WorldCat shows dispersal of global resources

Number of institutions with WorldCat holdings for Arabic-language resources

Number of institutions with WorldCat holdings for Arabic-language resources

A differentiating feature of WorldCat is that it includes more than two billion holdings of libraries from around the world. My colleague Roy Tennant recently generated statistics on the Arabic-language resources described in WorldCat records. I was struck by the dispersal of the holdings of those materials, as shown in the map above.

Big caveat: Many strong Arabic-language collections are under-represented or not represented at all in WorldCat. Even so, we can see at a glance that Arabic-language materials are collected by institutions in countries far away from the counties of origin, even where Arabic is not widely spoken. Scholarship is international. We could produce similar maps for other language materials.

My colleague Brian Lavoie’s report earlier this year, Not Scotch, but Rum: The Scope and Diffusion of the Scottish Presence in the Published Record, describes in detail his analysis of holdings for materials published in Scotland, by Scottish people, and about Scotland. It concludes, “Most holdings of materials in the Scottish national presence are by institutions outside Scotland, which reminds us that a national presence in the published record may be primarily manifested outside the home country’s borders.”  

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About Karen Smith-Yoshimura

Karen Smith-Yoshimura, program officer, works on topics related to renovating descriptive and organizing practices with a focus on large research libraries and area studies requirements.

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