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OCLC WorldCat®

OCLC WorldCat 2,000,000,000 holdings graphic

2,000,000,000
holdings and growing...

On May 4, the University of Alberta Libraries created the 2,000,000,000th holding record in WorldCat, marking a major milestone for this unique library resource. For the past 40 years, libraries like yours have worked together to build, sustain and improve WorldCat. These cooperative efforts get information seekers to the answers they need, and help other libraries be more efficient.


Today’s information consumers need easy, intuitive access to a comprehensive collection of the wealth of resources libraries make available. WorldCat provides a hub for that data, as well as services and applications to find anything held in library collections, efficiently and quickly from anywhere.


A foundation of shared data

WorldCat represents a “collective collection” of the world’s libraries, built through the contributions of librarians, expanded and enhanced through individual, regional and national programs. WorldCat represents the electronic and digital materials most in demand by information seekers, as well as the important, unique items found only in local libraries.

WorldCat connects library users to hundreds of millions of electronic resources, including e-books, licensed databases, online periodicals and collections of digital items. The WorldCat knowledge base combines data about your library’s electronic resources and linking features that enable access to the content and help you manage the workflows associated with these materials.

As the needs of libraries and their users expand, OCLC is working with libraries to collect, manage and share new types of library data.

  • More data about the library’s “collective collection”: e-books and licensed materials, special collections, open access materials
  • More institutional data: vendor records, patron data and library information, such as open hours and lending policies
  • Transactional and workflow data: acquisitions and circulations data, resolver transactions, knowledge base transactions, search and interlibrary lending

Discovery and delivery at Webscale

OCLC’s discovery services allow libraries to expand their visibility and reach on the Web by connecting information seekers directly to the relevant information in their collections. WorldCat.org makes the items in libraries’ collections visible and available on the open Web. WorldCat Local customizes and enhances this service for a specific institution or consortium.

Partnerships with major search engines and hundreds of other content suppliers and aggregators provide discovery and delivery of library materials in the broadest Web environment. Library materials are integrated into the workflows of scholars, researchers and information seekers.

Latest initiatives: Linked data

Linked data refers to a set of best practices for publishing and connecting structured data on the Web. Built on general Web technologies, linked data uses URIs (generic Web-addressable identifiers to identify entities or concepts in the world) and RDF (a generic method of describing links between structured data in a graph-based data model).

The opportunities that linked data provides to the global library community are important and are in line with OCLC’s core strategy of “collaboratively building Webscale with libraries.” Linked data is one of the ways OCLC can help libraries increase their presence and discoverability on the Web.

Learn more about linked data at OCLC »

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Featured videos

Linked Data for Libraries


14 minutes

A short introduction to the concepts and technology behind linked data, how it works, and some benefits it brings to libraries.

Managing Metadata for E-book Collections


2 minutes

Holly Tomren, Head of Metadata Services at Drexel University, shares her library's experience as a beta test site for the new OCLC WorldShare Metadata collection management functionality.

We are a worldwide library cooperative, owned, governed and sustained by members since 1967. Our public purpose is a statement of commitment to each other—that we will work together to improve access to the information held in libraries around the globe, and find ways to reduce costs for libraries through collaboration. Learn more »