DUBLIN, Ohio -- January 21, 2009. OCLC, the world’s largest library cooperative, has launched a pilot program to make collections from libraries visible through mobile devices. The WorldCat Mobile pilot allows users to search for and find books and other materials available in libraries near them through a Web application they can access from a PDA or smartphone.
The pilot is based on WorldCat.org, the world’s largest online resource for finding information in libraries. Advanced global positioning capabilities found in many smartphones and PDAs make it possible for users to find local library materials no matter where they happen to be. Users can even get a Google Maps view of the library location along with detailed driving instructions if the mobile device supports the application.
The pilot will gather data to inform and help shape future mobile access to WorldCat.org. The pilot is now available in the United States and Canada and is expected to last six months.
"People are using their mobile phones today as if they were hand-held computers," said Cindy Cunningham, OCLC Director of Partner Programs. "OCLC wants to make sure that libraries are where people are seeking information. The WorldCat Mobile pilot will help us to gauge the kind of interest people have in accessing library information from their mobile phones—wherever they may be."
The WorldCat Mobile pilot allows users to:
- Search for library materials by entering search terms such as title, keywords or author
- Find a WorldCat library nearby by entering a ZIP, postal code or location in the Libraries Locator
- Call a library by highlighting and clicking the phone number in a library listing to place a call
- Map a route to find the fastest way to a WorldCat library using the mapping software already on a mobile device
To participate in the WorldCat Mobile pilot, go to www.worldcat.org/mobile to find more information about the pilot and links for downloading WorldCat Mobile to the device of your choice. Using a supported mobile device, download the application at www.worldcat.org/m.
A brief demonstration of how to use the WorldCat Mobile pilot can be found at www.boopsie.com/home/worldcat.wmv.
"This pilot program will be most successful with plenty of feedback from the library community—and from end users," said Ms. Cunningham. OCLC is seeking feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The WorldCat Mobile pilot complements the recently released experimental WorldCat iPhone web app, built with the WorldCat Search API.
The pilot also uses some data from the WorldCat Registry, a comprehensive directory for libraries and consortia and the services they provide.
OCLC worked with mobile-technology provider Boopsie to develop this pilot, and joined a growing list of search "channels" that allow users to quickly access popular Web applications including Google, Wikipedia and Facebook; look up retail locations such as Starbucks and FedEx; and check news, weather and traffic reports on mobile devices.
About Boopsie, Inc.
Based in Laguna Beach, California, the Boopsie Mobile Find Platform was built to leverage the latest capabilities of mobile phones. The company’s patent-pending technology uses a Smart Prefix text entry system to quickly find exactly what users are seeking. For content publishers, Boopsie provides a brand-friendly environment that creates mobile ready versions of their Web offerings in real time. For more information, visit: www.boopsie.com/.
Founded in 1967 and headquartered in Dublin, Ohio, OCLC is a nonprofit library service and research organization that has provided computer-based cataloging, reference, resource sharing, eContent, preservation, library management and Web services to 69,000 libraries in 112 countries and territories. OCLC and its member libraries worldwide have created and maintain WorldCat, the world’s richest online resource for finding library materials. Search WorldCat on the Web at www.worldcat.org. For more information about OCLC, visit www.oclc.org.