Wouldn’t it be wonderful if one search box could be used to
discover everything owned by all libraries? And wouldn’t
it be great if the starting-point search box could be "dropped"
into any web page? And wouldn’t it be even better if the
search results page could be branded with each library’s name
and logo? And
making it almost perfect is allowing the searcher to place a
request for anything found, both locally and beyond.
These are some of the pieces that are being developed as part of the
WorldCat Local project, a joint research and development effort between
OCLC and Illinois libraries.
Using WorldCat Local, library users can use one interface to find
the following materials:
•Physical books, dvd’s, kits, audiocassettes, and more
•Electronic books and journals
•Digital media such as videos and digitized photos
•Full text articles purchased by the library
•Full-text articles available through open-access journals
•Special collections such as archival information
•Digital objects such as art prints and historical replicas.
All of this will be accessible through a single search box that
libraries can place in multiple, convenient web locations.
Illinois libraries are fortunate in being able to test WorldCat Local
with a 2-year LSTA funded project, Developing a Statewide Discovery
Toolkit: a 21st Century Public Access Catalog. For this pilot
project, Lincoln Trail Libraries System is partnering with the
Illinois Library Systems, the Illinois State Library, OCLC and 35 multitype
libraries. Those libraries include:
Lincoln Trail Libraries System
Champaign Central High
Prairie Library System
State Museum Library
Glenside Public Library
Illinois State Library
University of Illinois @ Urbana-Champaign
CCS Cooperative (23 libraries)
On October 15, WorldCat Local was officially
implemented at the first participating LTLS libraries and the system
sites will be implemented later this fall. WorldCat Local will
allow users to discover, via a “Google-like” search box,
materials held by their own library, their library’s consortium
and finally the full WorldCat database. Users may take advantage
of faceted searching (in which users can refine their
results by categories such as author, subject, format, language
and date) and can change relevancy rankings as needed. Evaluative
content (tables of contents, cover art, reviews, etc.) appear
with many WorldCat items.
Along with shelf status and availability from
the local library automation system, the service will allow users
to easily place holds locally or to request materials through an interlibrary loan option.
Users will be able to link directly to the text of articles available
from the library’s full-text databases. Other options allow
the user to provide feedback regarding the service, to create
and post reviews, to create citations, and to maintain lists.
During the second year of the project, LTLS
is conducting end-user testing among users selected by their participating
library and host focus groups throughout the state. We will
also be testing how well locally indexed resources (such as Lincoln
Library’s Newsdex, a local newspaper index) can be integrated
into WorldCat Local. Plans are also being made to promote the
project through library staff training in collaboration with
library systems and to develop end-user training that will be disseminated
through WebJunction Illinois.
The successful implementation of a common statewide
search interface for discovery and delivery of library resources
will profoundly affect library service both in Illinois and nationally. There is growing
awareness among library staff that integrated library management systems
must change to reflect the demands of our users. The traditional
web catalog interfaces in most of our libraries do not meet the demand
for the quick retrieval of relevant resources nor for the easy delivery
of those resources. Users expect from their library the same
speed and ease of use that they rely on from Google and Amazon.com. Providing
for a successful search interface that looks and behaves very similarly
in libraries across the state will be a positive step in bringing users
back to the library for their information needs. Information
providers from across the country (and the world) will be monitoring
the success of this and several other similar pilots as they
develop new platforms for resource discovery and delivery.
You may view the most recent implementations of WorldCat Local at
any one of the following sites: