OCLC Research is one of the world's leading centers devoted to exploration, innovation and community building on behalf of libraries and archives.

Our activities are organized into six major themes:

  • Advancing the Research Mission

    How can libraries effectively support the research missions of their universities and the workflow of their faculty? What services do scholars need? How can their output be preserved, discovered and re-used? What can be done to ensure that the proper acknowledgment accrues to the correct entities? Our objective is to understand the ways that libraries can have maximum impact in providing support to academic departments.

  • Mobilizing Unique Materials

    We're working to bring about greater collaboration among libraries, archives and museums by surfacing models for sharing data, services and expertise. Our objective in this area is to achieve economies and efficiencies that permit the unique materials in libraries, archives and museums to be effectively described, properly disclosed, successfully discovered and appropriately delivered.

  • Metadata Management

    Our work in this area is focused on setting new expectations for investing in metadata creation and maintenance, modeling attendant workflows and facilitating the discovery of research institutions' resources by users wherever they are. Our goal is to engage OCLC Research Library partners and OCLC member libraries in adapting descriptive practice to economic realities, user expectations and the requirements of network-level services.

  • Infrastructure & Standards Support

    Our work here focuses on participating with research institutions and OCLC member libraries in the development of needed architecture and standards, supporting their adoption and finding appropriate venues for their sustenance. Our objective is to create an efficient environment in support of the declared activities associated with infrastructure and standards support.

  • Understanding the System-wide Library

    Our objective here is to use our perspective and data to understand, prepare for and help libraries, archives and museums advance through utilizing cooperative models of acquiring, managing and disclosing collections.

  • User Behavior Studies & Synthesis

    Our focus in this area includes studying the behavior of library users, from public library patrons and undergraduate students to scholars and researchers, to determine their perceptions and information usage habits of a variety of reference services. Our objective is to identify and share recommendations on how to better serve library users' needs now and in the future.

A special ResearchWorks page brings together activities from across all themes that have prototypes or hands-on demonstrations for you to try out. Similarly, the Software page brings together all activities which provide tools you can download for local use. Finally, we know there may still be some interest in activities that have concluded, so those are available on our Past Activities page.

The remainder of this page contains a list of all our current activities in alphabetical order.

All Current Activities


ArchiveGrid is a growing collection of over two million archival material descriptions that provides a foundation for OCLC Research collaboration and interactions with the archival community, and also serves as the basis for our experimentation and testing in text mining, data analysis, and discovery system applications and interfaces.


A Web interface for FAST Subject selection, assignFAST explores automating the manual selection of the Authorized and Use For headings based on autosuggest technology.


Classify is a FRBR-based prototype designed to support the assignment of classification numbers and subject headings for books, DVDs, CDs, and other types of materials.

Cloud Library: Cloud-sourcing Shared Research Collections

This work has modeled requirements for increased institutional reliance on shared print and digital repositories, based on a case study of a single consumer institution and two representative print and digital suppliers. It offers recommendations for broader adoption of interdependent collection management regimes in the cloud.


A metadata publishing tool that transfers information between databases and different formats.

Cookbook Finder

Cookbook Finder is a works-based application that provides access to thousands of cookbooks and other works about food and nutrition described in library records. You can search by person, place, topic (e.g., course, ingredient, method, and more) and browse related works by author and topic (supplied by the Kindred Works/Recommender API). Results include links to full-text when available from HathiTrust and Project Gutenberg.

Demystifying Born Digital

This project focuses on enhancing the effective management of born-digital materials as they intersect with special collections and archives practices in research libraries.

Digital Information Seeker Report

OCLC Research analyzed twelve final reports of library user studies from JISC, OCLC, and RIN, issued 2005-2009, and summarized the findings in a report issued under the auspices of JISC.

Dissemination Information Packages for Information Reuse (DIPIR)

DIPIR is a joint, IMLS-funded project with the University of Michigan. Together with collaborators at the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR), the University of Michigan Museum of Zoology (UMMZ), and Open Context, the project team is studying how Dissemination Information Packages (DIPS) can better incorporate information from designated communities to facilitate reuse of digital information.   

Europeana Innovation Pilots

This collaborative initiative aims to pilot the use of existing and newly developed OCLC Research methods and techniques for cleansing and enriching large aggregations of metadata to identify and create semantic links between heterogeneous objects that are connected.

FAST Converter

The FAST Converter is a Web interface for the conversion of LCSH headings to FAST headings. Either single headings or small sets of bibliographic records can be converted. The intent of this Web site is to provide a learning tool to help familiarize users with FAST and the differences between FAST and LCSH.

Getting Found: SEO for Digital Repositories

This activity is part of an IMLS-funded project to develop strategies for improving the visibility of library digital repositories in Internet search engines through developing an RDF model based on for the people, places, organizations, and objects associated with an institutional repository and its contents.

info URI Registry

The “info” URI Registry was set up on behalf of NISO to identify and describe registered “info” URIs.

Interlibrary Loan Cost Calculator

OCLC Research, in collaboration with staff from OCLC Research Library Partnership institutions, is creating a Web based tool that will allow library administrators and practitioners to better understand the costs of sharing collections. This work is part of a suite of OCLC Research activities aimed at Understanding the System-wide Library.

Kindred Works

Kindred Works is a demonstration interface built upon an experimental content-based recommender service. Various characteristics associated with a sample resource, such as classification numbers, subject headings, and genre terms, are matched to WorldCat to provide a list of recommendations.

Library Finder

Library Finder uses the WorldCat Registry API to locate libraries near a given location and displays the contact information, website, and library type when available. It uses the HTML5 Geolocation API in supported browsers to determine where a user is, and Responsive Web Design to make the website fully mobile friendly.


mapFAST is a Google Maps mashup prototype designed to provide map based access to bibliographic records using FAST geographic authorities.

mapFINDS Ohio

The mapFINDS Ohio iPhone app uses OCLC’s WorldCat Search web service to present digital reproductions of culturally significant photographs, documents, and recordings to you based on their location and search criteria. It also provides you the ability to “like” items of interest, enhancing your later searches and the searches of other users.

MARC Usage in WorldCat

This project will study the use of MARC tags and subfields in WorldCat and produce reports to inform decisions about where we go from here.

Metadata Schema Transformation Services

The goal of the Metadata Schema Transformation project is to develop a simple, web-accessible service that translates metadata records from one publicly defined format into another.

Multilingual Bibliographic Structure

This activity is designed to leverage the multilingual content of WorldCat® so that bibliographic information can be presented in the preferred language and script of the user.

NACO Normalization Service

OCLC Research's NACO Normalization Service enables systems to convert names and other text strings to a format more conducive to machine comparison and sorting.

Name Extraction

This project attempts to develop tools that advance the state of the art in extracting names from unstructured text and disambiguating them using authority files developed in the library community.


OAICat is a Java Servlet implementation of the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH) v2.0.

OAICatMuseum 1.0

Allows museums to disclose descriptions of collection items as well as pointers to digital surrogates.

OCLC Linked Data Research

OCLC production units and OCLC Research are supporting the collaborative and the larger community with Linked Data-related research and standards activities, and are exploring Linked Data activities and applications.

OhioLINK Collection and Circulation Analysis

A joint project with the OhioLINK library consortium and OhioLINK’s Collection Building Task Force, which examines bibliographic, holdings, and circulation data from Ohio college and university libraries to better understand the usage patterns of books in academic libraries.

PREMIS Maintenance Activity and Editorial Committee

OCLC Research participates in both the PREMIS Maintenance Activity and Editorial Committee. The Maintenance Activity is responsible for planning, organizing, and coordinating work and activities related to the PREMIS Data Dictionary for Preservation Metadata. The PREMIS Editorial Committee has specific responsibility for managing the Data Dictionary, including supporting its use and coordinating future updates and revisions.

Preservation Health Check

OCLC Research and the Open Planets Foundation (OPF) are conducting a Preservation Health Check pilot to analyze the quality of preservation metadata created and in use by operational repository and deposit systems and evaluate the potential of such metadata for assessing digital preservation risks.


PURLs (Persistent Uniform Resource Locators) are Web addresses that act as permanent identifiers in the face of a dynamic and changing Web infrastructure.

Registering Researchers in Authority Files

The Registering Researchers Task Force aims to create a concise report summarizing the benefits and trade-offs of emerging approaches to the problem of incomplete national authority files.

Scholars’ Contributions to VIAF

This activity explores the potential benefits of collaborating with scholars to enrich the Virtual International Authority File (VIAF) with new names and additional script forms for names already represented.  The experience and knowledge gained from working with diverse files may inform third parties’ development of authority tools used by scholars.

Scope and Diffusion of National Presence in the Published Record

This work illustrates the concept of national presence, explains how this presence can be operationalized in library data and demonstrates how the data can be used to define patterns of analysis characterizing the general contours of a national presence and its diffusion worldwide.

Seeking Synchronicity: Evaluating Virtual Reference Services from User, Non-User and Librarian Perspectives

This project includes the evaluation, sustainability, and relevance of virtual reference services, which are human-mediated, Internet-based library information services. The study of VRS users, non-users, and librarians provided a fuller understanding of their behaviors, needs, and preferences in virtual environments, in order to improve libraries' ability to respond to increased demand on libraries to provide reference services online.

SHARES Program

SHARES is a membership-wide program of expedited, cost-saving interlibrary lending that also develops innovative new methods to improve collections sharing.

Sharing and Aggregating Social Metadata

Identify the user contributions that would enrich the descriptive metadata created by libraries, archives, and museums and the issues that need to be resolved to communicate and share user contributions on the network level.

Sharing Special Collections

Streamlining procedures for successful delivery of rare and unique materials to users will maximize use of increasingly limited staff and financial resources.


The SRW/U Open Source project offers software that implements both the SRW Web Service and the SRU REST model interface to databases. Included are interfaces that support DSpace and Lucene implementation and OCLC's Pears database.

Support for Research Workflows

A collaborative project of OCLC Research and the UK's Research Information Network (RIN) to examine the use and provision of information-related tools and services to researchers throughout the lifecycle of the research process.

Survey of Special Collections and Archives in the US and Canada

A detailed survey of more than 300 special collections and archives in academic and research libraries throughout the United States and Canada identified norms across the community as well as defined needs for community action and further research.

Terms of Use and Reuse for Finding Aid Metadata

The purpose of this project is to promote a culture of sharing finding aid metadata. The project will provide recommendations on how to state the terms of use and re-use for finding aid metadata, leveraging good precedents.

Virtual Research Environment (VRE) Study

The goal of this study is to identify, gather and analyse evidence of researchers’ behaviors in digital environments from a selection of recent relevant JISC-funded projects in order to derive an evidence-based picture of the researcher of today. A cooperative project of OCLC Research and JISC (UK).

WorldCat Genres

Genre profiles allow users to browse genre terms for hundreds of titles, authors, subjects, characters, places, and more, ranked by popularity in WorldCat.

WorldCat Identities Network

The WorldCat Identities Network gives users the opportunity to visually explore the interconnectivity and relationships between WorldCat Identities.

WorldCat Live!

The WorldCat Live! API provides an easy-to-consume real-time feed of newly added items to the WorldCat global catalog of library collections and published materials. The API allows you to select between RSS, Atom Pub, JSON, and lightweight XML formats and filter on author, title, type, and other attributes of the newly added records.

Some of the activities listed here have prototypes or demonstrations you can explore and play with. You can find a list of just those hands-on activities in ResearchWorks.

A few of these activities have generated software that you can download and build upon. Go to our software page for a list of only those activities.

The OCLC Research Library Partnership has sponsored the activities with this mark.

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.