WorldCat has been doing lots of great things lately to allow it’s users (that’s us, library people) to use their data. The WorldCat API is a great thing to investigate because it gives you lots of control over the bibliographic data that gets displayed. It also takes some time and programming skills to make good use of it though.
For those looking for a simpler solution, WorldCat has a few simple Widgets that can easily be embedded in a web page. In this post, we’ll look at WorldCat’s list widget as a way to quickly and easily display a collection of books (and possibly other materials) on a web page.
First things first. You need a WorldCat account. You already have one, right? If not, create one here (and shame on you!).
Creating lists in WorldCat
After you have an account and have logged in at worldcat.org, you have everything you need to start creating a list other than the list itself. Here’s what to do next:
- Decide what you want to make a list of.
- Search for things related to that topic. (I’m going to make a list of books about APIs).
- Click to view the record for an item you want to add to your list.
- Above the item title, you’ll notice a small link that says “Add to list”. Click it.
- In the pop-up box, you can either create a new list or use an existing list. (I’m creating a new list call ‘API books’.)
- If you’re creating a new list, you’ll have to repeat steps 4 and 5 and choose the list you’ve just created.
- If you’re successful, you’ll see a confirmation message at the top of the screen.
- Repeat steps 2 through 6 until you have added everything you want.
The list widget: first steps
Now you’re ready to turn your list into a widget! You need one important piece of information about your list before we can do this though: the list id.
- Choose ‘My Lists’ from the ‘My WorldCat’ menu
- Select the list that you wish to use
- Note the number at the end of the URL for your list
- This number is your list id
- My lists URL is http://www.worldcat.org/profiles/mulcahey99/lists/1386546, so my list id is 1386546
- Jot this down somewhere where you can find it again
The list widget: finally!
Okay. Now we’re ready to finally make our widget.
- Start by heading to the widgets section of worldcat.org.
- Choose ‘WorldCat list widget’. (At some point, be sure to check out the other widgets and tools WorldCat offers.)
- Copy and paste the provided code into your web page using your favorite HTML editor.
- Replace the part of the code that says **listId** with your list’s ID.
- View the beautiful results! http://pages.towson.edu/ddahl/worldcatwidget.html
Any additional items you decide to add to your list will automatically (magically?) show up in your WorldCat List widget.
Use it to add some dynamic content and interactivity to your research guides, post it on your personal site to let people know what you’re reading, or help a faculty member create a list of suggested readings for a course.
Addendum: WorldCat Local
If you’re lucky enough to have WorldCat Local at your institution, you can insert this information and direct users to your WorldCat Local implementation rather than the general WorldCat.org. You’ll need to add this to the URL in the <script> tag.
For instance, at Towson, our WorldCat Local URL is http://www.towsonuniversity.worldcat.org. So, in my URL, I need to add &myLocal=towsonuniversity.
The resulting code would look like this: