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


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

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.

OAICatMuseum 1.0

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

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 Special Collections

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

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.

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.