OCLC works to promote libraries and the spread of knowledge about library programs. These activities include work with standards and practice bodies, as well as with organizations that seek to advance the structure and systems necessary for strong libraries. We support the services and standards—and provide advocacy programs and materials —that move information seekers closer to the unique materials that make libraries such important centers of culture and innovation.
OCLC works with more than 200 partners and organizations in support of our mission. These partnerships range from work with consortia, publishers and even consumer organizations to advance the use and support of libraries. A few examples of these partnerships and initiatives include:
A partnership of major research institutions and libraries working to ensure that the cultural record is preserved and accessible long into the future. There are more than 50 partners in HathiTrust, and membership is open to institutions worldwide. OCLC works with HathiTrust in order to increase the online visibility and accessibility of these important collections.
In 2008, with funding from a MacArthur Foundation grant, and in collaboration with Syracuse University and the University of Washington, OCLC participated in the "Reference Extract" project. Reference Extract is envisioned as a new Web service to help users find relevant and trusted resources. Systems using Reference Extract will maximize credibility by relying on the expertise and credibility judgments of librarians from around the globe.
In 2010, OCLC joined the Open Identity Exchange (OIX) as a founding member to support Internet-scale trust ecosystems. OCLC serves on the board of the OIX and will support the organization's initiative to develop an Open Trust Framework Model.
In 2009, OCLC provided a new home for the OAIster database (at the request of the University of Michigan). OAIster is a union catalog of millions of records representing open access resources that was built by harvesting from open access collections worldwide using the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH). Today, OAIster includes more than 25 million records representing digital resources from more than 1,100 contributors.
In 2006, OCLC joined the LOCKSS (Lots of Copies Keep Stuff Safe) alliance, an international community initiative that provides libraries with digital preservation tools and support so that they can easily and inexpensively collect and preserve their own copies of authorized e-content. In 2007, OCLC was a founding member of CLOCKSS (Controlled LOCKSS), a not-for-profit joint venture between the world's leading scholarly publishers and research libraries whose mission is to build a sustainable, geographically distributed dark archive with which to ensure the long-term survival of Web-based scholarly publications for the benefit of the greater global research community.
Funded by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, "Geek the Library" is a community awareness campaign aimed at spreading the word about the vital and growing role of your public library, and to raise awareness about the critical funding issues many U.S. public libraries face.
Community service and disaster relief
Over its history, OCLC has provided a variety of resources in support of library and community activities throughout the world. OCLC members and staff have provided material, financial and system support for libraries struck by disasters such as the 1989 California earthquake and Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Hugo.
OCLC also helped the Federal Bureau of Investigation inventory and determine the owners of approximately 20,000 rare books that were stolen from libraries across the U.S. and Europe. Other service projects include the 1994 VOICE (Voter Online Information and Communication Exchange) project, which demonstrated a practical combination of the World Wide Web and OCLC software to make voter education information available and searchable, and the "Bosnian National Library: Building a Virtual Collection" project following the destruction of the Bosnian National and University Library in 1992. Also, in 2010, OCLC provided information requested by the Library Copyright Alliance for their filing before the Supreme Court in the case of Costco v. Omega. We estimated that the American libraries held approximately 200 million books published outside of the United States (O'Neill)