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Admin On January - 26 - 2014

 OCLC (Online Computer Library Center)

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

It is “a nonprofit, membership, computer library service and research organization dedicated to the public purposes of furthering access to the world’s information and reducing information costs”. They began with the idea of combining computer technology with library cooperation to reduce costs and improve services through shared, online cataloging. The first library to do online cataloging through OCLC was the Alden Library at Ohio University on August 26, 1971. This was the first occurrence of online cataloging by any library worldwide.

OCLC’s strategy is to work with libraries to achieve the benefits of Webscale: visibility on the web for libraries and their collections, infrastructure to share data and resources locally and globally, and collaboration with other members of the broader information community.

OCLC Services

  • OCLC provides bibliographic, abstract and full-text information to anyone.
  • 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. WorldCat has holding records from public and private libraries worldwide.
  • In 1977, the Ohio members of OCLC adopted changes in the governance structure that enabled libraries outside Ohio to become members and participate in the election of the Board of Trustees; the Ohio College Library Center became OCLC, Inc. In 1981, the legal name of the corporation became Online Computer Library Center, Inc (OCLC)

OCLC has been conducting research for the library community for more than 30 years by its research outcomes known through various publications. These publications, including journal articles, reports, newsletters, and presentations, are available through the organization’s website.

  • OCLC Publications – Research articles from various journals including, but not limited to, Code4Lib Journal, OCLC Research, Reference & 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.
  • Membership Reports – A number of significant reports on topics ranging from virtual reference in libraries to perceptions about library funding.
  • Newsletters – Current and archived newsletters for the library and archive community.
  • 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

Database Services of OCLC

Connexion (

OCLC has a database for cataloging and searching purposes which is used by librarians and the public. i.e. Connexion, was introduced in 2001. This database contains records in MAchine Readable Cataloging (MARC) format contributed by library catalogers worldwide who use OCLC as a cataloging tool. These MARC format records are then downloaded into the libraries’ local catalog systems. This allows libraries to find and download records for materials to add to their local catalog without the lengthy process of cataloging each individually.

As of February 2007, the OCLC database contained over 1.1 billion cataloged items, and is the world’s largest bibliographic database Connexion is available to professional librarians as a computer program or on the web at


WorldCat is available to the public for searching via a web-based service called FirstSearch, as well as through the Open WorldCat program. The Online Computer Library Center acquired the trademark and copyrights associated with the Dewey Decimal Classification System when it bought Forest Press in 1988.


WebJunction is a division of OCLC funded by a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which provides training services to librarians.


The QuestionPoint reference management service QuestionPoint provides libraries with tools to communicate with users. This around-the-clock reference service is provided by a cooperative of participating global libraries.

Functions and Activities

i) Cataloguing and Metadata Sevice: OCLC offers full-service online cataloguing, simple copy cataloguing, MARC record collections, offline cataloguing, customized OCLC cataloguing from library’s materials vendor, automated copy cataloguing for materials purchased and custom cataloguing serviced.

iii) Open WorldCat: WorldCat is the world’s largest bibliographic database. The Open WorldCat programme makes it feasible to internet users who broadly search the Web at popular search portals to discover materials owned by OCLC libraries. Current Open WorldCat participants include Yahoo! Search ( and Google (

ii) Dewey Decimal Classification System: OCLC administers the Dewey Decimal Classification system, the most widely used library classification system in the world. It also provides WebDewey, the online version that is continually updated.

v) Record Digitization and Preservation: OCLC’s digitization, microfilm and archival services are designed to protect, share, and manage collections. The Intercat and Persistent Uniform Resource Locators (PURLs) are such project of OCLC.

vi)Standardization: OCLC Terminologies Service provides single interface to access multiple thesauruses. Access often-used controlled vocabularies such as mesh, gmgpc, gsafd, lctgm, ngl and dct.

vii) Publication: OCLC regularly develops and publishes studies and other informational documents that all libraries can use for “future-forward” planning.

viii) Mailing Lists and Forum:WebJunction” is a Web-based community dedicated to the emerging technology and training needs of librarians. It was funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s U.S. Library Program, and coordinated by OCLC and other partners. WebJunction feature articles, handouts, courses and forum discussions address the real issues that librarians and library staff face everyday. OCLC also maintains groups and forums to foster and maintain communication with its members.

ix) Others Services: NetLibrary provides full-text digital books, journals, newspapers and other published works in hundreds of subject areas. NetLibrary, OCLC’s eBook division, recently celebrated the surpassing of the 58,000-title milestone. The Electronic Collections Online provides easy Web access to thousands of full-text academic and professional journals.

Categories: Library Science

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