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About Melvyl

Melvyl is the discovery platform for the UC Libraries. Melvyl, powered by WorldCat Discovery, offers seamless connection to the larger research world – the ability to search 800 million+ items from research institutions throughout the world.

Campus Link to Melvyl
San Diego
San Francisco
Santa Barbara
Santa Cruz

What’s in Melvyl?

WorldCat contains bibliographic records, holdings records, and links to publications, but not the actual publications. The content WorldCat indexes and shows in search results includes, but is not limited to:

  • Ebooks: OCLC member libraries catalog and contribute bibliographic records. WorldCat gets bibliographic records for public domain eBooks from sources such as the Google Books Project.
  • Special collections:  Leading institutional repositories and archives, such as OAIster and ArchiveGrid, contribute bibliographic records for their unique collections to OCLC.
  • Open Access content: Repositories contribute bibliographic records for their open access content to OCLC, including HathiTrust, Google Books, OAIster, NDLTD: the Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations, and Online Archive of California (OAC).
  • Databases (“Central Index”): OCLC negotiates with content providers and publishers, such as EBSCO, Gale, and ProQuest, to include their bibliographic records for indexing in WorldCat. Libraries must license a database before it can be activated in Central Index.

Who controls what users see in search results?

  • Ebooks (OCLC controls)
  • Special collections (OCLC controls)
  • Open Access content (OCLC controls)
  • Databases (CDL controls)

Why is Melvyl so difficult to spell?

Melvyl is named after Melvil Dewey, the library pioneer who invented the Dewey Decimal System. The name “MELVYL” was an inside joke. In 1977 when Melvyl was first developed, software names often had a Y. The predecessors to Melvyl were ORVYL and WYLBUR, so the developers used the same naming convention (changing an “i” to a “y”) and named the system after Melvil Dewey, the most well-known innovator in library science. Read  Stephen Salmon’s first-hand history on the birth of Melvyl.