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BookWhere: Flagship Product for WebClarity

Smart Libraries Newsletter [December 2010]

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Copyright (c) 2010 ALA TechSource

Abstract: BookWhere facilitates copy cataloging through its ability to connect to other libraries’ automation systems as a Z39.50 client to find, select, and retrieve MARC records. Major targets for this product include the Library of Congress, the British Library, other national libraries, and thousands of other libraries with automation systems configured as Z39.50 servers. WebClarity has built and maintains a registry of over 2,800 targets representing a network of libraries offering MARC records through a Z39.50 service available to BookWhere users. All versions of BookWhere include access to this registry of MARC record sources.


BookWhere facilitates copy cataloging through its ability to connect to other libraries’ automation systems as a Z39.50 client to find, select, and retrieve MARC records. Major targets for this product include the Library of Congress, the British Library, other national libraries, and thousands of other libraries with automation systems configured as Z39.50 servers. WebClarity has built and maintains a registry of over 2,800 targets representing a network of libraries offering MARC records through a Z39.50 service available to BookWhere users. All versions of BookWhere include access to this registry of MARC record sources.

BookWhere operates in conjunction with any automation system capable of importing MARC records. Many libraries make use of BookWhere to support their copy cataloging operations; individual researchers and scholars make use of BookWhere to create their personal bibliographies, populating reference management tools such as EndNote, Reference Manager, ProCite, Nota Bene’s Ibidem, and others.

WebClarity offers BookWhere in several different forms. The Windows-based version of the product continues as the most complete and robust option. It includes the capability to perform batch processing of requests in addition to real time cataloging functions. By submitting a list of ISBNs, libraries can quickly and efficiently obtain cataloging records for batches of materials. BookWhere includes a record assessment feature that analyzes and scores incoming records from multiple sources, identifying those that best meet a library’s criteria for completeness. The base version of BookWhere includes batch processing of up to fifty items; the BookWhere Suite supports unlimited batch processing. BookWhere Suite also includes advanced features such as user-defined macros, MARC record editing, and other features that facilitate the systematic clean-up of a library’s bibliographic database. The academic version of BookWhere targets personal users, licensed for use on two computers to support the common need for use in both home and office.

WebClarity offers BookWhere Online as a completely Web-based product, providing the basic functionality for retrieving MARC records without the need to install software on the local computer. Since the BookWhere client software operates only under Microsoft Windows, or under Windows emulation software on Macintosh computers, the Web-based version extends its use to other platforms. BookWhere Online does not include batch processing features.

A library that cannot afford OCLC membership might use BookWhere in conjunction with its directory of targets as their primary strategy for obtaining MARC records for new materials or even for retrospective conversion projects. According to WebClarity, over a thousand libraries in 40 countries currently pay maintenance support for BookWhere. Many libraries that have purchased BookWhere in previous years continue to use it without paid support; an estimated 6,000 to 8,000 copies of BookWhere remain in active use in libraries throughout the world. Over 600 licenses in Finland representing the majority of academic libraries, for example, use BookWhere through an arrangement with their national library. BookWhere was extended in 2005 to support the FINMARC record syntax used in that country.

WebClarity Corporate Background

WebClarity operates as a wholly owned independent subsidiary of Convergent Library Technologies, acquired from Sea Change Corporation in July 2004. The primary products of WebClarity, in addition to the recently announced PeopleWhere, include the BookWhere family of cataloging utilities.

Convergent Library Technologies was founded in 2003 by Phil Smith, who serves as CEO and President and Allison Standen, who continues to own and operate the company, based in Barrie, Ontario in Canada. The founders are both veterans of the library automation industry. Prior to founding Convergent Library Technologies, Smith had been responsible for the sia-Pacific division of Geac, which has since become Infor Library Solutions. Convergent’s original business focused on marketing and support of PC booking systems. The company now focuses on products that help libraries increase productivity and efficiency to streamline aspects

of their operations. From PC management, the company extended its reach into technical services through BookWhere, and more recently to administration with the launch of PeopleWhere.

In addition to development and support of its own products created through its WebClarity subsidiary, Convergent Library Technologies partners with a variety of other companies to extend the services it offers to its library customers and as distribution channels for its own products into other markets.

BookWhere Origins

BookWhere traces its roots to Sea Change Corporation, founded in 1986 by Richard Earle, who created the product as a Windows-based Z39.50 based cataloging utility. Sea Change initially created BookWhere in the mid-1990’s. Although BookWhere stood as the flagship product for Sea Change for many years, the company became involved in other business activities involving broader Internet technologies. As the company found success in the broader IT sector, it sought to divest its library-specific products that addressed a smaller market. Sea Change organized the portion of its operations involved with its BookWhere family of products into a separate division named WebClarity in 2003. In July 2004, Sea Change sold its WebClarity division, including the BookWhere product line and the personnel involved in its development, to Convergent Library Technologies, a relatively new Canadian company involved with the sales and support of library products as a distributor. According to Standen, Convergent Library Technologies, founded only a year earlier, saw the acquisition of WebClarity as an opportunity to gain the technology personnel for its library-focused business. Prior to the acquisition of WebClarity, Convergent Library Technologies had been involved primarily in distribution and marketing activities for other library products.

Sea Change currently operates two subsidiaries, Interwork Technologies, Inc. and iRoam Mobile Solutions. Earle continues to serve as CEO. BookWhere has proven itself as a successful product that enables many libraries to perform copy cataloging tasks inexpensively. PeopleWhere extends the reach of WebClarity into the administrative functions of the library, providing tools to better manage personnel and scheduling. As PeopleWhere concludes its product development and beta test cycle, it enters the market anticipating that libraries will appreciate personnel management software specifically designed for their workflows and requirements.

Publication Year:2010
Type of Material:Article
Language English
Published in: Smart Libraries Newsletter
Publication Info:Volume 30 Number 12
Issue:December 2010
Page(s):3-4
Publisher:ALA TechSource
Place of Publication:Chicago, IL
Company: WebClarity
Products: BookWhere
ISSN:1541-8820
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Record Number:16111
Last Update:2012-12-29 14:06:47
Date Created:2011-10-06 14:37:16