OCLC at a Glance

Furthering access to the world's information and reducing information costs are the goals of OCLC Online Computer Library Center, Incorporated. OCLC is a nonprofit computer service and research organization whose network and services link more than 30,000 libraries in 65 countries and territories. OCLC services help libraries locate, acquire, catalog, access, and lend library materials.

Access to the World's Information 

OCLC, the world's largest library information network, offers services that help libraries further access to information and reduce information costs: 
  • WorldCat (the OCLC Online Union Catalog). The world's largest and most comprehensive bibliographic database. Libraries use the WorldCat™ database and OCLC's computerized telecommunications network to process materials and share information. 
  • The OCLC system. Extensive online cataloging, interlibrary loan, union list, and selection services. 
  • OCLC FirstSearch® service. Online reference service that provides flexible searching and subject access to over 70 databases for end users. 
  • OCLC FirstSearch Electronic Collections Online™ service. Provides remote access to large collections of journals through the Web. Now also available through the FirstSearch Web interface.
  • OCLC Access Services. Telecommunications and standalone systems that facilitate online and offline cataloging, resource sharing, reference, and selection services. 


WorldCat is a merged electronic catalog of libraries around the world. WorldCat offers libraries and their users resources that no single library could provide: 
  • 38 million records in eight bibliographic formats representing 400 languages with holdings information 
  • Growth by approximately 2 million bibliographic records each year 
  • Easy searching from FirstSearch, EPIC, and other services 
OCLC Membership 

Libraries in North America join OCLC through their OCLC-affiliated Regional Networks. Libraries outside North America receive OCLC services through OCLC Asia Pacific Services, OCLC Europe, OCLC Latin America and the Caribbean, or via international distributors. 

OCLC Service Areas 

OCLC Reference Services 

OCLC FirstSearch. Offers end users more than 70 databases to search, including WorldCat and the OCLC NetFirst® database--bibliographic citations of Internet-accessible resources. FirstSearch also offers library holdings information, a link to OCLC's interlibrary loan, a variety of online full-text and document delivery options, and a choice of pricing structures. Libraries can offer their users access to FirstSearch from the library, home, office, or school. FirstSearch is accessible from the World Wide Web (www.ref.oclc.org:2000/); in Europe, www.ref.oclc.org/europe/. 

OCLC FirstSearch Electronic Collections Online. Provides remote access to large collections of journals through the Web. Benefits include: 

    Searching across journals from many different publishers, using a single interface and access point

    Cost benefits of remote access to data with the advantages of local collection management 

    Value-added features, including print-quality article representation, usage statistics, technology migration, and technical and product support.  For more information, see <http://www2.oclc.org/oclc/fseco/publish.htm>

OCLC SiteSearch® Suite. Provides a comprehensive solution for managing distributed library information resources in the World Wide Web environment. Offers tools that help libraries integrate electronic resources and services under one Web interface, control access to resources, and build text and image databases locally. The OCLC SiteSearch suite includes the following components:
    OCLC SiteSearch WebZ™ software—Software to provide a Web-accessible interface to your library's electronic resources

    OCLC SiteSearch Database Builder software—A complete set of software tools for building and maintaining information resources locally

    OCLC SiteSearch Imaging Support Package—A software package to help libraries create electronic image collections

OCLC Collections and Technical Services 

    OCLC Cataloging service. By cataloging with OCLC, libraries gain access to over 38 million bibliographic records covering eight formats in WorldCat and to the complete Library of Congress Authority File. Using high-quality records, you can catalog any type of material. Libraries that contribute all of their current cataloging to WorldCat receive full membership and a voice in OCLC governance. 

    OCLC SelectionTM service. Streamlines your acquisitions process by further automating selection and ordering procedures. 

    OCLC PromptCat®service. Provides automated copy cataloging with minimal staff intervention. Works with materials supplied by participating vendors. 

    OCLC TechPro® service. Customized contract cataloging service helps libraries eliminate cataloging backlogs and keep current cataloging up-to-date. 

    OCLC CatCDTM for Windows system. Windows-based CD-ROM cataloging in an offline, stand-alone environment. Contains bibliographic subsets of WorldCat and the complete Library of Congress Authority collection. 

    OCLC Cataloging Micro Enhancer® for Windows software. Increases your cataloging productivity and reduces costs by combining batch online searching and processing with offline editing. Provides interactive and batch access so you do all your cataloging within one user-friendly, Windows-based interface. CatME for Windows allows you to access both WorldCat and the OCLC Authority File. CatME for Windows is available at no extra charge on the OCLC Access Suite™ compact disc.

    OCLC Authority Control service.State-of-the art software that lets you efficiently and affordably correct or modernize name, series, and subject headings in your library's catalog. 

    OCLC CJKTM software. Offers online access and cataloging of Chinese, Japanese, and Korean (CJK) materials with CJK characters. Receive access to WorldCat and cost-effective shared cataloging via various access options. A Microsoft Windows application that is compatible with OCLC Cataloging, OCLC CJK is available at no extra charge on the OCLC Access Suite compact disc. 

    OCLC AsiaLinkTM service. Collection development and acquisitions service for CJK and Vietnamese materials. 

    OCLC Conversion Services. Offers online and microcomputer-based retrospective conversion services to help libraries convert older cataloging records to machine-readable form. 

Bibliographic Records in WorldCat by Source of Cataloging
(June 30, 1997) 
Total LC Records
Total  Participant- input
Total LC- created Participant-input
Total Records 
Visual Materials 
Mixed Materials 
Sound Recordings 
Computer Files 
*Reflects total unique records after duplicate detection resolution is complete.

OCLC Resource Sharing Services 

    OCLC Interlibrary Loan (ILLTM) service. Electronic network of 6,600 libraries worldwide that lend and borrow materials. Helps libraries expand their services and reduce operating costs. 

    Group databases. Geographic or topical databases for library groups, created and maintained by OCLC to help libraries multiply their resources and improve user services. 

    OCLC Union List service. Provides up-to-date holdings information for serials owned by union listing libraries. Information is accessible through OCLC Union List and OCLC ILL. 

    OCLC ILL Fee Management service.Lets OCLC ILL users pay and be paid for ILL requests in a single transaction through monthly OCLC bills. 

    OCLC ILL Custom Holdings. Lets you customize locations records by defining one or more sets of lending partners that will serve as online filters. 

    OCLC ILL Custom Holdings for Union List. Enables you to customize your union list displays to view holdings of preferred lenders. 

    OCLC ILL Micro Enhancer® for Windows software. Automates routine borrowing and lending tasks online. Allows automatic logon, downloading, printing of all ILL requests, batch uploading of responses, and ILL number barcode printing and scanning. Available at no extra charge on the OCLC Access Suite compact disc.

    OCLC Name-Address Directory. Online file of name, address, communication, and lending policy information for libraries, vendors, publishers, and others in the information industry. 

OCLC Access Services 

    Telecommunications. Provides Internet, OCLC Dedicated TCP/IP access, and OCLC Dial TCP/IP access options to OCLC online services.

    OCLC Access Suite™ Software. Offers a mix of software on one CD-ROM for online use of OCLC access, cataloging, and resource sharing services. Includes Passport for Windows, OCLC CJK, Cataloging Micro Enhancer for Windows, ILL Micro Enhancer for Windows, and the OCLC Cataloging Label Program. OCLC members can receive a site license for the software at no extra charge. The latest versions of the software can be downloaded from the Web at: <http://www.oclc.org/oclc/menu/suite>. 

    OCLC Passport for Windows software. Provides tools to get maximum efficiency from both OCLC online systems and other terminal emulation-based systems. Available at no extra charge on the OCLC Access Suite compact disc.

    Workstations. Microcomputer hardware for all OCLC applications. 


The mission of the OCLC Office of Research is to expand knowledge toward OCLC's commitment to improve access to the world's information resources. The Office of Research pursues this mission through research activities such as experimentation, prototype construction, and research collaborations. 

OCLC Forest Press® Division 

A division of OCLC, Forest Press publishes the Dewey Decimal Classification® system, Dewey® for Windows software, and a variety of related materials and services that help libraries cost-effectively organize their collections. The Dewey Web site offers additional information. 

Preservation Resources Division 

A division of OCLC, Preservation Resources provides a full range of services to meet the diverse preservation needs of libraries, archives, and other institutions. Services include consultation, workshops, and training; pre-filming preparation services; high-quality microfilming; film duplicating; polysulfiding treatment; bibliographic control; storage and distribution services; and digital scanning of microfilm and indexing. Please contact Preservation Resources at 1-800-773-7222 to request product literature. See the Preservation Resources Web site for more information. 

OCLC International 

OCLC provides products and services to libraries in 64 countries and territories with most activities occurring in Europe and Asia. The OCLC system operates 24 hours daily, except on Thursday (23 hours) and Sunday (14 hours). OCLC FirstSearch is available 24 hours pre day, Monday through Saturday, and 20 hours on Sundays (with four hours, 2 a.m. to 6 a.m. U.S. Eastern Time, for scheduled maintenance).

OCLC Europe 

OCLC Europe, based in Birmingham, England, serves libraries in 30 countries directly and in association with 15 distributors. 
    Approximately 260 libraries access the OCLC system via European public and academic data networks to undertake online cataloging and interlibrary lending. Over 90 libraries use OCLC CatCD for Windows. 

    OCLC has converted 7 million titles for European libraries in the last decade. Important projects include those for Oxford University; University of Heidelberg; Université Libre de Bruxelles; The Guildhall Library, London; and the Ministry of Education, France. 

    European reference databases and document suppliers available on OCLC Reference Services include the British Library, the OCLC PapersFirst® and OCLC ProceedingsFirst® databases, INSPEC, and Book Data. 

    OCLC is loading records for European Union documents in the OCLC Cataloging EUR-OP Resource File. 

    European libraries contribute significantly to the enrichment of WorldCat with projects such as: loading the databases of the UK Consortium of University Research Libraries (CURL) with 3 million titles and holdings in 1993-94; loading the British National Bibliography (UKMARC) file from 1950 to date with more than 400,000 records; and loading the Czech National Bibliography. 

OCLC Asia Pacific 

OCLC Asia Pacific Services, based in Dublin, Ohio, USA, provides services to over 600 libraries in Asia and the Pacific region. 
    The University of Queensland, Australia, has loaded 683,025 records to WorldCat for resource sharing and added 70,834 original records to WorldCat

    The Chinese University of Hong Kong has completed the CJK RetroCon project (October 1997) and added 79,717 CJK records to WorldCat

    Tsinghua University in Beijing has established an OCLC Service Center to extend FirstSearch and other OCLC services to libraries and information centers in China. 

    Four national libraries in Asia and the Pacific region have established online access to OCLC: the National Library of Australia, the National Library of New Zealand, the National Library of Singapore, and the National Central Library (Taiwan). 

    OCLC and the National Library of China have cooperatively created 32,000 bibliographic records of "The National Bibliography of the Republican Era, 1911-1949" in WorldCat. The project was funded by the Henry Luce Foundation. 

    Hundreds of libraries in Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Taiwan, and Thailand use OCLC CatCD for Windows, a CD-ROM-based cataloging system. 

    OCLC has loaded nearly 300,000 Japanese records from Waseda University into WorldCat. 

OCLC Latin America and the Caribbean 

OCLC Latin America and the Caribbean, based in Dublin, Ohio, USA, has served Mexico and all countries in the Caribbean, Central America, and South America since January 1995. 
    University libraries in the Caribbean, Brazil, and Mexico use the OCLC Cataloging service. These libraries contribute significantly to the enrichment of WorldCat. Others in Colombia, El Salvador, and Venezuela use OCLC CatCD for Windows for offline cataloging. 

    An increasing number of libraries in Brazil are using OCLC CatCD for Windows to aid the cataloging process. 

    An increasing number of universities in Brazil, Mexico, Chile, Colombia, and Uruguay use FirstSearch to meet the information needs of faculty, researchers, and students. 

    OCLC RetroCon® services are converting over 600,000 bibliographic records to OCLC-MARC format for the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil. 

    The Centro de Información Científica y Humanística of the National Autonomous University of Mexico is using OCLC SiteSearch to locally mount Elsevier journals. 

Cooperative Programs 

    Cooperative Online Serials Program (CONSER). A cooperative cataloging program that has built and continually maintains a comprehensive machine-readable database of authoritative bibliographic information for serials. 

    National Coordinated Cataloging Operations (NACO). OCLC Authorities supports the online cooperative contribution of new and changed authority records to the Library of Congress by the NACO libraries. 

    OCLC Library School Program. Helps library schools provide librarians with skills for today's libraries by providing OCLC products and services at either no charge or a reduced rate. 

    United States Newspaper Program (USNP). A national program established to catalog, preserve, and make available U.S. newspapers. 

OCLC Regional Networks

OCLC-affiliated Regional Networks: 
    Provide training and support for OCLC services 

    Provide contracting and billing services 

    Disseminate information about OCLC products, systems, and services 

    Advise OCLC on direction and policy by electing the Users Council and advisory committees, and by working with OCLC to pursue mutual goals through RONDAC (Regional OCLC Network Directors' Advisory Committee) 

OCLC Governance 

    15-member Board of Trustees. Includes six trustees elected by the OCLC Users Council; three board-elected members from the library profession; five members from the fields of business, law, government, and/or finance; and the OCLC President. The Users Council-elected trustees and the members of the library profession elected by the Board ensure a majority of librarians on the Board. 

    Users Council. Includes delegates from Regional Networks and service centers whose use of OCLC services and contributions to the OCLC database qualify them for Users Council membership. Delegates represent the interests of OCLC General Members and ratify amendments to the OCLC Articles of Incorporation and Code of Regulations. 

OCLC Advisory Groups 

OCLC users can express their views through: 

Advisory Committees 

    Access Services Advisory Committee 

    Advisory Committee on College and University Libraries 

    Advisory Committee on Public Libraries 

    Advisory Committee on Special Libraries 

    Collections and Technical Services Advisory Committee 

    Reference Products and Services Advisory Committee 

    Research Advisory Committee 

    Research Libraries Advisory Committee 

    Resource Sharing Advisory Committee 


User Groups 

    Health Sciences OCLC Users Group 

    Law Libraries User Group 

    Music OCLC Users Group 

    OCLC CJK Users Group 

    Online Audiovisual Catalogers 

    School Libraries User Group

    Serial Online Union Listers 

    Society of American Archivists/OCLC Users Roundtable 

    Theological User Group 

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