings display in WorldCat Local?

Items derived from a source work are combined into work sets using the FRBR algorithm developed by OCLC Research. Multiple-language items are placed into their own work sets so that they may be represented separately within the search results.

On WorldCat.org, the representative records for the work sets are those items that are the most widely held; in WorldCat Local, the representative records for the work sets are those items that are the most widely held or the most widely held that are also held by the institution/group.

All items in a work set may be discovered under the Editions link in the detailed WorldCat record.

Can library staff control the order or composition of the faceted results? For example, could staff remove or rearrange facets?

Facets related to result sets are not configurable. OCLC may revise, add or remove facets depending on user feedback and usability testing on the use of the WorldCat.org service. Facets are currently presented by frequency of use.

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