So here’s the thing. Like many reference librarians, I use WorldCat all the time. And like many reference librarians, I use the FirstSearch version a lot for advanced features and more seamless integration with our local collections than WorldCat.org can offer. For instance, I love the “Advanced Options” under “More Like This” that lets me pick and choose which parts of the metadata were relevant to me and do a more advanced search on just those elements. And sure, the FirstSearch display is a little overwhelming, but part of what makes FirstSearch good for professionals is the huge amount of information displayed for each record. We’re used to the display, so it’s not a problem for us, and often I skim through all that information and learn a whole lot about an item in a very short amount of time. Besides, my eyes are trained to take in what I want from that interface and leave the rest. I know where on the page the OCLC number lives, for example, so I only look at it if I want to.
One thing it doesn’t do well, though, is let me link to a specific record. I can’t send a link to a student and say “Here, this is the journal I was telling you about.” I can do this at WorldCat.org, though, and that’s a much better interface for students and faculty anyway. I wish there were a “link to this record” in FirstSearch, or at least a “View this record at WorldCat.org,” but since there isn’t, here’s what I do.
- Do all my behind-the-scenes advanced searching in FirstSearch (when appropriate).
- Find what I’m looking for.
- Do a little happy dance in my chair.
- Copy the OCLC number.
- Open a new tab and click the bookmark I’ve names “WorldCat Link Base.” This contains the base of WorldCat.org’s permanent URL. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/
- Paste the OCLC number onto the end of that URL and hit enter.
- Et Voila! Stable URL to the bibliographic record of whatever-it-is I wanted to send to somebody, complete with a friendly interface.