[Web4lib] Worldcat sidebar

Jakob Voss jakob.voss at gbv.de
Thu Nov 9 09:26:23 EST 2006

Karen Coyle wrote:

>> Unless I'm misunderstanding what you've said, WorldCat (both Open and
>> FirstSearch) returns old and odd items as well, and both provide the
>> ability to limit by date.  (In FirstSearch WorldCat, the "Limit
>> to:...Year" box; in Open WorldCat the Advanced Search page has a date
>> limit.)
> You can limit by date in the advanced search, but the sidebar only gives
> you a few of the dates for limiting. Since the header of the sidebar
> says: "Refine your search" it seems misleading. If you don't see your
> date or author there, you think they aren't in the retrieved set. (There
> should at least be a "more..." somewhere.) And I'm still trying to
> understand how that box gets populated.

I fully agree! Under "Years" it is:

    * 2000 (10)
    * 1993 (8)
    * 2003 (8)
    * 1996 (7)
    * 1991 (7)
    * 2002 (6)

With 211 hits in total. There should be a link

    * other (165)

That lets you crawl the list of years sorted by frequency or by year -
same with format, language etc. In fact you can already use more facet
values if you know them:


Providing a classification or thesaurus you can also give ranges, for
instance for language (european, asian...), year (1980s, 1990s...),
author (A-D, E-H,...).

> Note that the person who posted to the Google Books blog had not used an
> advanced search, and most people will not. In fact, the Worldcat results
> are probably "better" than the Google Books results because a wider
> range of materials was found (dates from 1907 to post-2000) and Worldcat
> does offer refinement. Yet, no one is posting rave reviews about
> Worldcat. Well, at least not that I know of.

Like shown in the example the WorldCat *results* are not always better -
the best catalouge by content is worthless if it's not good enough by
user interface. The new WorldCat interface is a big step forward but its
only the first step from old-fashioned OPACS into the league of modern
search engines.


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