One of my affiliations is as a board member at OCLC Inc. in Dublin, OH. I am very proud of the work OCLC does as a global library cooperative. The organization supports thousands of libraries in making information more accessible and more useful to people around the world. OCLC provides shared technology services, original research, and community programs which help libraries meet the ever-evolving needs of their users, institutions, and communities. OCLC’s trademarked slogan is Because what is known must be shared.®
One of the many strengths of OCLC is its Research arm. It is one of the world’s leading centers devoted exclusively to the challenges facing libraries and archives. In a rapidly changing information technology environment, OCLC Research proves quite valuable to these organizations. One of the many tools OCLC Research uses and makes available to libraries is WorldCat. WorldCat is a bibliographic database which includes everything that’s available to users in libraries. It contains bibliographic information about books and journals, DVDs, historic photos, video games, musical scores, newspapers, webpages and many other items. It also includes unique items such as 2,700-year-old jewelry and 18th century soup bowls. I use WorldCat personally when I am writing a book and want to include a citation in the Notes section at the end of the book. (My Attitude series of books contains almost 900 bibliographic citations.) WorldCat will also show you where the nearest library is which holds a book you are interested in borrowing. Take a look at worldcat.org and you will get an idea of what it has. In total, WorldCat has approximately 445,000 bibliographic records and 2.75 billion holdings.
A recent project of OCLC Research was to use WorldCat to determine what makes a novel “great”. OCLC believes greatness can be measured by how many libraries have a copy on their shelves. Libraries offer access to trendy and popular books, but, they don’t keep them on the shelf if they’re not repeatedly requested over time. In order to find the top 100 novels of all time, OCLC Research looked at the holdings in thousands of libraries around the world using WorldCat. The result of the research is The Library 100. Check it out here. You may be surprised, as I was, about how many names you recognize and how many you have yet to read. I doubt if I will ever be able to read them all, but I just put the #1 novel on my Kindle. I will read Don Quixote as soon as I finish Zucked.