February 6, 2016

OCLC App Makes Connections

OCLC announced a clever new prototype online app yesterday called the WorldCat Identities Network, which creates a visual web connecting people, fictional characters, or corporations in the WorldCat Identities database.

The project, led by OCLC Research user interface designer JD Shipengrover, uses the WorldCat Search API to help create the maps, which can be used by patrons to visually browse the many items related to their favorite authors. (WorldCat links are plentifully supplied as the patron explores.) It’s an appealing way to encourage catalog browsing.

It can also be used to play a literary game of “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.” A blog post announcing the app uses the example of linking Jane Austen to Aldous Huxley (it’s Jane Austen to George Eliot, George Eliot to Henry James, Henry James to Joseph Conrad, Joseph Conrad to D.H. Lawrence, and D.H. Lawrence to Aldous Huxley).

Sometimes the connections are surprising: after a few minutes of browsing, I managed to link Thomas Pynchon and Tom Cruise. Definitely worth a look.

David Rapp About David Rapp

David Rapp (drapp@mediasourceinc.com) was formerly Associate Editor, LJ.

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