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What’s happening with WorldCat Local, FirstSearch & WorldCat Discovery?

The WorldCat Discovery beta launched in April 30, 2014 and is currently slated to conclude at the end of July 2015. WorldCat Discovery merges WorldCat Local and FirstSearch on a new platform with major functional design improvements. While OCLC considers WorldCat Discovery “production ready” at this time, a few remaining WorldCat Local features have not yet been integrated into the WorldCat Discovery beta.


The CDL Melvyl Operations Team has been actively consulting with OCLC to ensure all WorldCat Local features will be integrated and fully functional in WorldCat Discovery before we set a date for UC libraries to switch Melvyl to the new platform. Ideally, campuses will make the switch from WorldCat Local and FirstSearch to WorldCat Discovery at the end of August 2015, in time for the fall term. This is a tentative date and it’s dependent on some development work forthcoming by OCLC. (update as of 6/23/15: The soonest date for the switch will be September which is dependent on development work being done in August. OCLC has not yet confirmed the date for this work. The Melvyl Operations Team will consult on timing with the appropriate UC libraries advisory group.)

What does it mean to make the switch?

Basically, it’s changing URLs. Campus library webmasters will replace the existing Melvyl URLs and quick search box code snippet for WorldCat Local and FirstSearch with the URLs for WorldCat Discovery on campus library websites. Additionally, campus library staff should help us spread the word to faculty, staff, and others who may have Melvyl or FirstSearch URLs on a department or course website, course management system, or bookmarked.

What happens to FirstSearch?

Although FirstSearch has been integrated into WorldCat Discovery and “live” since March 2014, we are timing our switch to WorldCat Discovery for FirstSearch and WorldCat Local to move at the same time. The Shared Cataloging Program (SCP) will update those FirstSearch URLS that use persistent identifiers (PIDs), so the library webmaster will not need to change the URLs if PIDs are used. CDL will provide URLs to link directly to individual databases (ArticleFirst, ERIC, MEDLINE, SCIPIO, etc.) Access to FirstSearch will end on December 31, 2015. Library webmasters will need to update the FirstSearch URLs to point to WorldCat Discovery before that time.

Melvyl Staff Accounts

CDL rolled out staff accounts in February 2015. With a Melvyl staff account, campus library staff can view MARC records, view the OCLC# on the brief record display, and search by library holding symbol. Your campus Melvyl Operations Liaison manages these accounts. See instructions on how to get a Melvyl staff account.

What will campuses need to do to switch to WorldCat Discovery?

  • When CDL announces the “cutover” date, change your Melvyl URLs that point to WorldCat Local to point to WorldCat Discovery anytime on or after the cutover date.
  • Change the code snippet for your website’s WorldCat Local quick search boxes to point to WorldCat Discovery.
  • FirstSearch: same as above for WorldCat Local.

In the meantime,

  1. Try WorldCat Discovery and report any problems directly to CDL at Use these links to WorldCat Discovery beta sites for each UC campus. For general feedback, click the “Tell us what you think!” button located at the bottom, right side of the Melvyl screen.
  2. Prepare to update your Melvyl and FirstSearch instructional materials. Specific details will be forthcoming later this summer.
  3. Get a Melvyl staff account. See above.

What happens if you don’t switch over?

CDL manages both products (WorldCat Local and WorldCat Discovery) through one OCLC configuration panel and some settings affect each product differently. This means CDL must configure the settings to favor the “live” product. Users may experience suboptimal behavior if they continue to use WorldCat Local after the UC libraries make the switch to WorldCat Discovery.

Looking ahead

We will ask the campuses to assist us in testing for WorldCat Discovery in mid June and again in late July/early August. CDL will continue to publish updates in CDLInfo News: Melvyl. Feel free to contact the CDL Melvyl Operations Team if you have any questions. We’ll provide more details and the new URLs as we get closer to the switch.

For the latest information, see the CDL WorldCat Discovery Beta website.