OCLC on January 22 announced WorldCat Discovery Services (WDS), a suite of cloud-based applications that combines FirstSearch and WorldCat Local. Beginning in March, the suite will offer FirstSearch subscribers access to a central index that represents nearly 2,000 e-content collections containing articles, ebooks, and other content from providers including EBSCO, Gale, and ProQuest. In total, WDS will enable the discovery of 1.3 billion electronic, digital, and physical resources in libraries around the world, using a single search.
There is great hope that these rapidly maturing discovery products will not only promote information literacy strategies but also deliver what metasearch (or federated search) has failed to achieve—a Google-like interface that provides a fast, single point of entry to an institution’s relevant and vetted scholarly content. However, at the moment, even as libraries are struggling to reestablish themselves as a compelling place to start research, the three constituencies—libraries, content providers, and discovery service vendors—cannot even agree on a common vocabulary to describe what they do.