Database Resource

The database resource is an administrative object that provides access to a list of the datasets a client is able to search. Access restrictions to the datasets are determined by the institutional affiliation available to the client, typically by associated API key. Some datasets may be restricted from access regardless of whether an institutional affiliation is in place. These restricted datasets are defined by an entity property requiresAuthentication of "true". This is explained is in the Authorization Rules.

URLs and Supported Operations

Operation Resource URL HTTP METHOD Response Code
List GET 200
Read{Database_ID} GET 200

HTTP Accept Types

The Discovery API supports the following mime types:

  • application/rdf+xml
  • text/plain
  • text/turtle
  • application/ld+json
  • application/json

This API uses OCLC's RDF-based data model. The primary vocabulary is based in with extensions for common components of bibliographic description.

To get a traditional web application view of the data, use the application/json mime type. This mime type will provide valid RDF within a traditional nested data structure. The response will provide either a list of search results or an information resource as the root object.


The database list endpoint provides a list of all the databases for which the institution in use is configured.

The database look up end point provides information regarding whether the institution in use is configured for the database (configuredForAccess: "true") and whether the database requires the client to authenticate (requiresAuthentication: "false") a user prior to making a search request. See the JSON example below.

The Discovery API does not provide access to all databases. Remote targets which may be configured for the institution and used in the WorldCat Discovery application are not accessible via the Discovery API. Databases that require user authentication are not accessible via the Discovery API.

Example Requests


Example of single database look up in JSON serialization:





  "@context": {
    "rdf": "",
    "schema": "",
    "discovery": ""
  "@graph": [
      "@id": "",
      "@type": "",
      "schema:description": "OCLC catalog of books, articles, and other materials 
      in libraries worldwide",
      "schema:name": "",
      "discovery:configuredForAccess": "true",
      "discovery:dbId": {
        "@type": "",
        "@value": "638"
      "discovery:requiresAuthentication": "false"