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OCLC WorldCat Metadata APIs wrapper

Project description

Build Status Coverage Status PyPI version PyPI - Python Version Code style: black License: MIT


BookOps-Worldcat provides a Python interface for the WorldCat Metadata API. This wrapper simplifies requests to OCLC web services making them more accessible to OCLC member libraries.

Bookops-Worldcat version 1.0 supports changes released in version 2.0 (May 2023) of the OCLC Metadata API.


Use pip:

$ pip install bookops-worldcat


For full documentation please see


Bookops-Worldcat takes advantage of the functionality of the popular Requests library and interactions with OCLC's services are built around 'Requests' sessions. MetadataSession inherits all requests.Session properties. Server responses are requests.Response objects with all of their properties and methods.

Authorizing a web service session simply requires passing an access token to MetadataSession. Opening a session allows the user to call specific methods to facilitate communication between the user's script/client and a particular endpoint of the Metadata API. Many of the hurdles related to making valid requests are hidden under the hood of this package, making it as simple as possible.

BookOps-Worldcat supports requests to all endpoints of the WorldCat Metadata API 2.0 and Authentication using the Client Credential Grant flow:

  • Authentication via Client Credential Grant
  • Worldcat Metadata API
    • Manage Bibliographic Records
    • Manage Institution Holdings
    • Manage Local Bibliographic Data
    • Manage Local Holdings Records
    • Search Member Shared Print Holdings
    • Search Member General Holdings
    • Search Bibliographic Resources
    • Search Local Holdings Resources
    • Search Local Bibliographic Resources

Basic usage:

Authorizing a MetadataSession

from bookops_worldcat import WorldcatAccessToken
token = WorldcatAccessToken(
#>"access_token: 'tk_Yebz4BpEp9dAsghA7KpWx6dYD1OZKWBlHjqW', expires_at: '2024-01-01 12:00:00Z'"

Search for brief bibliographic resources

with MetadataSession(authorization=token) as session:
    response = session.brief_bibs_search(q="ti:The Power Broker AND au: Caro, Robert")
  "numberOfRecords": 89,
  "briefRecords": [
      "oclcNumber": "1631862",
      "title": "The power broker : Robert Moses and the fall of New York",
      "creator": "Robert A. Caro",
      "date": "1975",
      "machineReadableDate": "1975",
      "language": "eng",
      "generalFormat": "Book",
      "specificFormat": "PrintBook",
      "edition": "Vintage Books edition",
      "publisher": "Vintage Books",
      "catalogingInfo": {
        "catalogingAgency": "DLC",
        "catalogingLanguage": "eng",
        "levelOfCataloging": " ",
        "transcribingAgency": "DLC"

MetadataSession as Context Manager:

with MetadataSession(authorization=token) as session:
    result = session.bib_get("1631862")
<?xml version='1.0' encoding='UTF-8'?>
  <record xmlns="">
    <leader>00000cam a2200000 i 4500</leader>
    <controlfield tag="001">ocm01631862</controlfield>
    <controlfield tag="003">OCoLC</controlfield>
    <controlfield tag="005">20240201163642.4</controlfield>
    <controlfield tag="008">750320t19751974nyuabf   b    001 0beng  </controlfield>
    <datafield tag="010" ind1=" " ind2=" ">
      <subfield code="a">   75009557 </subfield>
    <datafield tag="020" ind1=" " ind2=" ">
      <subfield code="a">9780394720241</subfield>
      <subfield code="q">(paperback)</subfield>
    <datafield tag="100" ind1="1" ind2=" ">
      <subfield code="a">Caro, Robert A.,</subfield>
      <subfield code="e">author.</subfield>
    <datafield tag="245" ind1="1" ind2="4">
      <subfield code="a">The power broker :</subfield>
      <subfield code="b">Robert Moses and the fall of New York /</subfield>
      <subfield code="c">by Robert A. Caro.</subfield>
    <datafield tag="246" ind1="3" ind2="0">
      <subfield code="a">Robert Moses and the fall of New York</subfield>
    <datafield tag="250" ind1=" " ind2=" ">
      <subfield code="a">Vintage Books edition.</subfield>
    <datafield tag="264" ind1=" " ind2="1">
      <subfield code="a">New York :</subfield>
      <subfield code="b">Vintage Books,</subfield>
      <subfield code="c">1975.</subfield>

Changes in Version 1.0

New functionality available in version 1.0:

  • Send requests to all endpoints of WorldCat Metadata API
    • Match bib records and retrieve bib classification
    • Create, update, and validate bib records
    • Create, retrieve, update, and delete local bib and holdings records
  • Add automatic retries to failed requests
  • Authenticate and authorize for multiple institutions within MetadataSession
  • Support for Python 3.11 and 3.12
  • Dropped support for Python 3.7

Migration Information

Bookops-Worldcat 1.0 introduces many breaking changes for users of previous versions. Due to a complete refactor of the Metadata API, the methods from Bookops-Worldcat 0.5.0 have been rewritten. Most of the functionality from previous versions of the Metadata API is still available in Version 2.0. For a comparison of the functionality available in Versions 1.0, 1.1, and 2.0 of the Metadata API, see OCLC's documentation and their functionality comparison table.

Versions 1.0 and 1.1 of the Metadata API will be sunset after April 30, 2024 at which point tools that rely on Bookops-Worldcat 0.5 will no longer be able to query the Metadata API.

For more information on changes made in Version 1.0, see Features in Version 1.0 in the docs.


Consult the Changelog page for a full list of fixes and enhancements for each version.


Please use the Github issue tracker to submit bugs or request features.


See Contribution Guidelines for information on how to contribute to bookops-worldcat.

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