Yesterday we had a demo of WorldCat Local from OCLC, which we felt gave a slightly different slant to resource discovery. The system, unsurprisingly, is developed from WorldCat.org, the openly available service on the Web which provides one place for users to find and obtain materials from their closest libraries (e.g. by postcode), and all other participating libraries, up to an international level.
WebCat Local, which is the resource discovery/single search element claims to ‘improve web visibility of your holdings in the various WorldCat platforms, i.e. WorldCat on the open web (WorldCat.org), FirstSearch WorldCat, WorldCat for cataloguing (Connexion), WorldCat Resource Sharing and WorldCat Collection Analysis as well as via our various partners , such as Google, Google Books, Google Scholar and LibraryThing.’
This is done using a hybrid approach of a central index (which will harvest library holdings and certain licensed content) and meta-search (which searches the rest of your remote databases). One area of the search which we’d like to see developed quickly is the ‘limit to full-text’ option, which is coming soon but not currently available.
Project team members liked the social features/functionality of the system, which OCLC hopes will make the site compelling to users. These include user profiles, lists (which we also thought could be utilised as a reading list system), easy permalinks (always handy to use in VLEs) and the Harvard Citation function which instantly cites an item for you (although it wasn’t in ‘our’ version of Harvard, apparently – wonder if this could be configured?).
Worldcat Identities was a great, if slightly hidden, feature which allowed you to link to more detailed information about the author you’d encountered. We also felt that the ability to make comparisons of holdings with either local or similar institutions through WorldCat would be helpful.