Friday, February 12, 2010

WorldCat -- A Mighty Kitty of Information!

Recently, in our Genealogy Guide, we gave a brief introduction to WorldCat, an international online library catalog. This week, our resident librarian, Larry Naukam expounds on the subject, telling us what WorldCat is and what it is not, "WorldCat - A Mighty Kitty of Information." We can more effectively use the resources and tools available to us when we understand their limitations as well as their benefits. For example, as extensive as it is, WorldCat does not catalog the holdings of the LDS Family History Library. WorldCat is a cooperative and libraries must opt in -- the Family History Library is not a member of the cooperative. Of course, the Family History Library maintains is own online catalog, so nothing is lost. The article identifies other reasons a legitimate library item might not show up in WorldCat. One nice benefit of WorldCat is that it does "point to" online digitized materials held by its member libraries (provided they have been cataloged); although it may not provide a live link to that resource, it can lead you the repository where the resource is held. As the author points out, WorldCat is a supplement to other online genealogical resources -- it does not replace them.

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