OCLC ranks as one of the prominent organizations in the library services arena, with increasing involvement in technology products. The progress of WorldShare Management Services (WMS), WorldCat Local and WorldCat Discovery, its acquired ILS products, as well as its resource sharing platforms and its collection analysis services have been covered in previous issues of Smart Libraries Newsletter. Recent months have brought incremental movement on multiple fronts, including ongoing adoption of WMS, new subscribers to its print collection analysis tools, and new appointments to its governing boards.
OCLC's Position in The Netherlands Strengthens
OCLC has been involved in resource sharing and library automation services in The Netherlands since its initial investment in PICA B.V. in April 1999. While it provides services throughout Europe, The Netherlands has been a focal point of activity. In the more than 15 years that have since transpired, the CBS platform for union catalog and resource sharing for consortia and the Lokaal Bibliotheek Systeem (LBS) integrated library system created by PICA continue to see use in many European libraries, with migrations to new systems beginning to take place only in recent years.
Most recently, the University of Groningen in The Netherlands selected WMS to replace its current LBS Lokaal Bibliotheek Systeem. The LBS integrated library system, originally developed by PICA, continues to be supported by OCLC as part of the portfolio of products managed by its EMEA division. The University of Groningen participates in the UKB consortium, which in February 2014 engaged with OCLC to migrate its metadata management, resource sharing, and discovery infrastructure to OCLC's WorldShare Platform. This move paved the way for member institutions to also move to WMS as their primary automation system. Subsequently Delft University of Technology, Maastricht University, Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam, and now University of Groningen have announced plans to migrate to WMS. UKB member Tilburg University had previously implemented WMS as an early adopter.
The majority of public libraries in The Netherlands also rely on automation systems supported by OCLC. In October 2013 OCLC acquired the Dutch library systems provider Huijsmans en Kuijpers Automatisering. As reported in the November 2013 issue of Smart Libraries Newsletter, HKA's bicatWise has been implemented in two-thirds of Dutch public libraries. At the time of the acquisition, the purchase price for HKA was not announced. OCLC's audited financial report for fiscal 2014-15, released in November 2015, indicates that HKA was acquired for €8,519,300, equivalent at that time to $11,523,200, financed via a bank loan for €6,500,000.
Adoption of WorldShare Management Services
Consistent with the practices of other providers of major library automation products, OCLC makes announcements of selected organizations that license WMS. In addition to those mentioned in press announcements, it can be understood that many other libraries have licensed the product. Announcements of libraries selecting WMS in recent months include:
- University of Groningen in the Netherlands, migrating from OCLC LBS (announced Dec 2015).
- West Virginia University, including related institutions totaling nine libraries, migrating from Ex Libris Voyager.
- Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam, migrating from Infor Vubis Smart.
- Scion, a research institute in New Zealand (no migration data available).
- American University of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates, migrating from Innovative Sierra.
- Five Canadian theological or academic institution: Carey Theological College, Regent College, St. Mark's College, and Vancouver School of Theology all migrating from Innovative Millennium; and Portage College, migrating from Symphony.
- Winthrop University in South Carolina, migrating from Innovative Sierra.
- John Cabot University in Rome, migrating from SirsiDynix Horizon.
- Four major universities in Kentucky: Eastern Kentucky University, Kentucky State University, Northern Kentucky University, and the University of Louisville, all migrating from Ex Libris Voyager.
OCLC reports that 380 libraries now have implemented WMS. Library Technology Guides lists 325 in its libraries.org database.
As a nonprofit corporation, OCLC provides detailed financial information, both in in the Form 990, filed with the IRS and required to be made available for public inspection, and in the audited financial statements it issues as part of its Annual Report to its membership. The for-profit companies in the industry do not have the same expectation to provide detailed financial information. The data compiled from the OCLC 990 forms indicates that WMS represents a growing portion of its revenue. The categories of revenue provided on the last two 990 filings include one called Management Systems, that includes WMS as well as the legacy ILS products. This category grew from about $20 million in fiscal 2011–12 to $32 million in 2013–14. End-user services, including discovery products also show growth. These filings document that metadata and resource sharing services continue as the largest categories of revenue for OCLC. Reporting these observations should not be taken as closer scrutiny of OCLC than the for-profit companies, but rather as taking advantage of available data to better understand the dynamics of its products and services and its position in the broader industry.
|Financial data Compiled from OCLC Form 990|
|Resource Sharing Services||50,533,087||46,554,421||48,534,364|
|End User Services||25,437,686||22,497,240||21,565,022|
|Other Program or service Revenue||5,229,198||13,456,738||8,839,524|
|Web linking and Miscellaneous||102,583||80,263||84,657|
|Sales of Assets||27,923,574||7,461,751||7,870,419|
|Sales of Inventory||0||148,356||671,253|
OCLC Expands Print Storage Services
OCLC has also recently expanded its capacity to assist libraries with the management and storage of their print collections. In January 2015, OCLC acquired Sustainable Collection Services (SCS) from its founders. Even prior to the acquisition, SCS worked closely with OCLC, making use of WorldCat and related collection analysis tools and services. Rick Lugg, Executive Director of SCS, and its other three staff members became OCLC employees at that time. Although the financial details were not mentioned at the time, the recent OCLC financial report indicates that the company was acquired for $2,172,000 with the possibility of a future payment of $1,260,000 if future performance goals are met.
SCS developed an application called GreenGlass, a web-based set of analytical tools for assessing print collections of academic libraries and to assist in making decisions regarding deselection or shifting to remote storage of print titles. The tools are based on an export of the bibliographic and holdings data for its print monographic collection data from its ILS which are then compared with other key resources such as WorldCat, HathiTrust, and Choice. Analysis is based on other libraries identified as peers, and what materials are available locally, regionally, or are in HathiTrust and lists of candidate titles for deselection or transfer are produced.
OCLC reports that more than 200 libraries have worked with SCS. The University of Sheffield announced in November 2015 its adoption of the SCS for assistance in managing its print collection and will be the first library outside of the UK to license the SCS GreenGlass application.
The Board of Trustees plays a key role in the governance of OCLC. This board hires the President and provides high-level oversight, auditing, and advice. The board's 14 members come primarily from leadership positions in OCLC member libraries. Board members are appointed for 2-year terms, can be reappointed, and are compensated. OCLC provides detailed information on the policies and justification for compensation of its board members and reports specific amounts on its annual IRS Form 990 tax filings. In addition to the Board of Trustees, a Global Council and multiple Regional Councils participate in the governance of OCLC.
Given their influential roles, appointments to the OCLC Board of Trustees are worth noting. OCLC announced in November 2015 that Barbra Preece, Director of the Loyola Notre Dame University library will join its Board of Trustees. A previous round of appointments effective November 2014 include Brady J. Deaton, Chancellor Emeritus, University of Missouri; Kathleen Keane, Director, Johns Hopkins University Press; John F. Szabo, City Librarian of the Los Angeles Public Library; and Ellen Tise, Senior Director, Library and Information Services, Stellenbosch University South Africa. Sandra Yee, Dean of University Libraries and School of Library and Information Science at Wayne State University serves as the chair of the OCLC Board of Trustees.