At work this week, I have been immersed in working with some of OCLC's new (relatively new) products for searching WorldCat through Internet Explorer and Firefox. The Yahoo! toolbar and the plug-ins for Firefox are really cool. You can search for material in WorldCat directly from the toolbars - and then check availability at local libraries. You can order your results by zip code, state, province or country. The software then retains the choice you made. The records link directly to local library catalogs. This seems to be a very useful tool. I hope to be able to sit down with our reference librarians to show them. I can't wait to play around with the project to display WorldCat holdings using Google Maps. This integration has some great possibilities.
I think these are some exciting trends in the evolution of bibliographic records. There are definitely some issues. I discovered that when searching by ISBN for a title that I knew was in our library catalog, a link to our catalog wasn't displayed in the Libraries tab. After a great deal of frustration, I discovered that there were several editions listed in the Editions tab. I had to go back to my library's OPAC to figure out which edition we had. When I clicked on the correct edition, the link to my libraries copy in our OPAC did show up. This was very confusing. An average user probably would not have looked beyond the libraries tab. However, I think these OCLC projects have some exciting possibilities.