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Customizable and non-customizable collections

WorldCat knowledge base collections are customizable or non-customizable. This designation specifies whether or not libraries can select individual titles from a collection and edit title-level fields such as coverage information.

About customizable collections

  • If a collection is customizable:
    • You can modify the title data and coverage dates to match your library-specific holdings.
  • If a collection is non-customizable:
    • You must select the collection in full. The collection is only available as represented.

Many libraries do not need to modify a non-customizable collection because the provider does not offer subsets of the collection and only distributes the collection in full. If for some reason you need to modify a non-customizable collection, see What to do if you need to modify a non-customizable collection.

How to determine if a collection is customizable

To quickly find out if a knowledge base collection is customizable or non-customizable, see the Collections available in the WorldCat knowledge base.

Alternatively, search for the collection in the Collection Manager interface. Text next to knowledge base collection titles in your search results list will show you if a collection is customizable or non-customizable:

Customizable collections

Titles within customizable collections are editable and will have pencil buttons to indicate that you can edit title fields:


For more information, see Title-level settings in knowledge base collections.

Why select "Customizable" when you create a collection?

When creating a new collection via the Create a Collection button in Collection Manager, you have the option in the Properties accordion to make the collection:

  • Customizable
  • Non-customizable (default)

After you click the Create a Collection button, expand the Properties accordion and change the setting to Customizable if:

  • If you plan to contribute the collection to the global WorldCat knowledge base
  • If you need be able to edit title-level data such as coverage information
  • If you want to share the collection with other institutions and want those institutions to be able to edit title selections and title-level data

This setting can only be set at the time of creation. You will not be able to edit this selection once the collection is created.

Include required title data for customizable collections

When you create a customizable collection via the Create a Collection button in Collection Manager, specific data is required to add titles to the collection. You must include a unique numerical value in each title's Entry ID field.

You can add titles using the following methods:

Depending on how you add titles to a collection, include the required data:

  • If you add titles manually, one-by-one via the Collection Manager interface (without KBART file upload), enter the unique numerical value in the Entry ID field.
  • If you add titles by uploading a KBART-formatted spreadsheet of title data, enter the unique numerical value in the the oclc_entry_id column of your KBART file.
  • For items added one-by-one or via a KBART file using Autofill or Lookup by OCN, the Entry ID will be the OCLC number.

After you create the collection and add titles, customizable will be reflected as the collection's Collection Type and the titles in the collection will have a pencil icon to show that they are editable.

What to do if you need to modify a non-customizable collection

You will not be able to modify a non-customizable collection. If it is necessary for your institution to modify the title data or select a subset of titles from a non-customizable collection, you can use title data from a non-customizable knowledge base collection to create a local collection. You can also contact OCLC Support to request a modification to a non-customizable collection.  

To download a KBART-formatted file of title data and use it to create a local collection:

  1. Search for and open the collection by clicking on the name of a collection in your search results.
  2. Expand the Titles accordion.
  3. Download a KBART-formatted file of title data and view it as a spreadsheet as follows:
    1. On the right side of the screen, use the More Actions drop-down list.
    2. Select Download.
  4. Modify the title data in the spreadsheet. See Modify a collection to select your subset of titles for help. Remember to include an Entry ID if you are making the collection customizable.
  5. Create a collection via the Create a Collection button and upload your file to add the title data to your collection. See Create a knowledge base collection for help.

Note: You can use the VLOOKUP function in a spreadsheet software such as Microsoft Excel to compare and find matches between two spreadsheets and assist in identifying the subset of titles to which your institution subscribes.

For example, you can download a KBART file of all the available titles from within a knowledge base collection in Collection Manager and compare this to a spreadsheet from your provider that lists the items to which your library subscribes. Use the VLOOKUP function to help you identify these items in the KBART file. You can then edit the KBART as needed and upload it to select your subset of titles in a locally created collection.

For instructions on using the VLOOKUP function, please see the support site for your spreadsheet software such as Microsoft's documentation on the VLOOKUP function.