A good day for the standards development backchannel: COinS in Worldcat

Lorcan Dempsey's weblog brings the good news:

"On March 12, 2006 OCLC added COinS to its Open WorldCat web pages. COinS is an acronym that stands for Context Objects in Spans, which represent a standardized way to embed citation metadata into a web page."

If you're not familiar with WorldCat:

"WorldCat is a worldwide union catalog created and maintained collectively by more than 9,000 member institutions. With millions of online records built from the bibliographic and ownership information of contributing libraries, it is the largest and most comprehensive database of its kind."

Further down the page it notes that WorldCat comprises "61 million quality records and counting".

That's a whole lotta COinS.

What this means, more practically speaking, is that people-at-large can go from :

  1. A tweaked google search: google: find in a library origin of species, to
  2. a worldcat page for the book, and
  3. if they have a COinS bookmarklet or greasemonkey userscript, they can go right to
  4. their own library for a copy

Hmm... I know, it's not perfect. But it's a lot better.