Thursday, January 18, 2007

Watch WorldCat Grow (Again)

You can watch a selection of the titles being added to WorldCat, a freshly minted piece of data every eight seconds (during which time several dozen other titles may have been added as well). The page has been redesigned, but the action is just as mesmerizing as when we first posted about it, and more pertinent to us now that you have access to the whole WorldCat database through your library card.

To look up titles in WorldCat, go to the Magazine, Newspaper and Database page, click on "WorldCat from home with your library card" and you are on your way. If you don't have a Santa Fe Public Library card, you can use Open Worldcat. It gives you the same titles, just doesn't give you quite as much detail...

The display tells us there are 1,110,159,021 holdings... there are 1,110,159,195 holdings... 1,110,159,438... 1,110,169,003... What does that 'holdings' number mean? Suppose you are looking for Barbara Ehrenreich's 2005 title, Bait and switch : the (futile) pursuit of the American dream. Two thousand fourteen libraries own it at the moment. One title; 2014 holdings. 74 million titles; 1.1 billion holdings. Like that.

The really amazing thing is that occasionally in spite of 41,000 libraries on the network having among them those 74 million titles (see WorldCat Facts and Statistics), sometimes our Interlibrary Loan librarians are unable to find a title on the network, and so we can't borrow it from out of town for you. 74 million titles and what you want may still be unique. Or it may be added to the database in the next few seconds. Someone just added The house stood forlorn. Legacy of remembrance of a boyhood in the Russia of the late nineteenth century. Illustrations by M. Sochachewskv. Author, Cohen, Joseph J. Pub. Date, 1954 . Was that the one you wanted?

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