Tuesday, May 01, 2007

WorldCat Local Goes Live!

WorldCat Local, OCLC's entry in the OPAC 2.0 sweepstakes has made its debut (public beta, anyway) at the University of Washington.

Basically, this is a scoped look at WorldCat which uses OCLC's bibliographic records and holdings data and links to a local circulation system for item status information. It thus takes the place of a traditional, locally-hosted OPAC, but it can offer many of the new features libraries now want in OPACS but often can't get from legacy vendors because of the complexity of the old systems.

It's interesting to see how the branding and page links blend in with the rest of the UW's web site. The faceting, links to other libraries, and the ability to directly request an item all are improvements over many of the OPAC 1.0 installs out there.

It's also interesting to observe that it handles non-inverted names like "John Smith" (as opposed to "Smith, John"), which like using a slide rule or sharpening a quill pen, does not seem like a skill much in evidence among today's students.

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