OCLC’s project to develop a Web-based, national public library catalogue in the UK has now been made available to a selection of pilot institutions. Over the next two months a small group of libraries will have the opportunity to review the catalogue, and feedback on things such as data quality and overall user experience.
The customised union catalogue has been developed in conjunction with The Combined Regions (TCR) and is based on holdings indexed in WorldCat. The catalogue provides a view of the nine million holdings contributed by the 149 local authorities that currently subscribe to UnityUK. UnityUK is the UK's nationwide network for resource sharing that around 80 per cent of British public libraries participate in.
As part of this initial roll-out, pilot institutions will help refine the catalogue by providing input in areas including user experience and completeness of holdings data. By subscribing, these libraries contribute details of items they wish to make available for inter-lending. One of the main objectives of the pilot is to establish what additional data will be needed in order to improve holdings coverage and provide a credible national catalogue experience for the public.