OCLC’s WorldCat Local
OCLC is getting back into the local integrated library system market — sort of. Using WorldCat.org as its base, OCLC can provide an interface for a library’s local catalog. The functionality should be similar to WorldCat.org. From Barbara Quint:
- Single search box
- Relevancy ranking of search results within each tier
- “Faceted browse capability” that allows searchers to limit results sets or redirect searches to other content
- Citation formatting options
- Additional content to help users evaluate items, e.g., cover art, reviews, etc.
In addition, libraries could brand the interface and integrate this service with existing ILS services. A pilot project, which includes the University of Washington Libraries, the Peninsula Library System (CA), and eleven Illinois libraries, will have access by the end of the summer.
As for becoming another ILS vendor, OCLC is stating that this is an alternative interface for a library’s ILS. WorldCat Local is not a replacement for the local OPAC’s interface, but it could be seen as an option. Marshall Breeding of Vanderbilt University says it well. WorldCat Local:
. . . doesn’t eliminate the need for anything from the ILS vendor, except maybe its next-generation front-end catalog. Each module is optional, so maybe next time around, a library might invest less in portal products from the [ILS] vendor.” However, Breeding also observed: “In the long run, OCLC has been getting less revenue from its cataloging utilities, its traditional financial mainstay. They might want to deliver other kinds of services. It’s something to watch. OCLC has acquired a great deal of library technology. How they will bring it into OCLC products and services bears watching. Lots of times their acquisitions stem from an opportunity and less from a grand plan on the commercial side, but they have technologies that give them options to work in different directions.” In any case, according to Breeding, the developments at OCLC make it “more and more important for libraries to get their holdings into OCLC, even if they’re not interested in WorldCat Local.”
[Disclaimer: I work for Amigos Library Services, an OCLC service provider]