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WorldCat is a union catalog which itemizes the collections of 72,000 libraries in 170 countries and territories which participate in the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) global cooperative. It is built and maintained collectively by the participating libraries.
Created in 1971, it contains more than 246 million different records pointing to over 1.77 billion physical and digital assets in more than 470 languages. It is the world's largest bibliographic database. OCLC makes WorldCat itself available free to libraries, but the catalog is the foundation for other fee-based OCLC services (such as resource sharing and collection management). WorldCat was founded by Fred Kilgour in 1967.
In 2003, OCLC began the "Open WorldCat" pilot program, making abbreviated records from a subset of WorldCat available to partner Web sites and booksellers, to increase the accessibility of its member libraries’ collections. In 2006, it became possible to search WorldCat directly at its website. In 2007, WorldCat Identities began providing pages for 20 million "identities", predominantly authors and persons who are the subjects of published titles.
WorldCat operates on a batch processing model rather than a real-time model. That is, WorldCat records are synchronized only at intermittent intervals with the underlying library catalogs instead of real-time or even every day. WorldCat merely shows that a particular item is listed in the catalog of a library, but cannot indicate if the item has been borrowed and is therefore unavailable for access by other patrons right now. As a partial workaround, WorldCat allows participating institutions to add direct links to WorldCat to their catalog entries for a particular item, but this is not as convenient as being able to view current status for all institutions owning an item on a single Web page.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 "WorldCat facts and statistics". Online Computer Library Center. 2011. http://www.oclc.org/ca/en/worldcat/statistics/default.htm. Retrieved November 6, 2011.
- ↑ Margalit Fox (August 2, 2006). "Frederick G. Kilgour, Innovative Librarian, Dies at 92". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/02/us/02kilgour.html. Retrieved 2009-12-22. "Frederick G. Kilgour, a distinguished librarian who nearly 40 years ago transformed a consortium of Ohio libraries into what is now the largest library cooperative in the world, making the catalogs of thousands of libraries around the globe instantly accessible to far-flung patrons, died on Monday in Chapel Hill, N.C. He was 92."
- ↑ "Resources for the Study of Islam and Muslim Identities in Russia, Eastern Europe, and Eurasia". University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. 2009-06-23. http://uiuc.libguides.com/content.php?pid=45656&sid=337752. Retrieved 2010-03-05.
- WorldCat Official website.
- OCLC - "Web scale" discovery and delivery of library resources
- WorldCat Identities
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