02 February 2013

OCLC and FamilySearch Partner Up -- WorldCat Just Continues to Get Better

This is exciting news!  And, I can’t believe that we haven’t blogged explicitly about WorldCat before!  It is an incredible resource for genealogists!

First part of the press release and then let’s talk a bit about why WorldCat is such a great resource to anyone doing research.

DUBLIN, Ohio, January 31, 2013—OCLC and FamilySearch International, the largest genealogy organization in the world, have signed an agreement that will enrich WorldCat and FamilySearch services with data from both organizations to provide users with more resources for improved genealogy research.

Under this new partnership, OCLC will incorporate data from FamilySearch’s catalog of genealogical materials into WorldCat, and FamilySearch will use OCLC cataloging services to continue to catalog its collections in WorldCat. FamilySearch will also use the WorldCat Search API to incorporate WorldCat results into search results returned by FamilySearch genealogy services...

WorldCat is a great resource!  I use it all the time to identify books (and other media) that might have relevance to my current research project – abstracted records (county, state, religious, newspaper, etc), church or community histories, family histories, etc.  Then I use it to determine “where” the found item of interest is – hopefully in the State Library of North Carolina.  If not held locally, I then determine where it is held and then I either use interlibrary loan (ILL) or see if a library which has a copy will copy select pages or provide some other means to access the content!  

For example, I searched on “Wake County” court.  This search brought up a bunch of published abstracts which I was aware of.  Additionally, it brought up a book published by the Wake County Genealogical Society.  Though this book is available locally, it is not able to be accessed through ILL.  I’ve always just assumed someone would need to buy the book if they could not get to a “local” library.  Well, I learned that copies of the book are held by at least 8 libraries including the Mid-Continent (Missouri) and Fort Worth (TX) libraries.  This is neat to know since I can now guide those who want to access and not purchase this book to these other repositories.  

This is why I find WorldCat invaluable.  One place where I am able to examine what is held by a lot of libraries!  With the new partnership with FamilySearch, instead of independently going to WorldCat and the FamilySearch catalog, which is something I am always doing, I will now be able to go to one place and search both!  Identifying genealogical and historical research material just keeps getting easier!

Are you in love with WorldCat as much as I am?  What has been your best “find” using it?

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  1. World Cat found 4 boxes of family journals, records sermons and other papers for me. I had some family information that referred to the Taylor Family Papers. I wasn't sure there was such a thing, but about ten years ago I placed a request with my own library for "Taylor Family Papers." They reported to me, having searched the World Cat, that the Bentley Historical Library at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor had something by this name. I called the library because Taylor is a very common surname and, indeed these were records from my family.

    Journals my great grandmother kept from the age of 16 that describe life of the time, the courtship of my great grandfather of her and her decision finally to marry him
    Five years worth of letters sent by her son from the Philippines, very descriptive of the places where he worked and visited, where he had gone to teach

    Letters that describe what a difficult woman her mother was (She came to visit and went about town defaming Lizzie's new husband, as an example.)

    A marriage license for Lizzie's father for a prior marriage I hadn't known existed

    Stories my great grandfather wrote describing his childhood in frontier Michigan.

    My sister and I have made three week-long trips to this library to read & copy these records. My sister has written a book, using these records, to describe daily life in the mid-nineteenth century. I have not only a family tree, but an understanding of who all these people were and how they lived.

  2. Whenever I want to locate anything that has been referenced in something I'm reading I go to OCLC. Sometimes I'm really lucky and find that whatever I'm searching for is available at one of my local libraries; sometimes the closest library is only an hour away; sometimes I need to make use of ILL (Houston, TX, is really not exactly next door to Orlando, FL!); but very seldom has OCLC let me down. I recommend it to everyone I talk to who does genealogy. And now that OCLC and Family Search will be working in conjunction with each other--definitely reason for "the genealogy happy dance"!

  3. I was able to find family bible records housed at the State Library of Virginia. They had digitized them and the link came up after a family name search. This is a great way to find out about digital collections.

  4. recent post about a neat and newer feature of worldcat, Research Tip: Making lists in the WorldCat Library Catalog, http://lit.blogs.bucknell.edu/2013/02/20/research-tip-making-lists-in-the-worldcat-library-catalog/