The funny thing about memes is you can’t force them. I mentioned this particular issue on Twitter a little bit ago but I find WorldCat’s Meme Request [update: link suddenly broken, see comments for text. another update: the post is now back. Huh.] post to be a little sketchy-seeming.
Maybe this is because of my particular perspective of not feeling that I get a lot of value for me or my library from WorldCat. Here’s the thing with this request. If this is a legitimate and okay use of Wikipedia — to add links to WC identities to applicable pages — Wikipedia has an open API, just go build a bot and do it, on the level. If it’s not okay, and my reading of the Wikipedia guidelines seems to indicate that it may not be, trying to end-run this by faking a grassroots movement seems to not be in the best interests of either Wikipedia or WorldCat. I don’t think WorldCat is trying to be shifty or sneaky here, I just don’t think their approach is as helpful as they may think it would be.
Also, let me state for the record, that I think the WorldCat identities project is really smoking hot. However there is still a huge difference between “all libraries” and “OCLC member libraries” and I’ll continue to raise these polite objections to the willful blurring of the line between the two until the point at which WorldCat can direct me to the actual nearest copy of Jane Eyre to my house.
A few neat announcements in libraryland concerning data or connectors being made more open and available. These two examples may not seem as linked as they are.
- LibraryThing releases (sort of) (almost) a million book covers, free for your use, under most circumstances. You can also cache the covers locally as long as you don’t do it in such a way that you support LT competitors. While I understand why this isn’t linked with the Open Library project, I’d love to see it get there in the future sometime. update: John Miedema reminds me in the comments that I’d meant to also link to the openbook WordPress plugin for people using WordPress.
- WorldCat released their search API over the weekend. As with many OCLC things, this is great news for their member libraries and not that great for anyone else, but it’s a real step towards letting (their) people get at their data, not just their web pages. You can get some details, in slightly dense format, on this page.
I’m sure you do this for some very important reason, but spending $16 to express mail me a copy of a report that I didn’t ask for (though it does look quite interesting) seems wasteful. I go to the post office once a week and all express mail does is makes my postmistress agitated. While WorldCat is closer to being useful for me — showing one copy of Jane Eyre shown that is actually in my state before the ones one state over; the closest copy actually being about a quarter mile from here — I’d love it if you could apply this money to some sort of teeny-library scholarship fund so that we could benefit from WorldCat in Vermont instead of just hearing about how we can raise more money to pay you with.
I’ve been watching WorldCat grow, but I’m a little confused. When I fist looked, the “title” I saw was Americana, cinema and dramatic arts, cookbooks, erotica, fine, decorative and graphic arts, illustrated books, literary first editions, metaphysics and the occult, science fiction, juvenalia, investment rarities. Now it just says List #2. These are not book titles. What am I watching?
Slow reading points me to the Not in WorldCat blog, showcasing weird funky and obscure books that you can’t find in one of the many libraries Worldcat covers.
Worldcat.org is the public face of the largest combined (or â€œunionâ€) library catalog in the world. Library folks usually refer to it as OCLC (Online Computer Library Center). Currently OCLC/WorldCat catalogs over 1 billion items from over 60,000 libraries around the world. This blog is not affiliated with OCLC/Worldcat in any way. Itâ€™s just an outlet for one bookseller/librarian (me) to feature unusual, rare and interesting items that exist outside of WorldCatâ€™s vast reach.