From Wikipedia for FEVERv2
(Redirected from OCLC (identifier))
Jump to navigation Jump to search


OCLC, Inc.OCLC_table_caption_0
TypeOCLC_header_cell_0_0_0 Nonprofit cooperativeOCLC_cell_0_0_1
IndustryOCLC_header_cell_0_1_0 InformationOCLC_cell_0_1_1
FoundedOCLC_header_cell_0_2_0 July 5, 1967; 53 years ago (1967-07-05) (as Ohio College Library Center)OCLC_cell_0_2_1
FounderOCLC_header_cell_0_3_0 Frederick G. KilgourOCLC_cell_0_3_1
HeadquartersOCLC_header_cell_0_4_0 Dublin, Ohio, USOCLC_cell_0_4_1
Area servedOCLC_header_cell_0_5_0 WorldwideOCLC_cell_0_5_1
Key peopleOCLC_header_cell_0_6_0 Skip Prichard, President and CEOOCLC_cell_0_6_1
ProductsOCLC_header_cell_0_7_0 OCLC_cell_0_7_1
RevenueOCLC_header_cell_0_8_0 $203 million (2015–16)OCLC_cell_0_8_1
Total assetsOCLC_header_cell_0_9_0 $425 million (2015–16)OCLC_cell_0_9_1
Total equityOCLC_header_cell_0_10_0 $239 million (2015–16)OCLC_cell_0_10_1
MembersOCLC_header_cell_0_11_0 16,964 libraries in 122 countries (2015–16)OCLC_cell_0_11_1
WebsiteOCLC_header_cell_0_12_0 Q190593#P856}OCLC_cell_0_12_1

OCLC, Inc., doing business as OCLC, is an American nonprofit cooperative organization "dedicated to the public purposes of furthering access to the world's information and reducing information costs". OCLC_sentence_0

It was founded in 1967 as the Ohio College Library Center, then became the Online Computer Library Center as it expanded. OCLC_sentence_1

In 2017, the name was formally changed to OCLC, Inc. OCLC and its member libraries cooperatively produce and maintain WorldCat, the largest online public access catalog (OPAC) in the world. OCLC_sentence_2

OCLC is funded mainly by the fees that libraries pay (around $200 million annually in total as of 2016) for the many different services it offers. OCLC_sentence_3

OCLC also maintains the Dewey Decimal Classification system. OCLC_sentence_4

History OCLC_section_0

OCLC began in 1967, as the Ohio College Library Center, through a collaboration of university presidents, vice presidents, and library directors who wanted to create a cooperative, computerized network for libraries in the state of Ohio. OCLC_sentence_5

The group first met on July 5, 1967, on the campus of the Ohio State University to sign the articles of incorporation for the nonprofit organization and hired Frederick G. Kilgour, a former Yale University medical school librarian, to design the shared cataloging system. OCLC_sentence_6

Kilgour wished to merge the latest information storage and retrieval system of the time, the computer, with the oldest, the library. OCLC_sentence_7

The plan was to merge the catalogs of Ohio libraries electronically through a computer network and database to streamline operations, control costs, and increase efficiency in library management, bringing libraries together to cooperatively keep track of the world's information in order to best serve researchers and scholars. OCLC_sentence_8

The first library to do online cataloging through OCLC was the Alden Library at Ohio University on August 26, 1971. OCLC_sentence_9

This was the first online cataloging by any library worldwide. OCLC_sentence_10

Membership in OCLC is based on use of services and contribution of data. OCLC_sentence_11

Between 1967 and 1977, OCLC membership was limited to institutions in Ohio, but in 1978, a new governance structure was established that allowed institutions from other states to join. OCLC_sentence_12

In 2002, the governance structure was again modified to accommodate participation from outside the United States. OCLC_sentence_13

As OCLC expanded services in the United States outside Ohio, it relied on establishing strategic partnerships with "networks", organizations that provided training, support and marketing services. OCLC_sentence_14

By 2008, there were 15 independent United States regional service providers. OCLC_sentence_15

OCLC networks played a key role in OCLC governance, with networks electing delegates to serve on the OCLC Members Council. OCLC_sentence_16

During 2008, OCLC commissioned two studies to look at distribution channels; at the same time, the council approved governance changes that had been recommended by the Board of Trustees severing the tie between the networks and governance. OCLC_sentence_17

In early 2009, OCLC negotiated new contracts with the former networks and opened a centralized support center. OCLC_sentence_18

Services OCLC_section_1

OCLC provides bibliographic, abstract and full-text information to anyone. OCLC_sentence_19

OCLC and its member libraries cooperatively produce and maintain WorldCat—the OCLC Online Union Catalog, the largest online public access catalog (OPAC) in the world. OCLC_sentence_20

WorldCat has holding records from public and private libraries worldwide. OCLC_sentence_21

The Online Computer Library Center acquired the trademark and copyrights associated with the Dewey Decimal Classification System when it bought Forest Press in 1988. OCLC_sentence_22

A browser for books with their Dewey Decimal Classifications was available until July 2013; it was replaced by the Classify Service. OCLC_sentence_23

Until August 2009, when it was sold to Backstage Library Works, OCLC owned a preservation microfilm and digitization operation called the OCLC Preservation Service Center, with its principal office in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. OCLC_sentence_24

Starting in 1971, OCLC produced catalog cards for members alongside its shared online catalog; the company printed its last catalog cards on October 1, 2015. OCLC_sentence_25

QuestionPoint OCLC_section_2

QuestionPoint, an around-the-clock reference service provided to users by a cooperative of participating global libraries, was acquired by Springshare from OCLC in 2019 and migrated to Springshare's LibAnswers platform. OCLC_sentence_26

Software OCLC_section_3

OCLC commercially sells software, such as: OCLC_sentence_27


Research OCLC_section_4

OCLC has been conducting research for the library community for more than 30 years. OCLC_sentence_28

In accordance with its mission, OCLC makes its research outcomes known through various publications. OCLC_sentence_29

These publications, including journal articles, reports, newsletters, and presentations, are available through the organization's website. OCLC_sentence_30


  • OCLC Publications – Research articles from various journals including The Code4Lib Journal, OCLC Research, Reference and User Services Quarterly, College & Research Libraries News, Art Libraries Journal, and National Education Association Newsletter. The most recent publications are displayed first, and all archived resources, starting in 1970, are also available.OCLC_item_1_4
  • Membership Reports – A number of significant reports on topics ranging from virtual reference in libraries to perceptions about library funding.OCLC_item_1_5
  • Newsletters – Current and archived newsletters for the library and archive community.OCLC_item_1_6
  • Presentations – Presentations from both guest speakers and OCLC research from conferences, webcasts, and other events. The presentations are organized into five categories: Conference presentations, Dewey presentations, Distinguished Seminar Series, Guest presentations, and Research staff presentations.OCLC_item_1_7

Advocacy OCLC_section_5

Advocacy has been a part of OCLC's mission since its founding in 1967. OCLC_sentence_31

OCLC staff members meet and work regularly with library leaders, information professionals, researchers, entrepreneurs, political leaders, trustees, students and patrons to advocate "advancing research, scholarship, education, community development, information access, and global cooperation". OCLC_sentence_32

WebJunction, which provides training services to librarians, is a division of OCLC funded by grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation beginning in 2003. OCLC_sentence_33

OCLC partnered with search engine providers in 2003 to advocate for libraries and share information across the Internet landscape. OCLC_sentence_34

Google, Yahoo! OCLC_sentence_35 , and Ask.com all collaborated with OCLC to make WorldCat records searchable through those search engines. OCLC_sentence_36

OCLC's advocacy campaign "Geek the Library", started in 2009, highlights the role of public libraries. OCLC_sentence_37

The campaign, funded by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, uses a strategy based on the findings of the 2008 OCLC report, "From Awareness to Funding: A study of library support in America". OCLC_sentence_38

Other past advocacy campaigns have focused on sharing the knowledge gained from library and information research. OCLC_sentence_39

Such projects have included communities such as the Society of American Archivists, the Open Archives Initiative, the Institute for Museum and Library Services, the International Organization for Standardization, the National Information Standards Organization, the World Wide Web Consortium, the Internet Engineering Task Force, and Internet2. OCLC_sentence_40

One of the most successful contributions to this effort was the Dublin Core Metadata Initiative, "an open forum of libraries, archives, museums, technology organizations, and software companies who work together to develop interoperable online metadata standards that support a broad range of purposes and business models." OCLC_sentence_41

OCLC has collaborated with the Wikimedia Foundation and the Wikimedia volunteer community, through integrating library metadata with Wikimedia projects, hosting a Wikipedian in residence, and doing a national training program through WebJunction called "Wikipedia + Libraries: Better Together". OCLC_sentence_42

Online database: WorldCat OCLC_section_6

Main article: WorldCat OCLC_sentence_43

OCLC's WorldCat database is used by the general public and by librarians for cataloging and research. OCLC_sentence_44

WorldCat is available to the public for searching via a subscription web-based service called FirstSearch, as well as through the publicly available WorldCat.org. OCLC_sentence_45

Identifiers and linked data OCLC_section_7

OCLC assigns a unique control number (referred to as an "OCN" for "OCLC Control Number") to each new bibliographic record in the WorldCat. OCLC_sentence_46

Numbers are assigned serially, and as of mid-2013 over a billion OCNs had been created. OCLC_sentence_47

In September 2013, the OCLC declared these numbers to be in the public domain, removing a perceived barrier to widespread use of OCNs outside OCLC itself. OCLC_sentence_48

The control numbers link WorldCat's records to local library system records by providing a common reference key for a record across libraries. OCLC_sentence_49

OCNs are particularly useful as identifiers for books and other bibliographic materials that do not have ISBNs (e.g., books published before 1970). OCLC_sentence_50

OCNs are used as identifiers often in Wikipedia and Wikidata. OCLC_sentence_51

In October 2013, it was reported that out of 29,673 instances of book infoboxes in Wikipedia, "there were 23,304 ISBNs and 15,226 OCNs", and regarding Wikidata: "of around 14 million Wikidata items, 28,741 were books. OCLC_sentence_52

5403 Wikidata items have an ISBN associated with them, and 12,262 have OCNs." OCLC_sentence_53

OCLC also runs the (VIAF), an international name authority file, with oversight from the VIAF Council composed of representatives of institutions that contribute data to VIAF. OCLC_sentence_54

VIAF numbers are broadly used as standard identifiers, including in Wikipedia. OCLC_sentence_55

Company acquisitions OCLC_section_8

OCLC acquired NetLibrary, a provider of electronic books and textbooks, in 2002 and sold it in 2010 to EBSCO Industries. OCLC_sentence_56

OCLC owns 100% of the shares of OCLC PICA, a library automation systems and services company which has its headquarters in Leiden in the Netherlands and which was renamed "OCLC" at the end of 2007. OCLC_sentence_57

In July 2006, the Research Libraries Group (RLG) merged with OCLC. OCLC_sentence_58

On January 11, 2008, OCLC announced that it had purchased EZproxy. OCLC_sentence_59

It has also acquired OAIster. OCLC_sentence_60

The process started in January 2009 and from October 31, 2009, OAIster records are freely available via WorldCat.org. OCLC_sentence_61

In 2013 OCLC acquired the Dutch library automation company HKA and its integrated library system Wise, which OCLC calls a "community engagement system" that "combines the power of customer relationship management, marketing, and analytics with ILS functions". OCLC_sentence_62

OCLC began offering Wise to libraries in the United States in 2019. OCLC_sentence_63

In January 2015, OCLC acquired Sustainable Collection Services (SCS). OCLC_sentence_64

SCS offered consulting services based on analyzing library print collection data to help libraries manage and share materials. OCLC_sentence_65

In 2017, OCLC acquired Relais International, a library interlibrary loan service provider based in Ottawa, Canada. OCLC_sentence_66

Criticism OCLC_section_9

In May 2008, OCLC was criticized by Jeffrey Beall for monopolistic practices, among other faults. OCLC_sentence_67

Library blogger Rick Mason responded that although he thought Beall had some "valid criticisms" of OCLC, he demurred from some of Beall's statements and warned readers to "beware the hyperbole and the personal nature of his criticism, for they strongly overshadow that which is worth stating". OCLC_sentence_68

In November 2008, the Board of Directors of OCLC unilaterally issued a new Policy for Use and Transfer of WorldCat Records that would have required member libraries to include an OCLC policy note on their bibliographic records; the policy caused an uproar among librarian bloggers. OCLC_sentence_69

Among those who protested the policy was the non-librarian activist Aaron Swartz, who believed the policy would threaten projects such as the Open Library, Zotero, and Wikipedia, and who started a petition to "Stop the OCLC powergrab". OCLC_sentence_70

Swartz's petition garnered 858 signatures, but the details of his proposed actions went largely unheeded. OCLC_sentence_71

Within a few months, the library community had forced OCLC to retract its policy and to create a Review Board to consult with member libraries more transparently. OCLC_sentence_72

In August 2012, OCLC recommended that member libraries adopt the Open Data Commons Attribution (ODC-BY) license when sharing library catalog data, although some member libraries have explicit agreements with OCLC that they can publish catalog data using the CC0 Public Domain Dedication. OCLC_sentence_73

In July 2010, the company was sued by SkyRiver, a rival startup, in an antitrust suit. OCLC_sentence_74

Library automation company Innovative Interfaces joined SkyRiver in the suit. OCLC_sentence_75

The suit was dropped in March 2013, however, following the acquisition of SkyRiver by Innovative Interfaces. OCLC_sentence_76

Innovative Interfaces was later bought by ExLibris, therefore passing OCLC as the dominant supplier of ILS services in the USA (over 70% market share for academic libraries and over 50% for public libraries for ExLibris, versus OCLC's 10% market share of both types of libraries in 2019). OCLC_sentence_77

See also OCLC_section_10


Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OCLC.