ACCESS | Asia 's Newspaper on Electronic Information Product & Service
March 2009 No.68  
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OCLC launches WorldCat Mobile pilot
HathiTrust and OCLC to work together to enhance discovery of digital collections

 

OCLC, the world's largest library cooperative, has launched a pilot programme to make collections from libraries visible through mobile devices. The WorldCat Mobile pilot allows users to search for and find books and other materials available in libraries near them through a web application they can access from a PDA or smartphone.

The pilot is based on WorldCat.org, the world's largest online resource for finding information in libraries. Advanced global positioning capabilities found in many smartphones and PDAs make it possible for users to find local library materials no matter where they happen to be. Users can even get a Google Maps view of the library location along with detailed driving instructions if the mobile device supports the application.

The pilot will gather data to inform and help shape future mobile access to WorldCat.org. The pilot is now available in the United States and Canada and is expected to last six months.

"People are using their mobile phones today as if they were hand-held computers," said Cindy Cunningham, OCLC Director of Partner Programs. "OCLC wants to make sure that libraries are where people are seeking information. The WorldCat Mobile pilot will help us to gauge the kind of interest people have in accessing library information from their mobile phones wherever they may be."

The WorldCat Mobile pilot allows users to: Search for library materials by entering search terms such as title, keywords or author; Find a WorldCat library nearby by entering a ZIP, postal code or location in the Libraries Locator; Call a library by highlighting and clicking the phone number in a library listing to place a call; Map a route to find the fastest way to a WorldCat library using the mapping software already on a mobile device. A brief demonstration of how to use WorldCat mobile can be found here.

   HathiTrust and OCLC to work together to enhance discovery of digital collections

HathiTrust, a group of some of the largest research libraries in the United States collaborating to create a repository of their vast digital collections, and OCLC will work together to increase visibility of and access to items in the HathiTrustís shared digital repository. Together, OCLC and HathiTrust will increase online visibility and accessibility of the digital collections by creating WorldCat records describing the content and linking to the collections via WorldCat.org and WorldCat Local. The organizations will launch a project in the coming months to develop specifications and determine next steps.

"The connection between HathiTrust and WorldCat is a natural," said John Wilkin, Associate University Librarian, University of Michigan Library and Executive Director of HathiTrust. "WorldCat and HathiTrust are both built by and for libraries, and their pursuit of comprehensiveness will aid our community in pursuit of more effective collection management, as well as integration of services across our institutions."

HathiTrust provides libraries a means to archive and provide access to their digital content, whether scanned volumes, special collections, or born-digital materials. The representation of these resources in digital form provides expanded opportunities for innovative use in research, teaching and learning, and will be done with careful attention to effective solutions for the curation and long-term preservation of digital assets.

Any research library with digital content or an interest in curation of digital content can become a partner of the HathiTrust. For more information, visit here.

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