Monday, October 03, 2005

WorldCat adding a Reviews Wiki

Seen on the LibrarianInBlack blog: WorldCat apparently has a pilot project going in which users can add reviews to WorldCat records:

"Beginning in September, Open WorldCat users will be able to add content to WorldCat records using wikis. The pilot will give users the ability to add comments, see comments by others and add or edit other information they know about the record."

See the Wiki WorldCat Pilot for more information.

Do many patrons really use WorldCat? In my limited experience, it seems that librarians are pretty much the primary users. Will the librarians be the ones writing all the reviews? I don't want to sound anti-progress or anti-new technology, but we can already go to Amazon and others to get reviews. Is it really a feature WorldCat should offer? I wil be really interested to see the future success, usage, and overall benefits of this feature.


Stacy said...

I think this sounds like a good idea.

I know that, in Va., we were dependent on WorldCat for ALL our ILL functions (unlike you lucky OhioLink ppl). So, in cases like that, WorldCat actually sees quite a bit of use by library patrons. It also could help the user decide if the book's worth ILLing based on the reviews, making the reviews section a major plus for patrons and libraries.

Also, the more we can make WorldCat look like the well-known (and liked) Amazon, the more likely our users can use AND understand it. User-friendly = good thing! :o)

Recreating the wheel (aka Amazon) may seem crazy at first, but considering users aren't cross-reference Amazon with library catalogs (at least, not in my experience), it could have some value.

Kat said...

You are very right, Stacy. I do take for granted that I work in the "library utopia" known as Ohio (to use a phrase used by a Prof in library school). We use WorldCat for ILLs but since so many books are available through OhioLINK, we rarely resort to WorldCat. And the patron can't place requests through WorldCat - they have to fill out a form and then the lovely librarian (me) or the lovely library student worker places the request.

I definitely see the benefit of reviews in WorldCat for those who don't have access to OhioLINK or a similar consortia and therefore see a much greater number of ILLs. And I'm glad you pointed it out to me, because, as the librarian in charge of ILL at my institution, this is something I should be aware of.

Plus, making WorldCat more like Amazon is probably a good thing. Databases are being changed to resemble Google's one search box option, so the next step is to emulate Amazon. The more we can make it appeal to the user, the better. Library users like those things that look familiar. :)