On June 19, OCLC announced the launch of the new WorldCat Metadata API which supports a variety of functionality that libraries can use to catalog collections in WorldCat. Libraries will be able to create applications with the new API to add new and enrich existing WorldCat bibliographic records, and maintain WorldCat institution holdings and local bibliographic data.

We recently had the chance to sit down with John Chapman (Product Manager, OCLC WorldShare Metadata) and Steve Meyer (Technical Product Manager, OCLC WorldShare Platform). They share with us some of the thinking behind the API, what it does, and how libraries can use it to create and maintain their metadata resources.

You can also read a brief post about the new API on the OCLC Developer Network blog. Technical data and documentation about the WorldCat Metadata API is also available on the Developer Network.

Laura C. Slavin, Technical Services Librarian, Lincoln Memorial University's Carnegie-Vincent Library, shared the following story with us about how the ease-of-use of WorldShare Management Services helped provide more options and opportunities for workflow improvements and time savings in her library.


It's not uncommon for us at the Carnegie-Vincent Library to have a large backlog of gift books. Gift books often arrive in large quantities. They are removed from boxes and placed on carts for collection development librarians to assess for the collection. As Technical Services Librarian, those that were accepted for the collection were given to me for copy, complex copy and original cataloging. Then I added holdings and items to complete the physical processing.

In June 2012, the Carnegie-Vincent Library migrated to OCLC WorldShare Management Services (WMS). As a result, I began considering ways to improve workflows and reduce redundancy in technical services processes. Working with WMS cuts down on duplication dramatically since there is no longer a need to transfer WorldCat records to an integrated library system. Also, I observed that copy cataloging was now at a level where many were accepted "as is" - requiring no edits at all.

Because WorldShare makes technical service processes much easier, I decided to work with a graduate assistant on a pilot project to see if student workers could do the majority of the gift book processing. Any books that were not ordered through a fund would fall into this category.

In WMS, this process takes place in the Circulation module. Through the Circulation module, a record is discovered and then, using a simple form, an item is added to the record indicating location, call number and barcode.

The first step in developing the pilot project was to create a model for the plan. The idea was to assign student workers to complete the processing with a graduate assistant supervising. To get the process started, I trained the graduate assistant and assigned her to work on processing until she felt well versed in the workflow. Then, the graduate assistant and I worked together to find student workers who met certain criteria: time available to spend on the project and an eye for detailed, precise work. As the pilot project moved forward, the graduate assistant took on more responsibility, which provided an excellent managerial experience for her and allowed me to perform other duties.

A serious concern for me was the quality of the output. Therefore, I created detailed instructions in writing for the graduate assistant and student workers. During training, it was emphasized that the first step, finding the record, was the most important. The catalog must have the right record with the right book. There are no exceptions. If the record was not complete, lacked a call number, or there were any questions at all about the record, it was set aside for me to check.

The rest of the procedure was straightforward. First, add the item, then write down the barcode number and include it on a slip with the book, and add book information to the Excel label template. When a cart is complete, I do a random quality check of the completed books. Any problems were discussed with the graduate assistant, so that she can incorporate them in ongoing training of the students.

The pilot project was implemented during the 2012 fall semester. Overall, the pilot project proved to be a success with more than 300 items cataloged and available in the system by the end of the semester. We'll probably only do this when the library has a large influx of gift books. But being able to process items through the Circulation module in WMS helps us minimize the backlog that sometimes develops due to a large donation.

Laura C. Slavin,
Technical Services Librarian, Lincoln Memorial University's Carnegie-Vincent Library

Video interview with Shelley Hostetler

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Here's a quick interview with Shelley Hostetler, OCLC's new Community Manager for the Developer Network. Shelley explains a bit about her role at OCLC and how to get involved with the Developer Network.

Knowing where the tools are kept

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As an editor and proofreader, I get frequent questions about style and punctuation--and an unspoken assumption that I must keep tons of arcane details in my head. If my colleagues only knew how often I reach for the dictionary or the World Almanac or The Chicago Manual of Style to answer many of their questions!

At OCLC, we've tried to put many of the tools most used by member librarians in one place, called the "Librarian's toolbox." This portal page on the OCLC website is one of those "where to find what" pages for a lot of things you and your staff may need to do in your daily work--definitely worth bookmarking! You can also find the link in the top navigation bar of almost any page on the www.oclc.org site:


Here's a partial list of what you can do from the toolbox page:

  • Log on to variety of OCLC services and related sites
  • Access and print OCLC forms
  • Order OCLC services
  • Link to helpful cataloging tools
  • Get the latest Dewey Decimal Classification updates
  • Explore a directory of other OCLC libraries
The Librarian's toolbox is also a great go-to site to learn more about WorldCat. There are tools for using WorldCat more effectively. You can put the WorldCat search box on your website to make it easier for users to find materials they need. And you can watch the work of libraries around the world as they continue to build WorldCat record by record.

We hope the toolbox page is a helpful reference as you connect with OCLC services, staff and other members. It's a good link to hang onto because, as we all know, no one can remember everything!

Brad Gauder
OCLC Editor

A wonderful collaboration

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"A wonderful collaboration" sums up how Jackie Dooley, OCLC Research Program Officer, told me she feels about the process and outcomes of a new report, Survey of Special Collections and Archives in the United Kingdom and Ireland, published jointly by OCLC Research and Research Libraries UK (RLUK).

The 259-page report, written by Jackie and a team of RLUK-recruited experts--Rachel Beckett, Alison Cullingford, Katie Sambrook, Chris Sheppard and Sue Worrall--makes a strong case for transforming special collections, including a set of 20 recommendations they believe will help address the key findings. The executive summary and recommendations are published in the main report and as a separate document.

Jackie explained that the project closely parallels an earlier special collections survey she led in 2010. Taking Our Pulse: The OCLC Research Survey of Special Collections and Archives (PDF) gave a similar, evidence-based review of the state of special collections in the U.S. and Canada. The survey instrument used in the new report is based on the one used earlier, with variations to accommodate both terminological differences and issues of particular interest for the UK and Ireland. To accommodate RLUK's desire to compare the state of its members' special collections with those of ARL libraries in the US and Canada, the current report includes a detailed comparison between the two.

Taken together, the reports establish a baseline for comparing practices in the US and Canada with those used in the UK and Ireland. This baseline also provides a starting point for later collaboration based on shared strengths.

Jackie shared that these reports are a familiar, personal endeavor--her entire career (30+ years and counting) has been spent working with archives and special collections in research libraries. She notes that OCLC Research and RLUK plan to pursue further collaborations--not only related to special collections, but in other areas of mutual interest.

Brad Gauder
OCLC Editor