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THE Library Catalog for the World: Any day now, Worldcat will make its online catalog available to anyone with an Internet connection. This is OCLC’s pride and joy (they do other things worthy of accolade too). The bittersweet side of this is that OCLC’s founder, Frederick Kilgour, just died this week at age 92.

For biblio-wonks: This Worldcat news is bigger and better than you might even imagine, as librarians the world over know. One of the biggest drawbacks to conventional Internet search engines is that they allow for very limited and very crude field searching, but then they are search engines, not databases. (Now if only they could direct my search results into a database that could be manipulated … well, never mind.) For example, try limiting your Google search by date (no, not the Saturday night kind). It’s impossible to get the desired results, which is frustrating for those of us used to searching databases that allow for complex field searching, e.g. most library catalogs and full-service databases such as Dialog, Lexis, and Westlaw.

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