Full disclosure: I work for OCLC, and I knew about the Registry project (some colleagues have been involved). Neither of which has any influence over my decision to write this post or what I have to say. (I think my track record’s good enough that I shouldn’t even need to say that, but…)
OCLC just introduced WorldCat Registry. Here’s the start of the extensive About page:
The WorldCat Registry is a Web-based directory for libraries and library consortia. It is an authoritative single source for information that defines institutional identity, services, relationships, contacts and other key data often shared with third parties. With it, you can:
- Create and manage a profile that centralizes and automates information sharing with vendors and othersâ€”you don’t maintain multiple identities, and their data is always up-to-date
- Get greater Internet visibility for your collection and services through syndication of your data over a variety of Web services including WorldCat.org
The registry is seeded with profiles for all OCLC member libraries (and others), but it’s not limited to OCLC members–any library can add a profile (or add to their existing profile).
I already knew that the Registry could be enormously useful for some things I wanted to work on (some things in possible future work, some things at home). I wasn’t expecting the extent to which it’s been populated, however.
Namely, I did a local search–Mountain View Public Library. After choosing the California entry from the list of four results (which appear to include duplicate entries for the library in Mountain View, Missouri, probably because of orthography differences and source-material differences), I clicked on my local library’s profile and did a little exploring.
The unexpected, which I anticipate finding very useful: the “Administrative Information” page. It offers the basic funding and circulation numbers for MVPL. I found similar numbers for the Missouri MVPL (a much smaller library in a much smaller community), and assume they’re there for many institutions.
Great stuff. I can use this directly. It’s clearly set up to be useful through other applications. Turns out the MVPL numbers are considerably more impressive than I expected (the library’s well funded–better funded than I expected, and I’m delighted my tax money is going there!–and quite well used as well).
Give it a try. Lorcan Dempsey just blogged about it, which alerted me to its being in production.