OCLC has decided to keep FirstSearch as a separate product rather than merging it with WorldCat Discovery. The official announcement is shown below. And, OCLC’s Executive Director of End-User Services, Mike Showalter summarized the changes in OCLC’s blog Next: “The future of FirstSearch and WorldCat Discovery“.

Announcement from OCLC

“Since releasing WorldCat® Discovery in 2014, OCLC has added features to the service from the existing feature set in WorldCat Local as well as functionality requested by the WorldCat Discovery community. OCLC will continue to enhance WorldCat Discovery with changes such as improvements to known-item searching and relevance and enhancements to personal lists and course reserves, which will make your library’s resources even easier for users to find.

FirstSearch will continue as a separate service.

In addition to accelerating the development of WorldCat Discovery, OCLC will continue the full-featured WorldCat searching valued in FirstSearch in a new version of FirstSearch.

What does this mean to WorldCat Local/WMS subscribers?

WorldCat Discovery, WorldCat Local and WorldShare Management Services (WMS) users have asked us to expand search functionality in WorldCat Discovery to include familiar features from FirstSearch and WorldCat Local. In response, the full-featured WorldCat searching being developed for the new version of FirstSearch will also be available to WorldCat Discovery users. As a WorldCat Local or WMS subscriber, this will let you deliver search features not currently available in OCLC services to library staff and expert searchers. WorldCat Discovery will remain the user-facing interface for future WorldShare® Management Services subscribers.

Your library’s collections will remain visible on popular websites where many people begin their research.

Your WorldCat Local or WMS subscription will not change; the new functionality will become part of the WorldCat Discovery service you receive through this subscription.

OCLC is committed to delivering a full-featured discovery experience in WorldCat Discovery. As we work to deliver essential functionality through both services, access to the current version of FirstSearch will extend into 2017. Exact dates for the end of access to WorldCat Local and the current version of FirstSearch have not been determined.”

We will share details about plans for the release of new features as they are confirmed. You may want to monitor the schedule of planned enhancements when it is available and plan your library’s transition for a time when features most important to you are present in the service.

Thank you for your patience as we extend the development timeline for the expansion of functionality in WorldCat Discovery and a new version of FirstSearch to allow time to develop both services.”

As always, for the latest information, see the CDL WorldCat Discovery Beta website.