A WorldCat record generally contains a physical description of an item and information about its informational or artistic content. Some records also contain cover art images, tables of contents, etc.
While most of the holdings are books and music recordings, some of the more unique items in the database include:
- A terra cotta cone with Babylonean inscription, circa 2100 B.C.
- Daniel Webster's socks
- A jar of volcanic ash from the Mount St. Helens' eruption
- Elvis Presley's last will and testament
There's all manner of neat stuff in the thing. Catalogers have been known to get all squishy just thinking about it.
If you are an author, getting your book listed on WorldCat is important. Why? WorldCat is the other main source of information about books that websites like Bookmooch and LibraryThing refer to. A WorldCat listing goes a long way toward making sure potential readers know your book exists. Furthermore, if your book's not in WorldCat, to the librarians of the world it's as if your book just doesn't exist. And since librarians can be some of an author's strongest allies, you want to make sure they can easily reference your work.
How do you get a listing in WorldCat? In theory it's pretty simple: just make sure that at least one Worlcat-member library immediately gets a copy of your book when it comes out. But two or three member libraries are better.
For more information about WorldCat, visit its website at http://www.oclc.org/worldcat/