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OCLC introduces WorldCat Discovery API beta

New WorldCat Discovery API beta offers libraries access to WorldCat and a central index representing aggregated e-resource collections

DUBLIN, Ohio, 1 October 2014—OCLC is introducing beta availability of the new WorldCat Discovery API, which provides access for libraries to search and find resources in both WorldCat and a central index of article and e-book metadata that represent the wide range of resources libraries provide to their users.

The WorldCat Discovery API exposes library collection data for items in WorldCat, including materials held by individual member libraries, consortia and libraries worldwide. Benefits include:

  • Access to an ever growing collection of central index metadata for which OCLC has been granted rights.
  • Linked Data response formats, so that library collections can speak the language preferred by the Web.
  • Facet functionality, so that libraries can deliver a modern search experience with the ability to quickly drill down into search results.
  • Access to the latest data models, including entities.

“Providing data layer access to bibliographic information for entities like people, places, works and events fulfills a key piece of OCLC’s data strategy to help libraries evolve with the larger Web,” said Ted Fons, Executive Director of OCLC Data Services and WorldCat Quality Management. “Making this data available as an API means libraries can connect bibliographic information to data sources not traditionally even catalogued or curated by libraries—such as the Wikipedia data infrastructure. Through the API, libraries will be able to deliver content from their collections and context from across the Web to support their users’ research needs.”

The WorldCat Discovery API gives libraries the flexibility to use an OCLC-developed interface, create their own application or use the two in combination.

The WorldCat Discovery API lets libraries rely on OCLC to manage the repetitive and resource-intensive tasks involved in keeping a local discovery index up to date. Library systems and development staff are then free to invest their time in other discovery projects, such as the creation of mobile apps, widgets and enhancement of current user experiences to suit their unique needs.

Libraries can use the WorldCat Discovery API to extend an alternative discovery service such as VUFind or Blacklight to include WorldCat results, and as a building block alongside other APIs to create a total user discovery experience.

The WorldCat Discovery API is now available as a beta to a select number of libraries that subscribe to FirstSearch, WorldCat Local or WorldCat Discovery Services. Full availability to all eligible libraries and partners is expected in early 2015. Developers will find documentation and sample code libraries on the OCLC Developer Network site, as well as instructions for how to request access to the API.

About OCLC

Founded in 1967, OCLC is a nonprofit, membership, computer library service and research organization dedicated to the public purposes of furthering access to the world's information and reducing library costs. More than 74,000 libraries in 170 countries have used OCLC services to locate, acquire, catalog, lend, preserve and manage library materials. Researchers, students, faculty, scholars, professional librarians and other information seekers use OCLC services to obtain bibliographic, abstract and full-text information when and where they need it. OCLC and its member libraries cooperatively produce and maintain WorldCat, the world's largest online database for discovery of library resources. Search WorldCat.org on the Web. For more information, visit the OCLC website.

OCLC, WorldCat, and WorldCat.org are trademarks and/or service marks of OCLC Online Computer Library Center, Inc. Third-party product, service and business names are trademarks and/or service marks of their respective owners.


  • Bob Murphy

    Manager, Media Relations

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