DUBLIN, Ohio, April 23, 2009—OCLC is connecting the content, technology and expert capabilities of its member libraries worldwide to create the first Web-scale, cooperative library management service. Member libraries can take the first step to realizing this cooperative service model with a new, "quick start" version of the OCLC WorldCat Local service.
"Our strategy to move library management systems to Web scale builds on OCLC’s 40-year history of innovation and cooperation," said Jay Jordan, OCLC President and CEO. "In 1967, OCLC Founder Fred Kilgour revealed a strategy to create an online union catalog through shared cataloging in order to reduce individual transaction costs for libraries. The result has been WorldCat, which has saved libraries millions of dollars in cataloging and interlibrary loan costs. Today, we are extending that strategy of cooperation to reduce the costs of library management functions such as circulation and acquisitions. Our goal is to lower the total cost of managing library collections while enhancing the library user’s experience."
"Thanks to the pioneering efforts of member libraries that participated in WorldCat Local pilots and those that became early adopters, we now have the opportunity to accelerate the movement of library management services to Web scale through ‘quick start’ and additional services. OCLC will soon name an advisory council that will provide valuable input and experience as we move forward with our cooperative Web-scale library services," said Mr. Jordan.
Libraries that subscribe to FirstSearch WorldCat will get the WorldCat Local "quick start" service as part of their subscription at no additional charge. WorldCat Local "quick start" offers libraries a locally branded catalog interface and simple search box that presents localized search results for print and electronic content along with the ability to search the entire WorldCat database and other resources via the Web.
OCLC plans to release Web-scale delivery and circulation, print and electronic acquisitions, and license management components to WorldCat Local, continuing the integration of library management services to create the Web-scale, cooperative library service. The first pilots for the cooperative delivery and circulation components will start later this year.
This new library service design will support library management for print, electronic and licensed materials built on a new, Web-scale architecture that provides streamlined workflows and cooperative solutions. This Web-scale solution will not only include the functionality of disparate systems, it will interoperate with third-party business process systems, such as finance and human resources, and will reduce the total cost of ownership for libraries. The cooperative nature of the platform will create network effects for libraries with enhanced discovery, resource sharing, and metadata management, and through sharing collection management information, identity management, and collective intelligence fueled by data shared through the cooperative and with partners.
"Visits to libraries, focus groups, and over a decade of engagement in the library automation world have convinced me that libraries require less complexity in their management systems," said Andrew Pace, OCLC Executive Director for Networked Library Services. "To truly deliver network-level services—a platform-as-a-service solution—and not simply Internet-hosted solutions of current library services, new system architectures and workflows must be built that are engineered to support Web-scale transaction rates and Web-scale collaboration. OCLC is in a unique position to create cooperative network effects in library management services on a par with OCLC Cataloging and OCLC Resource Sharing."
OCLC will work with the more than 1,000 libraries and partners that are currently using OCLC library management systems in Europe and Asia Pacific to help build this service. OCLC will continue to develop and support its existing systems in Europe and Asia Pacific. OCLC will accelerate efforts to create robust data-exchange capabilities between OCLC library management systems and the WorldCat platform. Libraries and partners using current OCLC library management systems will be able to participate in this new development by adding Web-based services to their local solutions to extend their services for end users.
In 2006, OCLC launched WorldCat.org, which provides Web access to the world’s richest database for discovery of library materials through a single search box, and through the world’s most popular search engines. To date, more than 25 million user requests have been connected to local libraries from a Web search. WorldCat Local, introduced in 2007, brought this single, integrated search to the library’s own branded Web page.
In July 2009, libraries will be able to start using WorldCat.org as their user interface for the OCLC FirstSearch service, providing integrated access through a single search box to NetLibrary eBooks and eAudiobooks, Electronic Collections Online eJournals, OCLC FirstSearch databases, ArchiveGrid archival collection descriptions and CAMIO (the Catalog of Art Museum Images Online). At the same time, OCLC will add an enhanced, comprehensive search capability to WorldCat Local, which will return all print, electronic and licensed content available to the library from any location.
Founded in 1967 and headquartered in Dublin, Ohio, OCLC is a nonprofit library service and research organization that has provided computer-based cataloging, reference, resource sharing, eContent, preservation, library management and Web services to 71,000 libraries in 112 countries and territories. OCLC and its member libraries worldwide have created and maintain WorldCat, the world’s richest online resource for finding library materials. Search WorldCat.org on the Web at www.worldcat.org. For more information, visit www.oclc.org.