OCLC agreement

OCLC services available under the agreement

  • Unlimited search and cataloguing access to WorldCat for Libraries Australia subscribers and their end users.
  • Engagement with the OCLC WorldCat Cataloguing Partners (WCP) 'Basic' service.

The agreement does NOT include access to other OCLC services such as FirstSearch or OCLC Resource Sharing.  Libraries wishing to use other OCLC services will need to maintain their current arrangements with OCLC.

What is OCLC's WorldCat Cataloguing Partners (WCP) 'Basic' service?

WCP's Basic service provides MARC records for materials purchased through participating vendors. Libraries Australia bibliographic records are included in WorldCat and are available to libraries that use the WCP service.Libraries Australia  members that use the WCP service have the option of receiving their records directly from OCLC or as a Libraries Australia product. They also have the option of having their WCP records sent to the ANBD directly from OCLC or adding them via their Record Import Service files.

More information about WCP, including a list of participating vendors is available on OCLC's WorldCat Cataloguing Partners web page.

Who's included in the agreement?

The agreement covers all Libraries Australia subscribers in Australia including CAUL and NSLA members. Libraries need to be Libraries Australia subscribers to gain access to WorldCat through the agreement.

Agreement Period

The agreement commenced on 1 July 2007. It was renewed in July 2014 for a further four years.


OCLC has defined the minimum threshold for member engagement as the contribution of records (bibliographic and/or holdings) to WorldCat via Libraries Australia over the last 3 years.  OCLC provides advice on membership and governance through a set of documents given as follows: WorldCat principles of Cooperation; Guidelines for contributions to WorldCat; and the Membership & Governance Protocols.

Any member can participate in governance and bring resolutions to OCLC management through the Global Council via one of 3 Regional Councils: OCLC Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA); OCLC Asia Pacific; and OCLC the Americas.

Libraries Australia members can participate in meetings of the Asia Pacific Regional Council and send Member Delegates to the Global Council. The Regional Council holds an annual meeting, and each country in each region is also entitled to hold an annual meeting. These meetings, which are attended by OCLC management and members of the OCLC Board of Trustees, serve as a forum for exchanging ideas and raising issues. See OCLC's Governance web page for more information.

ANBD records in WorldCat

Most ANBD bibliographic records which have holdings attached are uploaded to WorldCat. A small number of records which have been supplied to the ANBD by commercial suppliers are excluded where the supplier does not allow Libraries Australia to provide them to OCLC. Also under the agreement, existing and future WorldCat bibliographic records with Australian library holdings are uploaded to the ANBD.

If libraries want to remove any of their records from WorldCat they need to contact OCLC on bibchange@oclc.org

Accessing WorldCat through Libraries Australia

Libraries can search and obtain copy catalogue records from WorldCat using Libraries Australia Search, Libraries Australia Cataloguing Client or the Libraries Australia Z39.50 Gateway.

How to access WorldCat using Z39.50:

See our Z39.50 service page and Z39.50 connection details for WorldCat

You may also wish to read OCLC's Search tips for Z39.50 cataloging.

Workflow examples using WorldCat

The options below are based on the following scenario: You want to catalogue an item. You search the ANBD to find a matching record (or close match) for the item in hand. There are no hits, so you search WorldCat and find a result.

The following methods of searching and contributing records are suggested:

  • Search WorldCat (using Libraries Australia Search) and use Webcat to download the record to the ANBD and add holdings. The record is then exported to your local system via the Record Export Service.
  • Search WorldCat (using the Libraries Australia Cataloguing Client) and copy the record into the ANBD and add holdings. The record is then exported to your local system via the Record Export Service.
  • Search WorldCat (via your local client using the Libraries Australia z39.50 Gateway)and copy the record to your local system, add holdings, and then send the record via the Record Import Service to the ANBD.

Search/Retrieval via URL Record Update (SRU Record Update)

SRU Record Update went live in January 2009. It supports the near real-time updating of WorldCat with records from Libraries Australia. It ensures that Australian library data in WorldCat is up to date.  See the document: OCLC and Libraries Australia achieve breakthough in timeliness accessible from our media releases page.

The initial load of Libraries Australia data into WorldCat commenced on 16 March and was completed on 30 April 2008.  Two gap loads were completed in the second half of 2008.  The implementation of SRU Record Update completes the project to load, synchronise and maintain Australian library holdings in WorldCat.

How does SRU Record Update work between WorldCat and Libraries Australia?

In Libraries Australia when holdings are added to a new bibliographic record, or if holdings are added to an existing bibliographic record, changed or deleted, the record is sent to WorldCat.  Libraries Australia receives an OCLC bibliographic record identifier which is inserted into the Libraries Australia record, if an OCLC identifier is not already present.

The OCLC record identifiers provide a valuable new key for matching records when they are exchanged between Australian libraries, Libraries Australia and WorldCat. The OCLC identifier enables libraries to improve support for deep linking from WorldCat to their local library system. A concordance file of ANBD and OCLC record identifiers is available for purchase. OCLC identifiers also allow OCLC Work Level Identifiers to be used to provide improved displays of search results.  Libraries Australia uses them to build work cluster displays in Trove and the presence of these identifiers in records will allow libraries to use the OCLC Work Set Algorithm to improve displays in their own catalogues.

The WorldCat data loads including SRU Record Update do not include records for which Libraries Australia does not have the rights to copy the data, this includes some records for electronic and microform resources.

Read more about this technology at the Library of Congress's SRU Record Update web page.

Agreement History

The National Library has been attempting to build a closer relationship with OCLC for many years. At the same time, OCLC has been expanding the scope of WorldCat to provide a global catalogue of library holdings and has substantially changed its position on how it relates to Libraries Australia.  The merger of RLG and OCLC provided a new imperative for development of a closer relationship to support the cataloguing needs of libraries currently using the RLG Union Catalogue through Libraries Australia.  Savings gained through this merger were passed onto subscribers. A closer relationship will also allow Australian libraries to benefit from OCLC research and development and service improvements.

This agreement builds on a previous agreement which provided 'small libraries' (excluding CAUL and NSLA members) with charge per search access to WorldCat. (It also builds on the National Library’s contract with OCLC EMEA for the use of their CBS software to support the Libraries Australia Cataloguing service.)

The National Library believes that this agreement is of great benefit to Australian libraries while protecting their interests in maintenance of a viable Australian National Bibliographic Database and Libraries Australia service.  It represents a major step forward in the sharing of Australian bibliographic data and exposure of the collections of Australian libraries internationally. Supporting this agreement increases the value of Australian library holdings.

Last updated 10/12/14