Innovation Lab's WorldCat Live! API Enables Developers to Incorporate Live WorldCat Data

The WorldCat Live! API provides a real-time stream of newly added records of library collections and published materials to WorldCat, the world's largest online database for discovery of library resources. The API is an RSS feed that can be filtered and parameterized to return the records in a variety of formats.  

Developed rapidly by the Innovation Lab in response to a user's request, the WorldCat Live! API is freely available under the Open Data Commons Attribution License (plain language summary). Examples of its current uses include a Python module for interacting with the WorldCat Live! API by Ed Summers; Highscores, a retro arcade game for original cataloging performed daily, by Ed Summers and Sean Hannan; and the WorldCat Live! Visualization Interface created by the Innovation Lab.

The Innovation Lab's WorldCat Live! Visualization Interface provides three interactive visualizations of the WorldCat Live! API data. The first visualization is geographic, it displays where OCLC members are adding items to WorldCat in real-time around the globe. This "Geography" visualization displays clusters on a world map that can zoom in to the institution level where individual pins can be selected to view the institution's name. The second and third visualizations track language and formats by displaying colored bubbles that grow as new items are added. The "Language" visualization displays the languages of the item currently being added,  and the "Format" display shows the formats of the items being added, such as book, journal or map.

The Innovation Lab is the technology-based incubator that infuses innovation into all aspects of the OCLC cooperative to help it become more agile and responsive to library needs. It does this by creating experimental services to discover and learn from new ways to share data, cooperate, and grow the community. The Innovation Lab provides an important source of expertise, development and consultation and welcomes users ideas and feedback at  


For more information: Tip House
Chief Architect Global Infrastructure
Innovation Lab

JD Shipengrover
Senior Web and User Interface Designer
OCLC Research

Melissa Renspie
Senior Communications Officer
OCLC Research


Related links:

WorldCat Live! API

WorldCat Live! API Visualization Interface

Innovation Lab


WorldCat Live! Basic Operation Documentation

WorldCat Live! Filtering Documentation

WorldCat Live! Faceting Documentation

Python module for interacting with the WorldCat Live! API