OCLC

Last updated

OCLC, Inc.
Nonprofit cooperative
Industry Information
FoundedJuly 5, 1967;52 years ago (1967-07-05) (as Ohio College Library Center)
Founder Frederick G. Kilgour
Headquarters,
US
Area served
Worldwide
Key people
Skip Prichard, President and CEO
Products
Revenue$203 million [1]  (2015–16)
Total assets $425 million [2]  (2015–16)
Total equity $239 million [2]  (2015–16)
Members16,964 libraries in 122 countries [1]  (2015–16)
Website www.oclc.org

OCLC, Inc., doing business as OCLC, [3] is an American nonprofit cooperative organization "dedicated to the public purposes of furthering access to the world's information and reducing information costs". [4] It was founded in 1967 as the Ohio College Library Center, then became the Online Computer Library Center as it expanded. In 2017, the name was formally changed to OCLC, Inc. [3] OCLC and its member libraries cooperatively produce and maintain WorldCat, the largest online public access catalog (OPAC) in the world. [5] OCLC is funded mainly by the fees that libraries have to pay for its services (around $200 million annually as of 2016). [1] OCLC also maintains the Dewey Decimal Classification system.

Contents

History

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. 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 [6] and hired Frederick G. Kilgour, a former Yale University medical school librarian, to design the shared cataloging system. [7] Kilgour wished to merge the latest information storage and retrieval system of the time, the computer, with the oldest, the library. 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. The first library to do online cataloging through OCLC was the Alden Library at Ohio University on August 26, 1971. This was the first online cataloging by any library worldwide. [6]

Membership in OCLC is based on use of services and contribution of data. 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. In 2002, the governance structure was again modified to accommodate participation from outside the United States. [8]

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. By 2008, there were 15 independent United States regional service providers. OCLC networks played a key role in OCLC governance, with networks electing delegates to serve on the OCLC Members Council. 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. In early 2009, OCLC negotiated new contracts with the former networks and opened a centralized support center. [9]

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. [5] WorldCat has holding records from public and private libraries worldwide.

The Online Computer Library Center acquired the trademark and copyrights associated with the Dewey Decimal Classification System when it bought Forest Press in 1988. A browser [10] for books with their Dewey Decimal Classifications was available until July 2013; it was replaced by the Classify Service.

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, [11] with its principal office in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

The reference management service QuestionPoint [12] provides libraries with tools to communicate with users. This around-the-clock reference service is provided by a cooperative of participating global libraries.

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. [13]

Software

OCLC commercially sells software, such as CONTENTdm for managing digital collections. [14] It also offers the bibliographic discovery system WorldCat Discovery, which allows for library patrons to use a single search interface to access an institution's catalog, ebooks, database subscriptions and more. [15]

Research

OCLC has been conducting research for the library community for more than 30 years. In accordance with its mission, OCLC makes its research outcomes known through various publications. [16] These publications, including journal articles, reports, newsletters, and presentations, are available through the organization's website.

Advocacy

Advocacy has been a part of OCLC's mission since its founding in 1967. 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." [21] [22]

WebJunction [23] is a division of OCLC funded by a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which provides training services to librarians.

OCLC's advocacy campaign "Geek the Library", started in 2009, highlights the role of public libraries. 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". [24]

Other past advocacy campaigns have focused on sharing the knowledge gained from library and information research. 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. 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." [21]

OCLC partnered with search engine providers in 2003 to advocate for libraries and share information across the broadest possible Internet landscape. Google, Yahoo!, and Ask.com have all collaborated with OCLC to make the WorldCat records searchable through those search engines. [21]

Online database: WorldCat

OCLC's WorldCat database is used by the general public and by librarians for cataloging and research. WorldCat is available to the public for searching via a subscription web-based service called FirstSearch, [25] as well as through the publicly available WorldCat.org. [26]

Identifiers and linked data

OCLC assigns a unique control number (referred to as an "OCN" for "OCLC Control Number") to each new bibliographic record in the WorldCat. Numbers are assigned serially, and as of mid-2013 over a billion OCNs had been created. 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. [27] The control numbers link WorldCat's records to local library system records by providing a common reference key for a record across libraries. [28]

OCNs are particularly useful as identifiers for books and other bibliographic materials that do not have ISBNs (e.g., books published before 1970). OCNs are used as identifiers often in Wikipedia and Wikidata. 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. 5403 Wikidata items have an ISBN associated with them, and 12,262 have OCNs." [29]

OCLC also runs the Virtual International Authority File (VIAF), an international name authority file. VIAF numbers are broadly used as standard idenfitiers.

Company acquisitions

OCLC offices in Leiden (the Netherlands) Schipholweg 99, Leiden.JPG
OCLC offices in Leiden (the Netherlands)

OCLC acquired NetLibrary, a provider of electronic books and textbooks, in 2002 and sold it in 2010 to EBSCO Industries. [30] 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. [31] In July 2006, the Research Libraries Group (RLG) merged with OCLC. [32] [33] On January 11, 2008, OCLC announced [34] that it had purchased EZproxy. It has also acquired OAIster. The process started in January 2009 and from October 31, 2009, OAIster records are freely available via WorldCat.org. In January 2015, OCLC acquired Sustainable Collection Services (SCS). SCS offered consulting services based on analyzing library print collection data to help libraries manage and share materials. [35] In 2017, OCLC acquired Relais International, a library interlibrary loan service provider based in Ottawa, Canada. [36]

Criticism

In May 2008, OCLC was criticized by Jeffrey Beall for monopolistic practices, among other faults. [37] 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". [38]

In November 2008, the Board of Directors of OCLC unilaterally issued a new Policy for Use and Transfer of WorldCat Records [39] that would have required member libraries to include an OCLC policy note on their bibliographic records; the policy caused an uproar among librarian bloggers. [40] 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". [41] [42] Swartz's petition garnered 858 signatures, but the details of his proposed actions went largely unheeded. [40] 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. [40] 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. [43] [44]

In July 2010, the company was sued by SkyRiver, a rival startup, in an antitrust suit. [45] Library automation company Innovative Interfaces joined SkyRiver in the suit. [46] The suit was dropped in March 2013, however, following the acquisition of SkyRiver by Innovative Interfaces. [47]

See also

Related Research Articles

Dewey Decimal Classification Library classification system

The Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC), colloquially the Dewey Decimal System, is a proprietary library classification system first published in the United States by Melvil Dewey in 1876. Originally described in a four-page pamphlet, it has been expanded to multiple volumes and revised through 23 major editions, the latest printed in 2011. It is also available in an abridged version suitable for smaller libraries. OCLC, a non-profit cooperative that serves libraries, currently maintains the system and licenses online access to WebDewey, a continuously updated version for catalogers.

Library Organized collection of books or other information resources

A library is a curated collection of sources of information and similar resources, selected by experts and made accessible to a defined community for reference or borrowing, often in a quiet environment conducive to study. It provides physical or digital access to material, and may be a physical location or a virtual space, or both. A library's collection can include books, periodicals, newspapers, manuscripts, films, maps, prints, documents, microform, CDs, cassettes, videotapes, DVDs, Blu-ray Discs, e-books, audiobooks, databases, and other formats. Libraries range widely in size up to millions of items. In Latin and Greek, the idea of a bookcase is represented by Bibliotheca and Bibliothēkē : derivatives of these mean library in many modern languages, e.g. French bibliothèque.

Interlibrary loan is a service whereby a patron of one library can borrow books, DVDs, music, etc. and/or receive photocopies of documents that are owned by another library. The user makes a request with their home library; which, acting as an intermediary, identifies libraries with the desired item, places the request, receives the item, makes it available to the user, as well as arranges for its return. The lending library usually sets a due date and overdue fees of the material borrowed. Although books and journal articles are the most frequently requested items, some libraries will lend audio recordings, video recordings, maps, sheet music, and microforms of all kinds. In some cases, nominal fees accompany the interlibrary loan services.

Library catalog Register of bibliographic items

A library catalog is a register of all bibliographic items found in a library or group of libraries, such as a network of libraries at several locations. A bibliographic item can be any information entity that is considered library material, or a group of library materials, or linked from the catalog as far as it is relevant to the catalog and to the users (patrons) of the library.

Sanford Berman is a librarian. He is known for radicalism, promoting alternative viewpoints in librarianship, and acting as a proactive information conduit to other librarians around the world. His vehicles of influence include public speaking, voluminous correspondence, and unsolicited "care packages" delivered via the U.S. Postal Service. Will Manley, columnist for the American Library Association (ALA) publication, American Libraries, has praised Berman: "He makes you proud to be a librarian."

WorldCat International union library catalog

WorldCat is a union catalog that itemizes the collections of 17,900 libraries in 123 countries and territories that participate in the OCLC global cooperative. It is operated by OCLC, Inc. The subscribing member libraries collectively maintain WorldCat's database, the world's largest bibliographic database. OCLC makes WorldCat itself available free to libraries, but the catalog is the foundation for other subscription OCLC services. WorldCat is used by the general public and by librarians for cataloging and research.

In library science, authority control is a process that organizes bibliographic information, for example in library catalogs by using a single, distinct spelling of a name (heading) or a numeric identifier for each topic. The word authority in authority control derives from the idea that the names of people, places, things, and concepts are authorized, i.e., they are established in one particular form. These one-of-a-kind headings or identifiers are applied consistently throughout catalogs which make use of the respective authority file, and are applied for other methods of organizing data such as linkages and cross references. Each controlled entry is described in an authority record in terms of its scope and usage, and this organization helps the library staff maintain the catalog and make it user-friendly for researchers.

The Research Libraries Group (RLG) was a U.S.-based library consortium that existed from 1974 until its merger with the OCLC library consortium in 2006. RLG developed the Eureka interlibrary search engine, the RedLightGreen database of bibliographic descriptions, and ArchiveGrid, a database containing descriptions of archival collections. It also developed a framework known as the "RLG Conspectus" for evaluating research library collections, which evolved into a set of descriptors used in library collection policy statements, last updated in 1997. The Library of Congress used the conspectus in 2015 in the revision of its own collection policy statement, and decided to retain this resource on its website, as a helpful scale for judging an academic collection's depth.

Eureka was the user interface for general users of the Research Library Information Network (RLIN), a bibliographic resource containing records from libraries that were members of Research Libraries Group (RLG). Eureka had the capacity to search among approximately 45 million different titles. Most of the catalog was from major research libraries and museums in the United States. Despite the OPAC formulation, Eureka technically was not a public access search engine. It was generally accessible only from networks connected to research institutions such as universities.

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to library science:

National Union Catalog

The National Union Catalog (NUC) is a printed catalog of books catalogued by the Library of Congress and other American and Canadian libraries, issued beginning in the 1950s. The National Union Catalog is divided into two series: the Pre-1956 Imprints is a 754-volume set containing all older records in a consolidated alphabetical format, while post-1955 volumes continue to be published serially. Since 1983, the NUC has been issued on microfiche. It is not related to the National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections (NUCMC).

Fred Kilgour American librarian

Frederick "Fred" Gridley Kilgour was an American librarian and educator known as the founding director of OCLC, an international computer library network and database. He was its president and executive director from 1967 to 1980.

Library technical services are the ongoing maintenance activities of a library's collection, including the three broad areas of collection development, cataloging, and processing. Technical services are the infrastructure that enable the user's experience of many library services.

New York State Library library in Albany, New York

The New York State Library is a research library in Albany, New York, United States. It was established in 1818 to serve the state government of New York and is part of the New York State Education Department. The library is one of the largest in the world by number of items held, with over 20 million cataloged items in 2011.

The Ohio Library and Information Network (OhioLINK) is a consortium of Ohio's college and university libraries and the State Library of Ohio. Serving more than 540,000 students, faculty, and staff at 90 institutions with 118 libraries, OhioLINK's membership includes 16 public universities, 24 community/technical colleges, 50 private colleges and the State Library of Ohio. OhioLINK serves faculty, students, staff and other researchers via campus-based integrated library systems, the OhioLINK central site, and Internet resources.

Faceted search is a technique which involves augmenting traditional search techniques with a faceted navigation system, allowing users to narrow down search results by applying multiple filters based on faceted classification of the items. A faceted classification system classifies each information element along multiple explicit dimensions, called facets, enabling the classifications to be accessed and ordered in multiple ways rather than in a single, pre-determined, taxonomic order.

James G. Neal American librarian


James G. Neal is an American librarian, library administrator, and a prominent figure in American and international library associations.

Library science field that applies the practices, perspectives, and tools of management, information technology, education, and other areas to libraries

Library science is an interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary field that applies the practices, perspectives, and tools of management, information technology, education, and other areas to libraries; the collection, organization, preservation, and dissemination of information resources; and the political economy of information. Martin Schrettinger, a Bavarian librarian, coined the discipline within his work (1808–1828) Versuch eines vollständigen Lehrbuchs der Bibliothek-Wissenschaft oder Anleitung zur vollkommenen Geschäftsführung eines Bibliothekars. Rather than classifying information based on nature-oriented elements, as was previously done in his Bavarian library, Schrettinger organized books in alphabetical order. The first American school for library science was founded by Melvil Dewey at Columbia University in 1887.

Virtual International Authority File international authority file

The Virtual International Authority File (VIAF) is an international authority file. It is a joint project of several national libraries and operated by the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC).

Walt Crawford is an American writer specializing in libraries. He is primarily concerned with technology-related issues in the library sector. He has also written extensively on open access, publishing detailed surveys of gold open access journals based on data in the Directory of Open Access Journals.

References

  1. 1 2 3 2015/2016 OCLC annual report. Dublin, Ohio: OCLC. 2014. OCLC   15601580.
  2. 1 2 "OCLC Consolidated Financial Statements 2015–16" (PDF). OCLC. September 12, 2016. Retrieved May 28, 2017.
  3. 1 2 "Certificate of Amendment of the Amended Articles of Incorporation of OCLC Online Computer Library Center, Inc". Ohio Secretary of State. June 26, 2017. Retrieved August 18, 2019.
  4. "About OCLC". OCLC. Retrieved May 28, 2017.
  5. 1 2 Oswald, Godfrey (2017). "Largest unified international library catalog". Library world records (3rd ed.). Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company. p. 291. ISBN   9781476667775. OCLC   959650095.
  6. 1 2 "In the beginning". oclc.org. OCLC. Retrieved August 28, 2012.
  7. Intner, Sheila (March–April 2007). "The Passing of an Era". Technicalities. 27: 1–14. ISSN   0272-0884.
  8. Bates, Marcia J; Maack, Mary Niles, eds. (2010). Encyclopedia of library and information sciences. V (3rd ed.). Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press. p. 3924. ISBN   9780849397127. OCLC   769480033.
  9. Bailey-Hainer, Brenda (October 19, 2009). "The OCLC Network of Regional Service Providers: The Last 10 Years". Journal of Library Administration. 49 (6): 621–629. doi:10.1080/01930820903238792. ISSN   0193-0826.
  10. "OCLC DeweyBrowser". deweybrowser.oclc.org. Retrieved May 28, 2017.
  11. "Preservation Service Center". OCLC. Archived from the original on December 29, 2003.
  12. "QuestionPoint". OCLC. Retrieved May 28, 2017.
  13. "OCLC prints last library catalog cards". www.oclc.org. October 1, 2015. Retrieved May 28, 2015.
  14. "CONTENTdm". OCLC. Retrieved May 28, 2017.
  15. "WorldCat Discovery". OCLC. Retrieved March 11, 2019.
  16. Hyatt, Shirley; Young, Jeffrey A. (2005). "OCLC Research Publications Repository". D-Lib Magazine. 11 (3). doi:10.1045/march2005-hyatt.
  17. "OCLC Publications" . Retrieved August 28, 2012.
  18. "OCLC Membership Reports" . Retrieved August 28, 2012.
  19. "OCLC Newsletters" . Retrieved August 28, 2012.
  20. "OCLC Presentations" . Retrieved August 28, 2012.
  21. 1 2 3 Rosa, Cathy De (October 22, 2009). "Advocacy and OCLC". Journal of Library Administration. 49 (7): 719–726. doi:10.1080/01930820903260572. ISSN   0193-0826.
  22. Grossman, Wendy M. (January 21, 2009). "Why you can't find a library book in your search engine". The Guardian. ISSN   0261-3077 . Retrieved May 28, 2017.
  23. "WebJunction". Oclc.org. Retrieved April 30, 2014.
  24. "Advocacy: From Awareness to Funding, the next chapter". July 18, 2018.
  25. "FirstSearch: Precision searching of WorldCat". OCLC. Retrieved June 26, 2019.
  26. Hane, Paula J. (July 17, 2006). "OCLC to open WorldCat searching to the world". infotoday.com. Information Today . Retrieved June 26, 2019.
  27. Wallis, Richard (September 24, 2013). "OCLC Declare OCLC Control Numbers Public Domain".
  28. "OCLC Control Number" . Retrieved January 3, 2014.
  29. HangingTogether.org (October 11, 2013). "OCLC Control Numbers in the Wild".
  30. Jordan, Jay (March 17, 2010). "Letter to members 2010". OCLC. Archived from the original on March 26, 2010.
  31. Rogers, Michael (October 30, 2007). "CLC/OCLC Pica Merge". Library Journal. New York. Archived from the original on October 28, 2008.
  32. Wilson, Lizabeth; Neal, James; Jordan, Jay (October 2006). "RLG and OCLC: Combining for the Future" (guest editorial). Library and Information Science. Vol. 6, no. 4. Retrieved via Project Muse database, 2017-06-21.
  33. "RLG to Combine with OCLC" (press release). OCLC Worldwide. May 3, 2006. worldcat.org. Retrieved 2017-06-22.
  34. "News releases". www.oclc.org.
  35. Price, Gary (January 13, 2015). "Print Collections: OCLC Acquires Sustainable Collection Services". Infodocket. Retrieved March 6, 2015.
  36. "OCLC agrees to acquire Relais International to provide library consortia more options for resource sharing". January 17, 2017. Retrieved May 16, 2017.
  37. Beall, Jeffrey (2008). "OCLC: A Review" (PDF). In Roberto, K.R. (ed.). Radical Cataloging: Essays at the Front. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company. pp. 85–93. ISBN   978-0786435432. OCLC   173241123.
  38. Mason, Rick (June 10, 2008). "OCLC: A Review (a review)". libology.com. Retrieved February 7, 2020.
  39. "Policy for Use and Transfer of WorldCat Records". marc.coffeecode.net. Retrieved February 6, 2020. Archived image of OCLC webpage dated November 2, 2008.
  40. 1 2 3 McKenzie, Elizabeth (January 2012). OCLC changes its rules for use of records in WorldCat: library community pushback through blogs and cultures of resistance (Technical report). Boston: Suffolk University Law School. Research paper 12-06.
  41. "Stop the OCLC powergrab!". watchdog.net. February 18, 2009. Archived from the original on February 18, 2009. Retrieved February 6, 2020.
  42. "Stealing Your Library: The OCLC Powergrab (Aaron Swartz's Raw Thought)". aaronsw.com. June 4, 2011. Archived from the original on June 4, 2011. Retrieved February 6, 2020.
  43. Vollmer, Timothy (August 14, 2012). "Library catalog metadata: Open licensing or public domain?". Creative Commons . Retrieved February 6, 2020.
  44. Price, Gary (February 14, 2014). "Metadata/Catalog Records: National Library of Sweden Signs Agreement With OCLC Re: CC0 License". Library Journal . Retrieved February 6, 2020.
  45. Coyle, Karen (July 29, 2010). "SkyRiver Sues OCLC over Anti-Trust". Karen Coyle.
  46. Breeding, Marshall (July 29, 2010). "SkyRiver and Innovative Interfaces File Major Antitrust Lawsuit Against OCLC". Library Journal . Archived from the original on August 2, 2010.
  47. Price, Gary (March 4, 2013). "III Drops OCLC Suit, Will Absorb SkyRiver". Library Journal .

Further reading