OCLC introduces WorldCat Discovery Services, a new suite of cloud-based applications that brings together the FirstSearch and WorldCat Local services. Set to launch in March, the new suite will enable discovery of more than 1.3 billion electronic, digital and physical resources in libraries around the world through a single search of both WorldCat and a central index that represents nearly 2,000 e-content collections. This will make it possible for more than 18,000 FirstSearch libraries to offer a richer discovery experience.
“Development of WorldCat Discovery Services is another significant step in our work with members to deliver innovations and new services that drive library costs down and information access up. We have enormous potential to use our collective talents and the capacity of cloud computing to deliver continuous innovation for our users,” said Skip Prichard, OCLC President and CEO.
WorldCat Discovery Services will offer library users and staff access to rich, global bibliographic content available only through WorldCat. A central index will enable information seekers from mutually subscribing libraries to search authoritative sources from providers such as EBSCO, Gale and ProQuest. Direct link resolution from citations to full-text resources will be available for libraries with holdings in WorldCatand the WorldCat knowledge base. Resources not available electronically can be delivered through integrated interlibrary loan.
“OCLC is letting its mission drive its actions,” said Angi Faiks, Associate Director of Access, Instruction and Research Services, Macalester College in Saint Paul, Minnesota, and a participant in beta testing. “OCLC is reinforcing its public purpose by providing more access to more information for more people. Making library collections more accessible can only help us fulfill our mission as libraries.”
“I see WorldCat Discovery Services as an ideal combination of applications for librarians and end users alike,” said Kurt Munson, Resource Sharing and Reserve Librarian, Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, and part of the Reference Advisory Group. “WorldCat Discovery can help us do the complicated work librarians do, and yet it is simple enough for users to just walk up, use it and find what they need.”
WorldCat Discovery Services will be available to FirstSearch users in March as part of existing subscriptions. FirstSearch will operate in parallel during a year-long transition so libraries can choose when to move to the new service.
New features for FirstSearch subscribers include access to the central index that represents more than a billion articles, e-books and other e-content; a new user interface that adapts automatically to mobile devices; and the ability to manage access to digital collections.
Additional new features provided for libraries that maintain up-to-date holdings in the WorldCat database include direct links to full-text resources to which they subscribe, a built-in A to Z list, and their library’s resources listed first in search results. Libraries that maintain holdings in WorldCat will also continue to benefit from increased visibility of their resources through search engines and other popular websites where research often begins.
The WorldCat Discovery Services suite also offers subscribers several optional features for a fee, such as real-time availability, group view of available resources, management of course reserves or reading lists, or customized traffic and usage reports.
“WorldCat Discovery Services is an important advancement for our loyal FirstSearch users,” said Andrew K. Pace, Executive Director, OCLC Networked Library Services. “This new suite has been developed and refined based on input and feedback from a 30-member Advisory Group and more than 650 FirstSearch beta test libraries around the world over the past 18 months.”
WorldCat Local libraries will also move to WorldCat Discovery Services over the next 18 months. The transition will begin in April with a beta period when WorldCat Local subscribers can begin using the new services and plan transition activities.
WorldCat Discovery Services is OCLC’s second cloud suite. WorldShare Management Services, released in 2011, is a cloud suite of library management applications that is helping libraries reduce library management costs, streamline workflows, and improve access to their collections and services. There are currently more than 180 libraries using WorldShare Management Services and 100 more libraries and library groups in implementation.
Learn more about WorldCat Discovery Services during the ALA Midwinter presentation, “The Future of FirstSearch and WorldCat Local: What OCLC’s New Discovery Services Mean for Your Library,” on Saturday, January 25, from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. in the Pennsylvania Convention Center, Room 108 B.
More about the new WorldCat Discovery Services suite is on the OCLC website.