The Role of WorldCat in Resources Sharing

Anna H. Perrault, University of South Florida


The 30th anniversary of WorldCat was celebrated in 2001. At that time, there were 45 million records with over 750 million location listings, spanning over 4,000 years of recorded knowledge in 377 languages. In the anniversary year, a bibliometric study was begun under the auspices of an OCLC/ALISE research grant. A 10% systematic random sample of the database was analyzed utilizing the OCLC iCAS software to profile the monographic contents of WorldCat by type of library, subject and language parameters. The profile reveals the extent of global publication made accessible through the OCLC international network. Several findings of the study can be examined as possible barriers to successful cooperation in collection development and resource sharing. One of the major problems analyzed in the study is the timeliness in the availability of bibliographic records for current publications. This paper explores the feasibility of using WorldCat as a cooperative collection development tool as well as additional measures which might be derived from analyzing bibliographic records. The results can be used to stimulate discussion on the role of WorldCat as an international resource on the universe of publication available for research and resource sharing worldwide.