Most titles are published only once—with no subsequent editions, no translations into other languages. At OCLC we refer to such titles as they appear in WorldCat as “singleton worksets.” And there are a lot of them.
How many? My colleague Jenny Toves provided statistics. WorldCat has 207 million worksets, and 80% are singletons. The accompanying pie chart shows the percentage of WorldCat worksets with one, two, three, four and five or more “manifestations” – those with various reproductions, editions, translations, etc.
That pie sliver for “five or more” manifestations masks that there are also huge worksets. Thirty-one thousand worksets in WorldCat include100 or more manifestations. Dante’s La Divina Commedia is the largest, with 6,875 manifestations. The snippet from the WorldCat display of Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress at the top of this blog post represents the fourth largest workset. Care to guess what works comprise the other eight of WorldCat’s Ten Largest Worksets?
Check your answers with the list below.
WorldCat’s Ten Largest Worksets
- La Divina Commedia by Dante Alighieri
- The Whole Book of Psalmes by John Hopkins, Thomas Sternhold
- The Life and Adventures of Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
- The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan
- The Vicar of Wakefield by Oliver Goldsmith
- Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained by John Milton
- Commentarii de bello Gallico by Julius Caesar
- Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
- Les Aventures de Télémaque by François de Salignac de La Mothe-Fénelon
- Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
Karen Smith-Yoshimura, senior program officer, works on topics related to creating and managing metadata with a focus on large research libraries and multilingual requirements.