Last Friday (August 26, 2011) marked the 40th birthday of the awesome, powerful, beautiful search engine known as WorldCat. WorldCat is an online catalog of all the books, videos and other stuff on the shelves in libraries around the world.
Back the early days (like 2005), WorldCat was a specialized database only available to librarians and hardcore research nerds through the FirstSearch database. Then something magical happened. OCLC turned WorldCat into an open webpage searchable by anyone in the world with integration to Google, Amazon.com and more.
I'll try try not to geek out too much. Here's what you need to know:
- WorldCat is a single search interface that allows you to search library holdings around the world.
- When I say around the world, I mean the US, Canada, Europe and other countries. I also mean Roane State Community College and your local public libraries.
- WorldCat is smart enough to take a local zip code (or GPS location via smartphone) and figure out which libraries hold the book ranked in proximity to where you are.
- You can create a free account with WorldCat and save research lists for your own personal reading/research needs.
There are all sorts of cool ways to use WorldCat. Give it a try and post your WorldCat experience to the comments on this blog post.
Labels: databases, research, worldcat