Wednesday, February 14, 2007

WorldCat Identities: Making Data Work Harder

What is cool about this project that OCLC is announcing today is that the data was already in Worldcat and this is a new and different way to view the data. Worldcat is a bibliographic database of over 65million records and 120mm items. It is huge, and represents the data from some 60,000 local library collections. Making data work harder isn't a formal initiative but it should be a mantra any database manager would live by and in this case the results are quite interesting. It is represents the work of the OCLC office of research and principally Thom Hickey (blog) and it will be interesting to see how this initiative evolves and develops over time.

Especially interesting will be whether/if other database providers such as wikipedea or Amazon would value this representation of Worldcat. No word yet on how this would be effected in a formal way but any user can create a url string that creates a search of Worldcat and perhaps the Identities could be searched in the same manner. Lorcan's site (linked to above) enables you to search on 'canned' searches listed (including Kyle Minogue who seems to be a personal favorite) as well as a browse by subject which from a serendipity standpoint is fun to play with.

Here is a sample screenshot:

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