Using WorldCat Grid Services in Library Applications — Access 2008

Roy Tennant
OCLC Research
Grid Services — a set of APIs to access WorldCat data. It’s not for human consumption, but for machine-to-machine communication. We’ll talk about a few services, with a few demos.
Many of APIs — OCLC’s and other’s — are collected at TechEssence.
These APIs are available for free to all OCLC member institutions.

Identifier Services (xISBN, xISSN)

xISBN If you have a book ISBN, OCLC will return a list of all the related works (in a FRBR sense) to that book. It’s a way to find a different edition, a different version, of the same book that might be in your catalog. Particularly helpful if someone comes into your catalog via Amazon or another bookseller — such as via the LibX Toolbar.
xISSN If you give this tool an ISSN, it sends back a chart showing the history of that ISSN in all its splits, merges, renamings, and everything else that has happened. Example.

Registry Services (Institution Registry)

Any institution can enter information for itself in this registry. It includes all sorts of things — hours, administrative contacts, root URLs for link resolvers, OPAC, and so forth. The WorldCat Registry also has an API.

Experimental Services (Terminologies, Metadata Crosswalk)

Terminology Search for terms (broader, narrower, related) in various taxonomies: FAST, LCSH, MeSH, etc.).

WorldCat Search API

This is the flagship OCLC API, released in August 2008 after an 8-month beta/test period. More than 80 institutions are signed up to use it. There are 110 million records, representing 1.3 billion holdings. This API supports OpenSearch and SRU. Responses come back in flavors of XML: RSS, Atom, MARC21 XML, and Dublin Core. JSON may be coming soon. It’s RESTful. Many indexes. Sorts by relevance, author, title, date, libraries that hold it. It can return standard citations (APA, Chicago, Turabian, MLA, Harvard).