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OCLC Online Computer Library Center was founded in 1967 and originally named the Ohio College Library Center (OCLC). It is a nonprofit, membership, computer library service and research organization dedicated to the public purpose of furthering access to the world's information and reducing information costs. More than 53,500 libraries in 96 countries and territories around the world use OCLC services to locate, acquire, catalog, lend and preserve library materials. The organization's offices are located in Dublin, Ohio.

OCLC is part-owner (with Stichting PICA) of OCLC PICA, a library automation systems and services company, which has its headquarters in Leiden in the Netherlands.

How it works

Researchers, students, faculty, scholars, professional librarians and other information seekers use OCLC services to obtain bibliographic, abstract and full-text information when and where they need it.

OCLC and its member libraries cooperatively produce and maintain WorldCat—the OCLC Online Union Catalog, the largest OPAC in the world. WorldCat contains holding records from most public and private libraries worldwide. WorldCat is available through many libraries and university computer networks.

The Open WorldCat program makes records of library-owned materials in OCLC's WorldCat database available to Web users on popular Internet search, bibliographic and bookselling sites. OCLC member libraries' catalogs are more accessible from the sites where many people start their search for information.

Open WorldCat records may be accessed through Google or Yahoo's advanced search features, by simply limiting the scope of a search to the site or domain "" In the fall of 2004, the Open WorldCat collection was expanded to include information about all WorldCat records.

In October 2005, the OCLC technical staff began a wiki-like project that allows readers and librarians to add commentary, and structured-field information, associated with any WorldCat record.

Online database

OCLC maintains a database for cataloging and searching purposes which is used by librarians and the public. OCLC Passport was one of the computer programs used. Connexion was introduced in 2001 and replaced Passport when it was phased out in May of 2005.

This database contains records in MAchine Readable Cataloging (MARC) format contributed by library catalogers worldwide who use OCLC as a cataloging tool. These MARC format records are then downloaded into the libraries local catalog systems to drive their online catalogs. This allows libraries worldwide to find and download records for materials they want to add to their local catalog without having to go through the tedious process of cataloging them each individually.

As of November 2005, their database contains over 62,250,000 cataloged items. It remains the world's largest bibliographic database. Connexion is available to professional librarians both as a computer program or on the web at

WorldCat is also available to the public for searching through a web-based service called FirstSearch, as well as through the Open WorldCat program.

Dewey Decimal System

The Online Computer Library Center acquired the trademark and copyrights associated with the Dewey Decimal System when it bought Forest Press in 1988.


WebJunction is a division of OCLC funded by a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

OCLC Regional Service Providers

Regional service providers contract with OCLC to provide support and training for OCLC services. This chart represtents ONLY OCLC services

Name Region Website
Amigos Library Services, Inc. Arizona, Arkansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas
BCR (Bibiographic Center for Research Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming
ILLINET Illinois
MINITEX Library Information Network Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota
MLC (Michigan Library Consortium) Michigan
MLNC (Missouri Library Network Corporation Missouri
NEBASE Nebraska
NELINET Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont
Nylink New York
OCLC CAPCON Service Center
OCLC Western Service Center
OCLC Asia Pacific
OCLC Canada
OCLC Latin America
OCLC Middle East and Northern Africa

External links

de:Online Computer Library Center

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