Westchester Library System Catalog Now Searchable on Popular Search Engines

The Westchester Library System (WLS) is pleased to announce that patrons can now view the library catalog records via basic browser searches. Patrons using popular search engines, like Google, Bing, and Yahoo!, can easily find the item catalog records in search engine results when they search for a title and include “Westchester Library System.” This exciting new tool makes catalog items more easily accessible to patrons in their homes or on mobile devices and more visible to individuals who are not active users of our libraries.

Our web accessibility is an exciting new development. Previously, library catalog records could not be found on search engines because library records, known as MARC records, cannot be read by search engine crawlers. MARC records contain rich, in-depth metadata for each library item. Unfortunately, MARC was designed before the popularization of the Internet, and is not compatible with web crawlers. Consequently, only the most basic record data, such as title and author, have been visible to the web. Our new web visibility library is a result of BLUEcloud Visibility, a tool created by our library software provider SirsiDynix. BLUEcloud Visibility transforms detailed library MARC records into BIBFRAME, a new type of library record that is compatible with search engines.

If you search for a title + Westchester Library System, you might find that results are not at the top of the search engine results returned. Library records are late in coming to the web, so it will take time for our records to make their way through the ranks and land at the top of your results list. Search engines, like Google, prefer reliable sources like libraries and sites that people visit more often, and over time we can expect to climb up the list. Eventually the gradual improvements in relevance will mean that engines will be able to deliver library catalog records without requiring that “Westchester Library System” is included in the search. Patrons will be able to simply search for a title and a search engine will pair the searcher’s geo-location with result data, delivering the same library results.

How you can help

You can help Westchester Library System improve search engine relevance by searching for us. Use Google, Bing, or Yahoo! to search for titles and follow the links to find and request your items. As more people show our resources to be popular and useful, search engines will respond by giving our results preference. Give us a search. We look forward to giving you results!

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