Michael Rücker: how to create a global OPAC?

Something I find very interesting and worth investigating is the unification of search engines and databases. It’s a utopia, but what I want is a single search interface for all libraries and article databases worldwide. Is that even possible? Does it have disadvantages? What would you have to do (in theory) to accomplish something like that?

Michael Rücker

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  1. Interesting topic. I’d claim, that we have that global “database platform” already: It is the web. We just need to bring library holdings to the web, not through broken OPACs and Discovery Interfaces (which have HTML interfaces, but are usually not full part of the web), but in a way, so they are usuable by everyone for any purpose. So basically: Bring library data to the web, and more specific: Not so much bibliographic descriptions, but holding and availability data. Discovery then can happen in that global “database” where discovery happens anyway: the web. Using standard web tools (like web search engines).
    The approach in libraryland is usually to build more and more “central search portals”, but usually they fail, for technical and “political” reasons. Ok, OCLC’s WorldCat tries the same and hasn’t died yet, but it is again a very closed silo and when I look at the technical processes we use to update data in WorldCat: That’s just totally broken…
    I think a distributed approach (like the web) might work and scale better.

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