WorldCat Identities

I’m really enjoying the “Identities” page on WorldCat. As you might remember, back in 2003 the library service opened up its records to the web (previously only those at subscribing libraries could see the results). I never noticed it before, but their Identities service pulls together lots of useful information about well known people, such as what the most popular works about them are, names of related people, etc.

I really like the “publication timeline” which shows how many works by and about the author were published in each year (also differentiating between works they published while living and posthumous publications). Here is the chart for Clifford Geertz:

Publication Timeline for Geertz (via WolrdCat)

And here is their tag-cloud for the top American anthropologists by number of holdings in libraries:

Top Anthropologists-USA (worldcat)

The service is still in beta, but as it grows I can see it being an excellent supplement to Google Books and Wikipedia, especially for getting a handle on a new author you might never have heard of.

For your reference, here are the pages for Lévi-Strauss and Franz Boas. (It would be nice to see a cleaner permalink structure for linking to individual entries.)

(Thanks to Ilya for letting me know about Identities. He also links to this blog entry by one of the developers.)

2 thoughts on “WorldCat Identities

  1. How did you search for top American anthropologists? (I can follow you link but don’t know what other similar pages are there)

  2. Dave, I think if you happen to find someone who is in a particular category the site will offer you the category link; but I don’t know any way to find a list of the categories. (The site isn’t responding at the moment so I can’t look.)

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