WorldCat Entities

  • WorldCat Work Entity

WorldCat Work Descriptions

A Work is a high-level description of a resource, containing information such as author, title, descriptions, subjects etc., common to all editions of the work. In the case of a WorldCat Work description, it also contains links to the record-level descriptions already shared in the experimental WorldCat Linked Data.

The WorldCat Work entity is based upon properties defined by the schema:CreativeWork type.  For syndication purposes, the WorldCat Work description format will be published using a vocabulary that is based upon and extended with other terms as needed.

Can I use the data?

Yes, the data is live and the Work URIs are persistent. It is also available under an open data license (ODC-BY).

How do I get a Work ID?

You will find that links to the related Work are now being embedded in the already published experimental WorldCat Linked Data.  If you scroll to the bottom of a result page and expand the Linked Data section, you will find a record-level description with a link to the associated Work.  Specifically, you will find the following “exampleOfWork” property in the data for OCLC number 902725212:


You can also use OCLC’s xID web service to find a Work ID. The result set from an xOCLCNum or xLCCN query will include a Work ID reference as part of the data (e.g. owi=”owi2283978583”).  By stripping off the ‘owi’, you get an identifier that can be added to the end of the URI pattern to easily create the relevant Work URI (e.g.  You can also use the xISBN web service as part of a two-step process. The xISBN query will include one or more OCLC Numbers in the result set.  You can then use an xOCLCNum query to return the Work ID.

What’s next

WorldCat Works will continue to be enhanced over the coming months and years.  The data will get cleaner, the descriptions will get richer, and the linking will get better.