Monday, April 21, 2008

The role of WorldCat

The white paper, Preservation in the Age of Large-Scale Digitization, mentions WorldCat in talking about it representing "the shared investment of many libraries in aggregating various metadata for their print collections." (p. 37) WorldCat and, are OCLC products that provide information on library holdings around the world. WorldCat in total contains more than 100 million metadata records. So, when trying to locate metadata for books that are being digitized, WorldCat is a useful resource. But what about using WorldCat to locate digitized books? On page 40 of the white paper, Oya Rieger writes:
OCLC is working with Google and Microsoft to synchronize WorldCat with digitization efforts. OCLC eContent Synchronization is designed to automatically create a record in WorldCat representing the digital manifestation.
Wouldn't that be useful if there were one "catalogue" to search in order to find a digitized book, no matter who digitized it? And if anyone were going to create that catalogue, it would have to be OCLC, wouldn't it? OCLC has the clout and resources for such an effort.

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