News from OCLC

Newsletter Issue: 
Volume 36, no. 4. December 2016

General News

OCLC Completes Building Renovations to Support Library Technology Innovation: OCLC has completed a year-long renovation to its headquarters in Dublin, Ohio, a project to not only repair the 35-year-old structure but also to purposefully update the environment to support a vibrant, innovative space for staff and member libraries. The newly renovated headquarters includes structural repairs, a refurbished atrium and entrance, updates to an auditorium, new presentation capabilities, videoconference rooms, new kitchen and cafeteria, and new gathering places and work spaces. Pivotal to the design is the addition of a broad, cantilevered stairway in the atrium that connects staff members throughout the building. Since its original construction in 1980, OCLC headquarters has undergone a variety of changes, but few updates. The need for structural and significant maintenance repairs led to consideration of the larger renovation project just completed. OCLC is a leading provider of technologies that serve libraries around the world. Libraries of all types have been undergoing renovations as their mission and service to their communities change. Libraries have incorporated community spaces and advanced technologies to better support users and staff. The renovations at OCLC headquarters also reflect that kind of change. As a membership organization, OCLC welcomes librarians from member libraries around the world to meet and collaborate at its headquarters. The newly renovated headquarters was completed in time for the 2016 IFLA World Library and Information Congress in Columbus in August. OCLC welcomed over a thousand librarians to its Dublin campus for this event, and has hosted several other events for libraries since then. Building renovations were not the only major project OCLC completed this year. In July, OCLC completed the largest technology upgrade in the organization's history. This project involved hundreds of staff members around the world to upgrade hardware, migrate vast amounts of data, and standardize processes to increase service responsiveness for OCLC member libraries and their users for many years to come.

Cataloging and Metadata

Celebrating 45 years of WorldCat: August 26, 2016 was the 45th anniversary of the launch of WorldCat, the world's most comprehensive database of information about library collections. On August 26, 1971, the OCLC Online Union Catalog (now known as WorldCat) began operation. From a single terminal, catalogers at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, were able to catalog 133 books online that day. Today, WorldCat comprises more than 380 million records representing more than 2.4 billion titles in libraries worldwide. Ohio University's Alden Library was the first library to catalog a book online using WorldCat. The title of the first book cataloged in WorldCat: The Rand McNally Book of Favorite Pastimes. Since 1971, 380 million records have been added to WorldCat, spanning more than 5,000 years of recorded knowledge. This unique collection of information encompasses records in a variety of formats—books, e-books, DVDs, digital resources, serials, sound recordings, musical scores, maps, visual materials, mixed materials, computer files, and more. Libraries cooperatively contribute, enhance, and share bibliographic data through WorldCat, connecting people to cultural and scholarly resources in libraries worldwide. Each record in the WorldCat database contains a bibliographic description of a single title or work and a list of institutions that hold the item. Institutions share these records, using them to create local catalogs, arrange interlibrary loans and conduct reference work. Libraries contribute records for titles not found in WorldCat using OCLC shared cataloging systems. When libraries share their data through WorldCat, they support a variety of network services, such as global resource sharing, collection evaluation, and collection management. WorldCat gives people the ability to view library collections from anywhere in the world, giving them access to a rich assortment of information much deeper than what can be found through a basic internet search. There are 491 languages and dialects represented in WorldCat, and 62 percent of records are in languages other than English. WorldCat makes it possible for libraries to share data and improve the visibility and accessibility of library resources where users begin their searches. Once records have been added to WorldCat, they can be discovered on the Web through popular websites and through On average, a bibliographic record is added to WorldCat every second. To watch WorldCat grow in real time, visit the OCLC website.


National Central Library of Rome Adds Catalog Collections to WorldCat:

The National Central Library of Rome (Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Roma) has loaded nearly 2 million records into WorldCat, the world's most comprehensive database of information about library collections, to increase visibility of these Italian collections around the world. The National Central Library of Rome holds a large number of special collections and print materials dating back to the 15th century with more than 7,000,000 printed volumes, 1,342,154 brochures, 25,000 cinquecentine (16thcentury books), 20,000 maps, 10,000 drawings, 8,000 manuscripts, and 2,000 incunabula. Following the initial load of 2 million records, the National Central Library of Rome will continue to add records to WorldCat. The mission of the National Central Library of Rome is to capture, collect, and describe the national published record of Italy and the most important foreign publications, particularly those that relate to Italy. This work is vital in making the Italian published record visible to its citizens and around the world. By uploading the records to WorldCat, the National Central Library of Rome will make them discoverable to international users through the Web.


Discovery and Reference

OCLC and SCONUL Partner for Virtual Reference Service:

OCLC and the Society of College, National, and University Libraries (SCONUL) announced a new agreement for the provision of collaborative after-hours virtual reference services in the United Kingdom and Ireland. The agreement is based on the successful initial pilot and now, established service, run with The Northern Collaboration consortium of libraries. The service is provided by OCLC using its QuestionPoint software. QuestionPoint provides a complete virtual reference management system, integrating chat, e-mail, a reference knowledge base, reports, and analytic tools to give a complete view of reference activity. This global community of reference professionals ensures member virtual reference services are staffed around the clock. To date, 33 universities have signed up to use QuestionPoint as part of the SCONUL agreement. The group will be supported by the global QuestionPoint 24/7 reference cooperative, complemented by OCLC-employed 24/7 librarians. More about the SCONUL virtual out-of-hours reference service is at Visit the OCLC website to learn more about QuestionPoint and the global 24/7 Reference Cooperative.


Management Services and Systems


University College London Selects OCLC SCS for Collection Management:

OCLC announced that University College London (UCL) has selected OCLC Sustainable Collection Services to analyze over 2 million print monographs across 19 library sites and inform decisions about relegation, retention, and potential shared print collection management. UCL will use the web-based SCS GreenGlass decision-support application to analyze their own print collections and those held in other libraries. UCL will also include its owned e-books in the project, enabling GreenGlass to identify print books that are also held as e-books, adding a format dimension to the analysis. The data will then be used to formulate strategies around retention, storage and possible collaborative collection management initiatives. News of the agreement follows closely similar announcements from the Universities of Leeds, Sheffield, and York. Publication of an OCLC Research report in collaboration with Research Libraries UK (RLUK) discusses the challenges of managing group collection management, particularly with regard to preservation and storage.


OCLC WMS Global User Community Gathers in Dublin:

More than 120 library professionals from around the world met at OCLC in Dublin, Ohio, to offer best practices and discuss their experiences with WorldShare Management Services (WMS), the cloud based cooperative library management system. The first-ever OCLC WMS Global Community & User Group Meeting, September 19-20, was an opportunity for WMS users worldwide to share insights, workflows, and enhancement ideas with library peers and with OCLC product management and development teams. Since the introduction of WMS five years ago, more than 500 libraries spanning 6 continents—Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, North America, and South America—have selected WorldShare Management Services as their library management system. Librarians from Australia, South Africa, United Arab Emirates, and the Netherlands participated in this global meeting. WMS users have been gathering since 2013 at more than a dozen regional meetings hosted by WMS community libraries. This is the first time users have gathered in one place—at OCLC in Dublin—for a global community meeting. Nearly 50 presenters and panelists actively shared insights in multiple community-led tracks with meeting participants—along with OCLC product, support, and development staff—setting a new standard for community collaboration. The WMS Community Leadership Planning Team was instrumental in arranging this event. The team was comprised of: Noah Brubaker, PALNI (Private Academic Library Network of Indiana); Katy Gabrio, Macalester College; Jackie DeLong, Radford University; Michael Winecoff, University of North Carolina Charlotte; and Helene Blowers, OCLC. WorldShare Management Services is the complete, cloud-based library management system that offers the applications needed to manage a library, including Acquisitions, Circulation, Metadata, Resource Sharing, License Management, and a single-search Discovery interface for library users. WMS also includes a range of Reports that help libraries understand their activities and track key metrics over time.


Murdoch University is First Australian Library to Use OCLC SCS:

OCLC announced that Murdoch University Library, in Perth, Western Australia, has selected OCLC's Sustainable Collection Services to analyze its print monograph collections. Murdoch will use the web-based SCS GreenGlass decision-support application to undertake a large-scale review of its print collections, seeking to integrate data on usage and holdings in other libraries into its decisions to retain, relocate, or deselect resources. The project includes over 300,000 print monographs, reference books, and audio-visual materials. Murdoch expects that the data-driven approach of GreenGlass will not only inform collection strategies, but will make the process efficient and cost-effective. For GreenGlass, adaptation to Australian libraries represents a key component of a broader internationalization strategy, as libraries worldwide seek new tools and techniques for managing print collections. Murdoch University staff worked closely with SCS staff to ensure the GreenGlass application could support the collection management needs of the university, and other libraries in Australia.


University of Gloucestershire Selects OCLC WorldShare Management Service:

The University of Gloucestershire has selected WorldShare Management Services (WMS) as its new library management system. WMS is the library services platform that offers all the applications needed to manage a library, including acquisitions, circulation, metadata, resource sharing, license management, and a single-search discovery interface for library users. WMS also includes a range of reports that help libraries better understand their activities and track key metrics over time. A large part of the appeal of WMS for the University of Gloucestershire was having the chance to be part of the OCLC library cooperative, according to the library director of information technology. WMS libraries work together through the cloud-based WorldShare environment. Librarians are able to connect with one another, share experience and contribute ideas and best practices. Since the introduction of WMS five years ago, more than 500 libraries spanning 6 continents—Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, North America, and South America—have selected WorldShare Management Services.


Digital Collections Services


Culinary Institute of America Shares Historical Menus with CONTENTdm:

The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) has used CONTENTdm since 2013 to shine a light on its collection of 30,000 historical menus. The CIA opened its doors in 1946, and is known as the world’s premier culinary college. The CIA is focused on training leaders in foodservice and hospitality. This selection of menus from The Culinary Institute of America Menu Collection dates back to 1855. The collection has been assembled over many decades and it illustrates the diverse history of fine dining in America and around the world. Though the collection includes menus from the Hudson Valley region and from CIA restaurants and hotels in New York state and New York City, menus from all 50 states and 80 countries are represented. Menus are also included from various modes of travel such as: ships, railroads, and airlines. The CIA used CONTENTdm’s customization capability to make all of the menus searchable by keyword via a search box on the collection’s main page. CONTENTdm provides the Website Configuration Tool for branding and tailoring the appearance and behavior of key elements of CONTENTdm websites. This tool enables site configuration by setting default values, enabling or disabling components, choosing colors, fonts and styles, and describing websites and collections. All of this is accomplished without programming skills. The CIA’s collection includes holiday menus for New Year’s, Valentine’s Day, Washington’s Birthday, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, Mother’s Day, The Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. These menus highlight that favorite holiday celebrations are often centered on food. As part of these celebrations, restaurants and hotels often produced special menus for holiday meals. These holiday menus expanded on daily menus, and they were elaborately designed and listed some of the finest foods that were being served at that time and place. The Institute receives help from students to add menus to its digital collection. In October 2016, the CIA held a Transcribathon, a marathon at which a group of students spent time transcribing menus. For this event, the Conrad N. Hilton Library provided instructions and all of the tools that the CIA students needed to transcribe menus. They incentivized participants with food, drinks, games, and prizes. When the CIA adds menus to its digital collection, staff make sure there is a transcription so that the menu is fully searchable. The CIA menus are part of the CIA Archives and Special Collections, housed in the Conrad N. Hilton Library. The library partnered with the Hudson River Valley Heritage and Southeastern New York Library Resources Council to start this digital collection and then they purchased their own system.


OCLC Research

Rachel Frick Named Executive Director, OCLC Research Library Partnership:
​OCLC is pleased to announce the appointment of Rachel Frick as Executive Director, OCLC Research Library Partnership. Frick will lead the program of OCLC Research that undertakes significant, innovative, collective action to benefit scholars and researchers. In this role, she will direct a team of program officers who are widely recognized for their efforts to advance innovation, learning, and connecting libraries to the future. Frick has nearly 20 years of broad-based library experience, most recently with the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) where she was Director of Business Development. In this position, she worked on DPLA's sustainability plan and forged new relationships and strategic partnerships to build DPLA's visibility and impact, such as the Open eBooks program. This program brings together a coalition of literacy, library, and technology partners who joined together to create an app that makes thousands of popular and award-winning titles free for children from low-income households. Prior to her work at DPLA, Frick served as the Digital Library Federation (DLF) Program Director at the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) for four years. In her capacity as DLF Director, she was instrumental in building a large and diverse community of practitioners, working to advance research, teaching, and learning through the application of digital library research, technology, and services. Frick held senior positions at the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and the University of Richmond, among other roles. She is widely known in the library, archive, and museum world for her vision, creative problem solving, and organizational knowledge. Frick began at OCLC on September 19.

OCLC and Internet Archive Work to Ensure Sustainability of Persistent URLs:
OCLC and Internet Archive announced the results of a year-long cooperative effort to ensure the future sustainability of The organizations have worked together to build a new sustainable service hosted by Internet Archive that will manage persistent URLs and sub-domain redirections for,,, and Since its introduction by OCLC in 1995, has become a key part of the Web, providing a source of Persistent URLs (PURLs) that redirect users to the correct hosting location for documents, data, and websites as they change over time. With more than 2,500 users, including publishing and metadata organizations such as the Dublin Core Metadata Initiative (DCMI), has become important to the smooth functioning of the Web, data on the Web, and the Semantic Web in particular. All previous PURL definitions have been transferred to Internet Archive and can continue to be maintained by their owners through a new web-based interface. Continued sustainability, a new modern administration interface, and the removal or redirection of invalid URLs to a historical snapshot are significant improvements that both organizations welcome in this new service.