In the last year or so, OCLC has made several moves to expand its position in its core areas of service: resource sharing and resource management.
Resource sharing has been one of OCLC's core services since its inception. Once its cooperative cataloging service was in operation in 1971, it introduced its interlibrary loan service in 1979. Through the subsequent four decades, OCLC has continually expanded its resource sharing products and services. In recent years, OCLC has consolidated its position in this sector. Its acquisition of Relais International in January 2017 brought the leading peer-to-peer direct consortial platforms into its fold. This category of product enables library consortia to save costs and gain efficiencies by lending materials among its members. OCLC's CBS (Central Bibliographic System) also provides a platform for resource sharing for national and regional library networks. The combination of WorldShare ILL, Relais D2D, and CBS give OCLC a globally dominant position in the realm of resource sharing.
OCLC has a less dominant position in the realm of resource management systems, including both integrated library systems (ILS) and library services platforms. Its WorldShare Management Services (WMS) holds a secondary place to Alma from Ex Libris among the library services platforms oriented to academic libraries. Over the last two decades OCLC has also acquired a number of ILS products, primarily from European providers, such as LBS from PICA, Fretwell-Downing, Sisis Informationssysteme, Amlib, BOND, and most recently HKA (Huijsmans en Kuijpers Automatisering). Until recently, these products seemed to represent a fragmented slate of ILS products, each serving a specific country or region. WMS has proven to be a strong product for academic libraries that has attracted academic libraries from almost all global regions. Around 500 libraries have adopted the product to date. In the same way that WMS represents OCLC's strategic offering for academic and national libraries, the Wise platform acquired through HKA has emerged as its strategic offering for public libraries. Although OCLC made some tentative efforts to market WMS to public libraries, it has seen limited results. The combination of WMS and Wise give OCLC strong offerings for resource management across all types of libraries.
This issue of Smart Libraries Newsletter features two recent initiatives from OCLC. We take a closer look at OCLC Wise and its launch to US public libraries as well as the new Syndeo suite of services that will enable WorldCat to provide customized capabilities for union catalogs and resource sharing according to the needs of national and regional networks.