November 23, 2017

Tagging Added to WorldCat.org

By Josh Hadro

  • Logged-in users can add an unlimited number of their own tags to any item retrievable by the WorldCat.org search engine
  • New tags will not interfere with official library cataloging of an item

The OCLC WorldCat.org team has certainly been busy: in addition to working with Google to display embedded book content right from the catalog’s web interface and developing an iPhone-specific WorldCat web site, they’ve also been hard at work integrating item tagging functionality into the catalog feature set as well. Now, logged-in users can add an unlimited number of their own tags to any item retrievable by the WorldCat.org search engine.

However, in contrast to the user-added tagging features in OPAC interface replacements like SOPAC 2.0 and BiblioCommons, tags added to items on WorldCat.org have no effect on search results. Moreover, tags are currently only discoverable through the “tags” tab of an item record, or through a user’s profile (one trick for searching tags is to append the desired tag phrase to the end of this URL: worldcat.org/tags/).

Bob Robertson-Boyd, OCLC product manager social networking, told LJ that the company is waiting for a critical mass of tags to be added before factoring them into the search results: “we want [the tag data set] to grow large enough to make it useful for users.” When that happens, OCLC may consider adding tags as another advanced search option, or featuring tag results as part of the faceted browsing on WordCat’s search results page.

OCLC is also careful to stress that “new tags will not interfere with ‘official’ library cataloging of an item” and are not tied directly to the main WorldCat.org index. “At this point, this is an end user tool as opposed to a librarian’s tool or a staff tool,” Robertson-Boyd added.

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