Library Stuff has another post on worldcat and borrowing policies. I still believe that a policy rethink is in order, but I think WorldCat could provide some warning similar to “Library policies differ and you may not be able to checkout this item directly. Contact the library to find out more…”, but more thought out.
I don’t think this is just a WorldCat problem though. As more and more OPAC’s become searchable and findable online, it’s likely worthwhile to put some sort of policy statement right on the OPAC or the record display to prevent confusion. For example, if you take a look at the comments in WPOpac you’ll notice quite a few are just asking “can i get this item” or “how do i get this item”. Some brief explanatory text of policies or a link to an explanatory page that’s easy to spot could help quite a bit. I found policies to be difficult to find in many of the library sites I checked. Even a simple “Don’t have a library card? Call xxx to see if your eligible” would be a start.
As for being anonymous, it wasn’t on purpose, and i’ve been meaning to create some sort of about page. One day.