LOEX Conference Proceedings 2011

Document Type

Powerful Pedagogy: Teaching Techniques that Work

Publication Date



This presentation discusses a recent study examining how WorldCat Local impacts library instruction. WorldCat Local is a library catalog discovery layer offered by OCLC. It has proven popular with academic libraries since its initial launch in 2008. This system is not merely a more flexible catalog interface, however; rather, it provides users with simplified search capabilities and access to multiple types of resources such as articles drawn from databases as well as catalog records drawn from an OPAC. Thus, WorldCat Local can be characterized as a meta-search system. Meta-search systems have long been at the center of a debate in library instruction contexts. This debate centers on the question of whether such systems ultimately help or hinder students' successful acquisition of information literacy skills and concepts.

The study revealed that librarians are struggling to adapt this radically different resource to existing teaching schemas, with mixed results. Librarians whose institutions have implemented, or which may implement WorldCat Local or another meta-search system will benefit by learning of the experiences, pedagogical approaches, and concerns of librarians who teach varied patron populations using this tool. Because adapting to new resources requires considerable experimentation and reflection, attendees will learn from the experiences of others and will gain a sense of how WorldCat Local can support information literacy. The presentation will additionally focus upon suggested teaching methods for harnessing the advantages of this resource and will discuss emerging best practice for teaching with WorldCat Local.