Web users can now search the catalogs of more than 10,000 libraries worldwide through WorldCat.org, a site that offers a downloadable search box to allow access to the world’s largest database and resource for discovery of materials held in libraries.

The search box can be downloaded from the WorldCat.org site to library Web sites, museum sites, genealogy sites, book club sites, blogs or any other site where Web searchers would benefit from access to the collections of the world’s libraries.

WorldCat connects libraries of all types and sizes, from giant research libraries to small public libraries around the world. It enables people to find what they’re looking for in library collections irrespective of where they are located.

“This is an important step forward for the OCLC cooperative,” said Jay Jordan, OCLC President and CEO. “Collections in OCLC member institutions are now visible on the Web to people everywhere. WorldCat.org leverages the investment these institutions have made in their catalogs. It’s an incomparable resource available to everyone.”

WorldCat was created in 1971 and is maintained by OCLC Online Computer Library Center, the world’s largest library cooperative, and its member libraries that use information from and contribute to the database for cataloging and interlibrary loan.

As the world’s largest computerized library catalog, WorldCat includes not only entries from large institutions such as the Library of Congress, the British Library, the National Library of Finland and Singapore National Library, but also from small public libraries, art museums and historical societies. WorldCat contains descriptions of library materials and their locations. The database provides access to the electronic full text of some articles and books as well as images and sound recordings. It spans 4,000 years of recorded knowledge. Every 10 seconds a library adds a new record to WorldCat. (Watch the WorldCat database grow in real time at http://www.oclc.org/worldcat/grow.htm.)

Today, WorldCat contains more than 70 million entries for books and other materials and more than 1 billion location listings for these materials in libraries around the world.

Since 2003, WorldCat records have been made available to popular search engines such as Google and Yahoo! through the OCLC Open WorldCat program, which is intended to make information from libraries more visible on the Web. WorldCat.org, which is now available in beta form, makes the entire WorldCat database available to anyone interested in searching just the content of libraries. Through WorldCat.org, users can access other services from some participating libraries such as interlibrary loan or online reference help from library professionals.

“WorldCat.org complements our other efforts to provide WorldCat records to search engines and other sites through the Open WorldCat program,” said Chip Nilges, Vice President, OCLC New Services. “OCLC is helping Web searchers find what they’re looking for in libraries, whether they are led to libraries through search engines or through WorldCat.org.”

Try WorldCat.org from the site: http://www.worldcat.org/.

Find out more about the downloadable search box: http://www.worldcat.org/wcpa/servlet/org.oclc.lac.affiliate.GetSearchBox.