Five Months With WorldCat Local

Jennifer Ward, Head of Web Services at the University of Washington discussed how her library has implemented a pilot project-WorldCat Local (WCL). WCL at UW searches the local catalog, World Cat, and four article databases. Not all resources are included in WCL. Early English Books Online and Eighteen Century Collections Online are excluded from WCL due to 3rd party license agreement restrictions. Local records that have not been contributed to Summit, and other serials have also been excluded from WCL.

Why Test World Cat Local?

After several internal discussions about NexGen catalogs and conducting literature reviews in this area, the UW staff made the decision to implement WCL. Some of the key issues they considered were how to work at the higher network level and how to facilitate discovery to delivery.

Meeting the User’s Needs

The UW implementation team realized that users are diverse with a diverse set of needs. A patron may need a particular resource on one day and something totally different on the next. They also realized that users often become overwhelmed with choices. As a result of this they added links to the campus portal improving access and visibility to library resources.

Ward also discussed the challenges in silos of information. It’s difficult for users to have to search different databases. There is also some confusion in how to request items whether it’s through the UW Library catalog, Summit, the union catalog or WCL. There is also quite a difference in the amount of time it takes to get an item depending on how it is requested. The UW Library catalog can take up to two weeks, while Summit is much quicker only 2-3 days on average. Illiad is the best method for getting obscure items or items not owned by UW. However, UW library has received negative feedback regarding ILL through Illiad.

Advantages to Using WCL

  • Simple search box
  • UW holdings float to top.
  • Don’t have to change interfaces
  • Availability is front and center easy to see
  • Get access to full text online through OpenURL
  • Ferberized results sets
  • Create and save lists
  • Multilingual interface
  • Book jackets

Ward also mentioned that UW has conducted usability testing and that they are using the results of this testing to improve the interface of WCL. She could not talk about the specifics of this testing, only that they have made significant changes due to it.

Ward did show screen captures of the site.

Highlights of Searching/Interface

After the initial search, facets appear on the left hand side of the screen for content, format, author, language, and year.

The Results screen holdings location is in the middle of the screen. Holdings and availability are retrieved in real time. When a user clicks on the item, it is then requested through Summit.

Libraries tab-location information is based on your IP address. So you will see libraries within a certain IP, but you can change it to your local. You can see if other libraries nearby you have the item.

Details Tab

Likely will soon be the default tab

Item details, summary/abstract and notes

Subjects tab-displays all the subject heading in the record. Includes MESH as well as LCSH.

Editions Tab

Displays all the different editions of an item. Uses OCLC ferber algorithm to pull this information together.

Citations can be formatted in an array of styles such as APA, Chicago, or ALA

Other Notes on WCL

Users can write reviews for an item.

Very clear messaging for items not owned and clear instructions that you can get it through ILL Illiad. Not a dead end for the user

Journal and article displays-e.g. time comes up as first hit in WorldCat, but not in UW catalog. World Cat uses relevancy ranking.

Use web bridge so this is integrated into WorldCat and e-resources are displayed.

Impact on borrowing

After only a quarter, UW has seen a drastic increase in their borrowing. Prior to World Cat, there was an increase in borrowing of 6% a year. With the implementation of WCL, Ill Borrowing at UW has jumped to 39.5%. However, only 16.28% of these requests were processed. The other requests were mistakes. Naturally, the increase in borrowing has impacted staff work load, but Ward didn’t go into specifics about this. However, they are aware of this and working on ways to alleviate it.

Challenges with WCL

  • Collating data from multiple sources
  • Mapping metadata for articles and books is a challenge to make it findable.
  • Mapping records from UW to Summit (pockets of records that aren’t in Summit)
  • Locally enhanced records-local holdings data how much of that is network level material.
  • Local/consortial policies are not aligned. Some users can’t borrow thru summit but can through UW
  • Some lost functionality from catalog-practical info. hours, location of library
  • ferber algorithm-it does bring manifestations of a work under on record, but it’s not perfect.
  • Planning to continue to use WCL as primary search system through fall Quarter and see how it develops.
  • ILL Requests is a big issue and causing additional work.




When asked what her number one piece of advice in implementing WCL, Ward said to remain flexible.

Ward gave an interesting and insightful overview of WCL and provided some of the challenges and benefits that UW has experienced to date. My notes coupled with the slides will hopefully provide a good overview of the program.