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OPAC – Connecting collections to WorldCat Identities

If you were at the National Library of Australia’s annual meeting a while back then you might have spotted Thom Hickey from OCLC mentioning that the Powerhouse Museum has started to use the WorldCat Identities to connect people in the collection to their identity records and library holdings in WorldCat.

This is now public in an early alpha form.

Here’s an example from a collection record.

Tucked away in the automatically generated metadata (using Open Calais) are some links from people to their World Cat Identities record over at World Cat – if such a record exists. At the moment there isn’t a lot of disambiguation between people of the same name going on, so there are quite a few false positives.

In this example, Geoffrey C Ingleton now links to his record on World Cat Identities.

In the alpha stage all this means is that visitors can now connect from a collection record to the name authority file and thence, on World Cat, to library holdings (mostly books) by or about the people mentioned in that collection record. Later you’ll be able to a whole lot more . . . we’re using the World Cat API and we’ve got a jam-packed development schedule over the next few summer months (it is cooler in the office than out of it!).

Not only does this allow visitors to find more, it also allows the Powerhouse to start to add levels of ranking to the person data identified by Open Calais – an important step in putting that auto-generated metadata to better use. Equally importantly, it opens the door to a whole new range of metadata that can associated with an object record in our collection. Consider the possibilities for auto-generated bibliographies, or even library-generated additional classification metadata.

For those excited by the possibilities offered by combining the collective strengths of each partner in the LAM (libraries, archives, museums) nexus then this should be a good example of a first step towards mutual metadata enhancement.

We’re also very excited about the possibilities that the National Library of Australia’s People Australia project holds in this regard too.

2 replies on “OPAC – Connecting collections to WorldCat Identities”

Thanks for sharing, this is very interesting. I wonder if you’d be willing to have your project using the WorldCat Search API featured as part of an OCLC poster gallery at an upcoming library conference? We’d love to showcase the cool development work coming out of the Powerhouse Museum!

I love that idea of linking to the upcoming People Australia project. Up to now, when I strike a person amongst the Powerhouse Museum treasures about whom I want to know more, I usually go over to the Australian Dictionary of Biography online. But that People Australia thing looks much richer.

To be able to click straight through from the Powerhouse Musuem website would be great.

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