Meet library users on the open web

Libraries reach only a small percentage of current and potential users through traditional channels and tactics. To maximize your library’s exposure and impact, it is essential to meet today’s users where they usually seek information: on the open web via search engines and other popular websites.

Through our web visibility program, we work to advance new methods for embedding the library in people’s lives. Our success in connecting users to library collections—via search engines and other popular websites where they typically begin their search—is unparalleled in the information industry.

The impact of our work extends beyond individual members of the OCLC cooperative. The presence of library links on websites viewed daily by millions of people increases awareness of and engagement with the global library community. The scale of this work is unique, and by providing greater visibility of library collections, we are accelerating access to information.

Photo: Open web users

How it works

Diagram: Web users reach library websites through search engines, partner websites, and organic linking that direct them to WorldCat.org

Diagram: Web users reach library websites through search engines, partner websites, and organic linking that direct them to WorldCat.org

Search engines

Icon: Search engines

We work with search engines to facilitate their ingest of WorldCat bibliographic records. From search results, users are just clicks away from WorldCat.org and libraries’ websites.

Partner websites

Icon: Partnerships

We partner with popular websites—such as Google Books, Wikipedia, and Goodreads—to add “find in a library” links to their content. These sites link to WorldCat.org, which in turn directs users to libraries’ websites.

Organic linking

Icon: Organic referrals

More than 5,000 domains—such as NPR, Oxford Scholarship, and Ravelry—organically refer users to WorldCat.org.

Participation and benefits

When your library's collections are represented in WorldCat through an OCLC Cataloging and Metadata subscription and you maintain a FirstSearch/WorldCat Discovery subscription, your library's resources will be visible in WorldCat.org search results. 

  • Your OCLC Cataloging and Metadata subscription supports representing your collections in WorldCat, along with the quality control and metadata maintenance that enables access to that data. 
  • Your FirstSearch/WorldCat Discovery subscription supports the costs associated with maintaining WorldCat.org, which is a core component of our web visibility program.

Collections from libraries in Europe, the Middle East, or Africa can also be made visible on WorldCat.org with a subscription to WorldCat.org, which includes regular updates through a data synch process.

Your users also benefit from real-time information about your collections in WorldCat.org as you update your holdings data in WorldCat.

For detailed subscription information for your region, contact your local OCLC representative.

Illustration: Libraries that have collections represented in WorldCat are visible on WorldCat.org

From the open web, users are just clicks away from library websites

When performing a search on a search engine using keywords such as a title or author, records from Goodreads and Wikipedia typically display within the first few results. Due to our partnerships with these sites, just two clicks can take users to their own library’s information on WorldCat.org—providing significantly more visibility than an individual library would accomplish on its own.

WorldCat.org receives more than 70 million visits per year, and subsequently sends more than 10 million users on to library websites.


Search engine result for a WorldCat-cataloged book

Illustration: Libraries link on Goodreads title page

“Libraries” link on a GoodReads title page

Illustration: Libraries link on Google Books page

“Find in a Library” link in Google Books

Illustration: Libraries links for a scholarly publication on Wikipedia

Indexing links for a scholarly publication on Wikipedia

Visibility and linked data

In addition to our work to increase the visibility of libraries on the open web, we’re also working with the library community to research and prototype future linked data products and services. This work will build on the size and scale of WorldCat to bring new contextual relationships that will improve user experiences and bring greater web visibility of library collections.

Photo: Woman using tablet in library

WorldCat.org makes your library’s resources visible to information seekers on a freely available website and from search engines and websites where most people begin their research. This broad visibility promotes libraries as a vital information source and allows anyone to quickly and easily access resources in libraries near or far.

Service availability

  • Available everywhere

Upcoming events

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