Friday, November 16, 2007

Questions about OCLC Worldcat

-- answered by Bill Jordan, Patricia Martin and Sara Davidson

Should UCs be worried about the numbers of ILL requests skyrocketing?
There are 3 request silos. Local opac to summit requesting at one click. But for ILL you had to go to another system. They were losing them between local and summit and most to the hop to ILL.

Interlocation information: 94707 - is that a zip code? Will students have to know their own location zip codes?
It defaults to local zip code by plugging in the zip code associated with your IP address.

WorldCat will have articles from Eric and the 3 others. But will this preclude students from going to databases not covered by WorldCat?
It's something that's already happening and it's not really affecting it much.

Is there an option to keep including more databases in worldcat? Yes. OCLC is looking into it. They are competing with Google and Google Scholar.

Ease of use and functionality for our users - students and faculty. We can send anyone to Google but the research functionality is what we can add to searching. What will be doing that Google can not do?
We're interested in doing things that Google can not do. Where will researchers go is what we'll find out in user testing. We'll have to find out if researchers dislike OCLC and if they do, why. OCLC is only replacing Melvyl, not local OPACs available where researchers may wind up going.

At UW, a researcher stumbled upon a Ayurvedic video in WorldCat, can you get this for me? He was pretty happy. He found it once a long time ago and was never able to find it again until he tried WorldCat so perhaps WorldCat can be a big win. It's not going to work for every researcher but there will be researchers who will be able to use WorldCat.

One of the questions we need to find out is where they start right now in their research. Do they go to Melvyl? Do they go to their local OPACs? Quite a few people seem to go to Amazon according to one survey at Merced? Humanities and Soc Sci are more likely to start in catalog as opposed to the Science faculty. Most seem to also start more in Google Scholar as opposed to OPACs.

We also need to look at special collections and music collections in terms of the needs of our researchers.

How has the level of requests for on order and in process materials changed since they no longer are in local OPAC at UW.
Bill doesn't know but Jackie can tell you.

What are the implications of OCLC deciding not to publish certain information in records.
The broad universe of users found that info is not useful. Some of the bibliographic details are important to faculty and researchers. OCLC is trying to balance this still.

In the assessment of FRBRization it came up in passing in a usability test but the test was created badly. They thought they would search by title but searched by date instead and their item came right up. In Frbr, the local info doesn't go to the top which makes it confusing in searching for specific edition.

Why the implementation before the UC eLinks are ready? It goes to trying a new perpetual data and getting used to not having a perfect product. We've delayed the pilot several times and if we kept delaying, we'd never get there. There was an executive decision made. There is a backdoor way of requesting that looks totally different but there will be a way to request items.

Will Melvyl go away once WorldCat pilot goes live?
No. And we're assuming that all campuses place WorldCat will be placed on the front page and Melvyl hidden somewhere else so that people will be more likely to use WorldCat and we'll be able to get more feedback about it. Melvyl as it exists now will be run for another 2 years after WorldCat pilot goes live.

Which campuses will go live first?
UCSD and UCLA will go first but every single campus will have a local view and then there will be a UC-wide view.

What if WorldCat doesn't fly after 2 years. The consensus is we aren't getting everything we wanted in the BSTF report. Has there been discussion about a Plan B?
We can always go back to the Aleph platform. We'll keep Melvyl up and running and we'll proceed from there. We can go back to Melvyl or find another project. CDL keeps their eye on other new interesting projects that come up - Georgia Pines or Indeca and other projects - and we'll still have a Melvyl team and UC will come back together and decide what to do next.

There was never a promise that we'd get everything we wanted in the BSTF report. There is also not a product out there that would give us everything we wanted.

Aleph is also limited in terms of what we want it to do and that is why there is so much exploration going on right now.

Bill mentioned materials that are not going to be in WorldCat pilot. What percentage of stuff isn't going to be in the pilot?
15% of our records do not have an OCLC record number. That's quite a significant amount of record clean ups.

Frequently I have students where we go into databases with UCeLinks. If it says the article is not available online but we do have online access to this journal, often I will tell them to go to Melvyl to go look for it. Will that kind of linking information going to be available in the pilot?

You will see that screen that will tell you if it's available online. The functionalities will be the same. The screens might not look exactly the same but you will be able to link through t the article.

Has OCLC been able to provide data about just how much the tools are being used?
Some of the Web 2.0 stuff isn't being used. It'll be interesting to see what will happen when one person posts a review and then others feel more comfortable to do use it.

What are your plans for special collections and archival materials.
It's still very much in discussion. They're still tinkering with the tags available for records. It's be nice to see them turn it all on, and most users won't go down that far anyway, and some will. Right now we're telling them to use our local catalog because it's better.

Looking into a transactional log of the WorldCat catalog and see how people are doing searches. Can you give us details about how people are doing their searches and their successes/failures?

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