Why OCLC WorldShare Management Services?

Revolutionary, cost-effective and collaborative

OCLC is connecting the content, technology and expert capabilities of its member libraries worldwide to create the first Webscale, cooperative library management service. The collective vision is to move services to the network or "the cloud," whereby libraries use the same shared hardware, services and data, rather than hosting hardware and software on behalf of individual libraries.

The cooperative nature of this project leverages the powerful ethos of library resource sharing—opening up opportunities for cooperative intelligence by making sharable data available to all users—a "network effect" not available when library management systems are simply hosted by another organization.

OCLC is moving routine, yet critical library services—including unified acquisition, subscription and license management and circulation—to the cloud. This will generate cost benefits and efficiencies not possible when utilizing disparate and specialized systems.

These services integrate with those OCLC services already operating at Webscale, such as cataloging and resource sharing, so cooperation and collaboration can yield results for the library community far beyond those achievable by single organizations.

Cloud computing and beyond… Webscale

A common definition of "the cloud" is the ability to deliver applications remotely over the Web. Cloud computing is helping other industries spend less time and money on infrastructure, freeing up resources for core mission activities. From movies to maps, food to flights, cloud computing services—like Netflix, eBay and Orbitz—are meeting the challenge of increased complexity and also contributing to the greening of the planet.

OCLC members, in fact, have been "in the cloud" since before there was a Web. Members began collective cataloging in the 1970s, resource sharing in the 1980s, online databases in the 1990s, and NextGen discovery in the 2000s. 2010 begins the decade of library management services at Webscale.

Webscale requires more than operating in the cloud. Webscale providers leverage the cloud to provide access to platforms, services and analytics that allow organizations to collectively create new value through shared resources and broad collaboration. Operating at Webscale creates network effects—increased visibility, efficiencies and impact that cannot be achieved by any single organization.

For libraries, the difference between cloud computing and Webscale is the network effect of cooperation, for instance, what libraries experience when they create and share catalog records. For management services, the items shared might be policies, acquisitions activity and trends, vendor information, or local library highlights. The possibilities are far-reaching for the impact of global cooperation on local decision making.


OCLC and member libraries are uniquely positioned to build services using 21st-century technologies, and build them upon the great assets of the cooperative—the WorldCat database, the WorldCat Registry™ of 100,000+ libraries, the WorldCat knowledge base and 40 years of cooperative, network-level applications.

The breadth and depth of the WorldCat database positions OCLC to provide an unparalleled set of services for library automation and management, and it gives OCLC members an opportunity to share data and workflows that have remained isolated until now.

Through WorldShare Management Services, OCLC members can work together to create network-level applications for traditional library management activities. This will result in cost savings, greater efficiency and the ability to better leverage shared data, intelligence and innovation.

Library advisors

The active involvement of OCLC members has been crucial to the success of OCLC WorldShare Management Services. OCLC relied on two important groups to guide our efforts to build library management services at Webscale for libraries: pilot libraries and a library advisory council.

Contact us with your questions about OCLC WorldShare Management Services, or request a webinar for your library.

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 »