OCLC and the South West Regional Library Service (SWRLS) in the United Kingdom today announced a collaboration that will initially see seven public library authorities in the South West of England using WorldCat Local as their shared end user discovery service in 2010.
Library authorities in Bournemouth, Bath and NE Somerset, Bristol, North Somerset, Somerset, South Gloucestershire and Plymouth are working with OCLC to implement a discovery interface that will enable users to search and place reservations on materials held across the South West region. By adopting this approach, the libraries will also raise their profile on the Web by becoming visible in WorldCat.org, the Web destination for discovery of library resources.
The libraries, through their participation in UnityUK, the Web-based resource sharing and interlibrary loan service, are already regularly updating their bibliographic and holdings information, which OCLC then uploads to WorldCat. This facilitated records transfer has opened up the potential for them to use services built on the WorldCat platform, including WorldCat Local. The seven SWRLS libraries will have their own customized Web discovery interface reflecting their libraries’ branding and holdings. Each interface will also present real-time holdings information from the other participating libraries to quicken the time it takes for users to locate items of interest. Requests will then be managed by the libraries’ underlying management systems. Inter-library loan requests by SWRLS libraries are managed by UnityUK.
The decision by libraries in the South West to adopt WorldCat Local as a shared service comes at a time when public libraries across the country are taking steps to share resources. In September, the Society of Chief Librarians announced an initiative to allow members of a library to borrow books from any of 4,000 libraries in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. And, as has been widely reported, the government is planning a national request service backed up by home delivery in an attempt to reinvigorate the public’s perception of libraries.
For more information on WorldCat Local, visit: www.oclc.org/worldcatlocal/