Homegrown Reclamation with WorldCat Metadata API

The latest issue of code4lib Journal contains an article by Sarah Johnston from St. Olaf College on “Homegrown WorldCat Reclamation”. Sarah was one of our December 2014 OCLC Developer House participants, so we had the privilege of getting some spoilers about her project before the article was published. Talking to Sarah about her project was super exciting for us. It was chance to learn about a use of the WorldCat Metadata API - which is valuable for many libraries - as well as to gather feedback about the API and related topics.

During our conversations with Sarah, it became clear that sharing some of the Developer Network team's knowledge and suggestions on this type of application would be of value to other libraries that might be interested in developing similar scripts. As a result, we've put together a Solution Guide on "Batch Holding Manipulation with WorldCat Metadata API". The guide outlines the basic workflow an application of this nature would need to follow: Get a list of OCLC Numbers to update, authenticate application and user, and loop through the list setting/unsetting holdings. It highlights some choices and decisions applications developer will need to make if creating an application for this purpose. For example, where will user authentication information come from?

The guide also has some suggestions as to how to do this in the most efficient manner. One important suggestion we've made is for the script to use Access Token authentication rather than the less efficient HMAC authentication. We've also provided a simpler method for creating a list of OCLC Numbers - using WorldShare Collection Manager - that a given library has set holdings on in WorldCat.

We love this type of application creation where we are able to engage with the developer, collaborate, and create a continuous feedback loop which improves our web services and documentation. If you have a similar project you're interested in or working on, we'd love to hear from you.

  • Karen Coombs

    Karen Coombs

    Senior Product Analyst