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August 9, 2006

Worldcat.org Opens Up Access To The World

.: OCLC has announced the release of WorldCat.org, featuring 1.3 billion items from over 10,000 libraries worldwide. From the OCLC site:

This site—and a downloadable WorldCat search box you can easily add to your Web site—opens the complete WorldCat database to the public, not just the smaller data subsets utilized by Open WorldCat partner sites such as Google, Yahoo! Search and others. WorldCat.org builds on the success of OCLC’s Open WorldCat Program that has elevated the visibility of library materials on the open Web since the summer of 2003.
The key feature is the WorldCat search box, which can be downloaded and installed on any site:
The main attraction of the new site is the WorldCat search box. Web users can now search the entire WorldCat database with the method most familiar to them: simple keywords. As in Open WorldCat, each linked result leads to a "Find in a Library" information page. From there, users can enter geographic information such as a zip or postal code, receive a list of nearby libraries that own the item, and link right to a library's online catalog record to initiate circulation activity or access electronic content directly. Users can also create their own WorldCat account and add book reviews, table-of-contents information and notes to many WorldCat items, helping to personalize their library search experience.

May 5, 2006

RLG / OCLC Merger

.: RLG to Combine With OCLC. Excerpt from press release:

DUBLIN, Ohio—May 3, 2006—Two of the world’s largest membership-based information organizations have agreed to come together. The combined organization will offer an integrated product and service line, and will give libraries, archives and museums new leverage in developing services, standards and software that will help them support research and disseminate knowledge online.

The RLG Board of Directors and OCLC Board of Trustees have recommended that the two service and research organizations be combined effective July 1, 2006. If approved by RLG member institutions, RLG's online products and services will be integrated with OCLC products and services, and RLG’s program initiatives will be brought forward as a new division of OCLC Programs and Research.

A combined organization would provide an opportunity to leverage program strengths, services and innovative research initiatives, and to deliver more value to a greater number of libraries, museums, archives and other research organizations around the globe.

From: KnowledgeSpeak.

December 7, 2005

Perceptions of Libraries and Information Resources

.: OCLC has released a report that may be of interest to you. Perceptions of Libraries and Information Resources (2005) "summarizes findings of an international study on information-seeking habits and preferences."

With extensive input from hundreds of librarians and OCLC staff, the OCLC Market Research team developed a project and commissioned Harris Interactive Inc. to survey a representative sample of information consumers. In June of 2005, we collected over 3,300 responses from information consumers in Australia, Canada, India, Singapore, the United Kingdom and the United States.

The Perceptions report provides the findings and responses from the online survey in an effort to learn more about:

  • Library use
  • Awareness and use of library electronic resources
  • The Internet search engine, the library and the librarian
  • Free vs. for-fee information
  • The "Library" brand
The findings indicate that information consumers view libraries as places to borrow print books, but they are unaware of the rich electronic content they can access through libraries. Even though information consumers make limited use of these resources, they continue to trust libraries as reliable sources of information.
.: BTW, I need to advise that I am having major difficulty untangling problems with the RSS feeds from this site, which currently point to my personal blog. I am working to try to solve this, and ask for your patience in the meantime.

January 24, 2005

WorldCat Speeds Up

:: Via Jenny Levine comes word from Lorcan Dempsey of a massive increase in processing power at OCLC:

OCLC Research recently acquired a 24-node (48-cpu) Beowulf cluster with 96 Gigabytes of memory. According to my colleague Thom Hickey, whose team has been working on the machine, the cluster speeds up most bibliographic processing by about a factor of 30. This means that what might have taken a minute now takes two seconds, what might have taken an hour takes two minutes, what might have taken a month takes a day. For jobs that will fit entirely in memory (e.g. a `grep' of WorldCat) avoiding disk i/o gives another factor of about 20, reducing 1-hour jobs down to 6 seconds. We can 'frbrize' WorldCat on the cluster in about an hour.

WorldCat is also now more mobile. Thom has a 40 gig iPod which can accommodate WorldCat on its disk with room left for 5,000 song tracks. Now, you can't do much with the data on the iPod, but you can certainly carry it around. Again, it takes about an hour to get it on and off the iPod.

I use (and like) OCLC WorldCat a lot, so this is great news for all searchers. I don't own an iPod, but the implications are huge. If users can carry around the entire WorldCat db on their iPods, when will the technology be available to download individual PACs? Or is it there already? I cannot find the instructions to download WorldCat to one's iPod, so I've asked Lorcan for more information.

November 1, 2004

EBSCO Adding Full-Text Conference Papers, Open WorldCat Pilot User's Perspective

:: From today's NewsLink:

EBSCO Publishing has entered into an agreement with All Academic, Inc. that will provide researchers with access to a collection of full-text conference papers from scholarly societies. The partnership with All Academic will bring nearly 25,000 full-text conference papers into appropriate EBSCOhost databases including Academic Search Premier, Business Source Premier, and Communication & Mass Media Complete. The companies anticipate that approximately 20,000 records will be added to EBSCOhost databases on an annual basis beginning in 2005.
Also of interest from today's NewsLink is an good column by Nancy O'Neill, entitled Open WorldCat Pilot: A User's Perspective. This project was previously mentioned here and here. O'Neill conducted what she calls "unscientific tests", and in the end, concludes the following:
Grumble as we may, OCLC's Open WorldCat Pilot has the potential to achieve its goals and more. It may not yet have earned a standing ovation for its performance, but let's give a rousing cheer for the initiative a special "hats off" to Google and Yahoo! as our new library partners and encourage OCLC to move from pilot to permanent.