One of the nice things about WorldCat is that is has sufficient scale to be a good proxy for a large part of the scholarly and cultural record. The aggregate holdings of thousands of libraries contain not just books, but movies, music, and so on. It is not complete but it gives good results.

In honor of St Valentine's day, my colleagues JD Shipengrover and Diane Vizine-Goetz have produced a list of the most widely held love stories in libraries - the most widely held books and the most widely held movies.

Here are the lists ... It is interesting seeing the similarities between the two.


  1. Pride and Prejudice

  2. Jane Eyre

  3. Wuthering Heights

  4. Emma

  5. Sense and Sensibility

  6. The Great Gatsby

  7. Anna Karenina

  8. The Return of the Native

  9. The Portrait of a Lady

  10. Mansfield Park


  1. Jane Eyre

  2. Gone With the Wind

  3. Pride and Prejudice

  4. Emma

  5. West Side Story

  6. Sense and Sensibility

  7. The Sound of Music

  8. Romeo & Juliet

  9. Titanic

  10. The Princess Bride

These lists are based on a fiction (books and movies) subset of Worldcat, using the genre data in the records. The data is clustered at the work level, to consolidate editions and so on. A little more context is at the list page.

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  • Three challenges: Engaging, rightscaling and innovating July 05, 2013 – I was in Australia recently, primarily to attend the conference intriguingly entitled 'The edge of the world'. The presentation I gave is here, and is embedded below. This was the latest Theta conference, the Australian parallel to Educause. I very much enjoyed the host city, Hobart, not least because of the smell of the sea as we walked out of the hotel. More recently, I was pleased to attend parts of the CIC Center for Library Initiatives conference, hosted by The Ohio State University, here in Columbus (far, unfortunately, from the sea). The topic was emerging forms of scholarly communication.... more
  • Names and identities: looking at Flann O'Brien July 02, 2013 – Names and identities are a major focus of interest for OCLC Research. I adapt this discussion of our work in this area from the recent OCLC Research Quarterly Highlights. We know very well that names are not always straightforward. Brian O'Nolan and Brian Ó Nualláin are the English and Irish versions, respectively, of the name of the person who is more commonly known to us as the author Flann O'Brien. But things are more complicated. Flann O'Brien was the 'identity' he chose when writing novels in English. As the prolific author of satirical columns in the Irish Times, he was... more
  • Defining the library ... reflexively March 21, 2013 – It occurred to me recently that the library definitions I most like have a reflexive quality ... Dan Chudnov, for example, is admirably succinct and direct: My professional mission as a librarian is this: Help people build their own libraries. That's it. That's all I care about. [One big library] This is from 2006. Interestingly, in the interim we have seen big growth in the personal 'library' - think of Mendeley or Goodreads for example. Here are two from very different writers, each expressing the generative capacity of the library in a very pithy way ... People should think not... more
  • Twit-therapy .. a quick note March 16, 2013 – I am reading Bedsit Disco Queen: how I grew up and tried to be a pop star, a memoir by Tracey Thorn. Here is a quick note to record what I thought was an interesting discussion about Twitter. Thorn writes about frustration with record company and producer, and goes on to say ... If I had a time machine and could go back in it, to this particular point, where the self-doubt and anxiety was beginning to set in and it felt like the walls were closing around us. I know exactly what I would do. I would invent Twitter.... more
  • A fragmented reading experience: locally and anecdotally speaking .. March 04, 2013 – In February 2011 I noted ... A while ago I was interested to observe that I had begun to resist buying paperback novels. ... In thinking about it, I realised that I only wanted to buy the experience not the physical item. My bag and our house is already cluttered enough. I wanted the few hours entertainment the book provided, not the small burden of owning a bundle of paper to be shelved. [Buying books and/or experiences: a consumer view] In other cases I still wanted to buy a physical item. In the interim, the reconfiguration of publishing by the... more
  • Systemwide organization - sourcing and scaling redux February 01, 2013 – Libraries are increasingly taking a system-wide perspective of their roles and services. This can take different forms. Think of the close collaboration within the Orbis Cascade Alliance for example, where academic libraries in Washington and Oregon are moving to a shared systems infrastructure. Or think of the various initiatives looking at managing down individual print collections within a coordinated collective framework, WEST, for example. Or think of collaboratively sourced initiatives to tackle new service areas, Hathi Trust for example. Of course, in many countries there are publicly funded bodies who are charged with managing shared services, development work, or community... more
  • Discovery vs discoverability ... January 02, 2013 – I have been interested in the different dynamics of the inside-out and outside-in library for a while (see here for example). One especially interesting characteristic is the quite different approach to discovery in each case, even though this distinction has not yet crystallized in clear service categories. I was struck by the distinction during a recent discussion of 'discoverability' in a publishing context, where the focus was on the active marketing of resources through a variety of channels. This is an emphasis that has not been common in a library environment, but, which, I argue here, is becoming more important.... more
  • The President, the election and big data November 11, 2012 – A little over four years ago I wrote a post about the presidential primary results, suggesting that an important political threshold had been crossed. The network - and notably the use of social and mobile - was centrally influential. Whatever your political orientation, it is clear that Obama has been remarkably successful at mobilizing people and money through the network. .... the combination of social networking techniques and the diffusion of connectivity through mobile and other devices have allowed Obama's campaign to scale very effectively, both in terms of numbers participating and amount of funds raised. [Candidate 2.0 and crowdfunding]... more
  • Two things prompted by a new website: space as a service and full library discovery August 31, 2012 – Drawn by a Tweet I looked at Stanford's very nice new library website just now. I only spent a few minutes there but I was immediately and strongly struck by two things. Each makes so much sense that I imagine they will become routine. The first was the foregrounding of library space as a service. The second was what I might call full library discovery, the ability to discover the full capacity of the library, not just the collections, with a single search. Library space as a service A shift is underway in library space, from being configured around collections... more