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Frequently asked questions about the end of life of Institution Records

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Why is OCLC migrating Institution Records to Local Bibliographic Data (LBD)?

In March 2015, we made the decision to migrate Institution Records (IR) to Local Bibliographic Data (LBD). We made this decision because IRs don't take advantage of cooperatively managed master record data or linked data initiatives. For example, if headings in a bibliographic record are linked to authority records, the bibliographic record is automatically updated if the linked authority record changes. IRs don’t have this type of functionality, and we know this is an important step in cataloging workflows.

With LBDs, libraries benefit from the combination of the cooperatively managed master record data and library-specific local data, as well as, linked data and entities-based cataloging workflows. Additionally, if you ever need a copy of your records, you would receive the current master record in WorldCat with your local information imbedded, instead of the static IR information.

Some libraries created IRs because they couldn’t add data to the master record in WorldCat, but with the Expert Community member libraries now have the ability to improve, upgrade and make changes to the majority of WorldCat master records.

Libraries also created IRs because their data couldn’t be added to the master record in WorldCat via batchload, but batchloading has changed and more data is merged into the master records than ever before.

How are Institution Records and Local Bibliographic Data different?

An IR is a static copy of your full bibliographic record that is attached to an OCLC master record in WorldCat. LBDs store only pertinent information (e.g. local notes, subject headings, added entries) from your bibliographic record, to be displayed to your users.

What data can be stored in LBD?

LBDs can store uniform titles, notes, subject headings, and added entries.

For what types of materials would I create Local Bibliographic Data?

LBDs can be created for all types of materials, but libraries might find them most useful for rare and special materials.

Local Bibliographic Data doesn't support all of the fields in Institution Records. How can I migrate my Institution Records or create new Local Bibliographic Data to represent my items?

We encourage libraries to include as much information as possible in the bibliographic record, and use Local Bibliographic Data (LBD) as a way to capture the information that doesn’t have a place in the master record. LBD should be reserved for information that is truly local to a copy of the item. We may accept requests for fields to add to LBD in the future.

How can I create and edit Local Bibliographic Data?

You can create and edit Local Bibliographic Data with:

  • Batchload
  • WorldCat Metadata API
  • WorldShare Record Manager

How will I view other libraries edits when IRs are discontinued?

To view the cataloging practices of another library you will need to access their local catalog. With the discontinuation of IRs, libraries will not be able to search one another’s Local Bibliographic Data. We provided access to search another institution’s Institution Records in FirstSearch, and found that the functionality experienced low usage.

What are my options concerning the discontinuation of Institution Records?

OCLC can delete your existing IRs and/or create LBDs from your existing IRs or from your local system records.

What is involved in requesting one or more of these options?

Simply contact and let us know how you would like to proceed. We’ll work with you to complete your request, provide more information if needed, or help you identify the best option for your library.

Will any of the information in my IRs that is not in the master record be merged with the master record?

OCLC would be happy to discuss this option with you. If you decide to have LBDs created from your existing IRs, please be sure to mention this when you contact

If I delete my Institution Records now, do I also have to create Local Bibliographic Data now?

No. These tasks are exclusive of each other and can be done separately. OCLC will be happy to work with you to coordinate these efforts in a way that meet your needs.

If I elect to have my Institution Records deleted, will my WorldCat holdings still be maintained?


Are there any costs associated with the change from Institution Records to Local Bibliographic Data?

No, there are no associated costs with this change.

When will the ability to create and manage Institution Records end?

The ability to create Institution Records via batchload will conclude in December 2015. Connexion will support creation of Institution Records until June 2016 when support for Institution Records will end.

Available options

  • Accessions List produces lists of your recently cataloged acquisitions in convenient HTML format.
  • Cataloging Label Program manages the creation, display, editing and printing of pocket and spine cataloging labels.
  • Terminologies Service provides access to multiple controlled vocabularies to help you create consistent metadata that will help improve discovery and access of your materials.

Other cataloging services

  • Contract Cataloging lets OCLC professionals help you with cataloging needs.
  • WorldCat Cataloging Partners service provides automatic delivery of OCLC-MARC records and sets WorldCat® holdings for materials you order through participating vendor partners.

Related OCLC services

  • WorldShare Metadata offers complete metadata management for physical and electronic resources.
  • CONTENTdm now includes a Connexion digital import feature, allowing you to attach digital files to your WorldCat records and your CONTENTdm® collections using the Connexion client.
  • Log on to OCLC Usage Statistics using your Connexion authorization number and password to view statistical data summarized at the institution level.

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