Online Computer Library Centre (OCLC)

Online Computer Library Centre (OCLC): OCLC is a library network of USA. In 1967, the presidents of the colleges and universities in the state of Ohio founded the Ohio College Library Center (OCLC) to develop a computerized system in which the libraries of Ohio academic institutions could share resources and reduce costs. It was established under the guidance of library automation pioneer Frederic Kilgour. In 1977, the Ohio members of OCLC adopted changes in the governance structure that enabled libraries outside Ohio to become members and participate in the election of the Board of Trustees; the Ohio College Library Center became OCLC, Inc. In 1981, the legal name of the corporation became Online Computer Library Center, Inc (OCLC) <>.

a) Objectives: The objectives of OCLC are

i) To establish, maintain and operate a computerized library network and to promote the evolution of library use, of libraries themselves and of librarianship;

ii) To provide processes and products for the benefit of library users and libraries;

iii) To Increase the availability of library resources to individual library patrons and to reduce the rate-of-rise of library per-unit costs, and

iv) To further the ease of access to and the use of the ever-expanding body of worldwide scientific, literary and educational knowledge and information.

b) Membership:  Together OCLC member libraries make up the world's largest consortium. More than 53 thousand libraries in 96 countries and territories around the world use OCLC services to locate, acquire, catalogue, lend and preserve library materials.

c) Functions and Activities

i) Cataloguing and Metadata: OCLC offers full-service online cataloguing, simple copy cataloguing, MARC record collections, offline cataloguing, customized OCLC cataloguing from library’s materials vendor, automated copy cataloguing for materials purchased and custom cataloguing serviced.

ii) Dewey Decimal Classification System: OCLC administers the Dewey Decimal Classification system, the most widely used library classification system in the world. It also provides WebDewey, the online version that is continually updated.

iii) Open WorldCat: WorldCat is the world’s largest bibliographic database. The Open WorldCat programme makes it feasible to internet users who broadly search the Web at popular search portals to discover materials owned by OCLC libraries. Current Open WorldCat participants include Yahoo! Search ( and Google (

iv) OCLC Research:  OCLC’s 25-year-old Research arm furthers the science of librarianship by incubating new information access and exchange technologies, sponsoring the work of library scientists and serving on global standards bodies (including those of the Dublin Core and Open Archives initiatives).

v) Digitization and Preservation: OCLC’s digitization, microfilm and archival services are designed to protect, share, and manage collections. The Intercat and Persistent Uniform Resource Locators (PURLs) are such project of OCLC.

vi) Standardization: OCLC Terminologies Service provides single interface to access multiple thesauruses. Access often-used controlled vocabularies such as mesh, gmgpc, gsafd, lctgm, ngl and dct.

vii) Publication: OCLC regularly develops and publishes studies and other informational documents that all libraries can use for "future-forward" planning. Recent reports include:

“2004 Information Format Trends: Content, Not Containers”, “The 2003 OCLC Environmental Scan: Pattern Recognition”, etc.

viii) Mailing Lists and Forum: “WebJunction” is a Web-based community dedicated to the emerging technology and training needs of librarians. It was funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s U.S. Library Program, and coordinated by OCLC and other partners. WebJunction feature articles, handouts, courses and forum discussions address the real issues that librarians and library staff face everyday. OCLC also maintains groups and forums to foster and maintain communication with its members.

ix) Others: NetLibrary provides full-text digital books, journals, newspapers and other published works in hundreds of subject areas. NetLibrary, OCLC's eBook division, recently celebrated the surpassing of the 58,000-title milestone. The Electronic Collections Online provides easy Web access to thousands of full-text academic and professional journals.

The Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) is a nonprofit, membership based, computer library service and research organization dedicated to the public purposes of furthering access to the world's information and reducing information costs. Its Headquarters is in Dublin, Ohio, USA.