Reimagined offers an improved user experience, more ways to engage, and better connections to libraries from where people start their searches

OCLC expands web visibility subscription options to improve impact and exposure for more libraries worldwide.

OCLC introduced a new According to the press release,  this “is part of OCLC’s commitment to increase access to libraries and their collections, and to help expand their impact”. In a second press release, OCLC said, “From an updated technology infrastructure to a contemporary search interface and a wealth of additional user-centric features, the new site meets the needs of information seekers from academic researchers to those looking for their next vacation read.”

A refresh was definitely needed, since the WorldCat site hadn’t changed much since its introduction in 2006. Particularly important was making it mobile-friendly, since that’s how more and more people, particularly younger ones, search for information.

The redesign reflects OCLC’s commitment to making libraries and their extensive collections more visible. In an extensive survey with 7,000 responses, OCLC found that users of WorldCat were readers (50%), learners (40%), and librarians (10%). Their key goal was—and this is probably not surprising—was to find a book. Thus, the redesign was aimed at making it easier to find those books, not just for those who start a search at WorldCat but also at partner sites, such as Goodreads, Google, and Google Books. OCLC wanted particularly to encourage list creation and sharing, provide libraries with tools to promote local collections, and improve discovery and fulfillment of local library e-resources.

This is not a sudden change: OCLC began demonstrating the new site at the Public Library Association Conference in March 2022, and has conducted extensive beta testing with librarians since then.

The new offers all formats of library resources, including those that are open access, and highlights the materials that are closest to searchers. There have been some geolocation glitches in the initial rollout, but OCLC is aware of this and working on fixing them. Plus, searchers can change their location if they are traveling and want materials in a library close to where they are at the moment.

The site is very colorful, with topic pages, curated book lists, and popular user lists. The search box has a Google look-and-feel. Advanced search is available by clicking on the icon to the right of the search box. Search results show library holdings ranked by distance under Featured libraries. Filters exist for format, edition, and distance. Click the Borrow button for more information. The All libraries option lists libraries near the searcher location but contain no links. To be listed under Featured libraries, a library must have a cataloging and a FirstSearch/WorldCat Discovery subscription, which was the situation in the older iteration of WorldCat as well.

OCLC believes that the new tools and resources will help libraries stand out and promote what they have to offer to their communities. A library information page features locally relevant information, such as recent additions to collections, links to the catalog, access to library card request forms, and directions to physical locations. Library staff can also easily create and share lists that highlight a library’s areas of expertise and unique materials.

OCLC offers several subscription options for libraries to make their collections more visible on the web.   

To ensure more libraries are represented in, OCLC is also introducing a basic institution listing for all libraries that maintain an OCLC cataloging subscription. This listing displays the library’s name, city, state/province, and country on items for which they have holdings in WorldCat.

For those who wish to comment on the redesign, OCLC has a feedback site that it is monitoring closely.