Dear colleagues,

July 2018 marked my fifth anniversary at OCLC. I remember my first few months as clearly as yesterday: being greeted by hundreds of staff members at OCLC headquarters, receiving a seemingly endless line of well‐wishers at ALA Annual in Chicago, and meeting so many global delegates at the IFLA WLIC in Singapore. Too many new connections to count, and I still appreciate that sense of community and inclusiveness.

Meeting with members photos

I’ve met with members around the world, at Regional Council conferences and Global Council meetings.

I’m proud of all that we’ve done in the last five years. OCLC has a new, state‐of‐the‐art technology platform on which we’ve been rapidly transforming our services. Several organizations joined the OCLC family, including Sustainable Collection Services (SCS) and Relais, to improve shared print and consortial lending opportunities, while Dutch and Italian providers HKA and IFNET joined to help us better serve libraries in their regions. We launched the first cloud‐based interlibrary loan management system, Tipasa. We’ve done groundbreaking research on linked data, library user preferences, and the collective collection. Our community celebrated OCLC’s 50th anniversary and collaborated through many Global and Regional Council meetings, user group sessions, and various forums around the world.

Two memorable moments for me were IFLA WLIC at OCLC’s campus and the printing of the last catalog card.

Memorable moments photos

If we want to continue to move faster, it’s imperative that we do so in ways that leverage the unique network effect of the OCLC community—we are smarter when we work together. To help guide us in that effort, we facilitated a global conversation around “smarter libraries” with our members around the world.

That dialogue helped make 2018 an astounding year at OCLC. Smarter investments in product development brought immediate, practical benefits to our members. More than 600 libraries of all sizes and types now use WorldShare Management Services to work smarter every day. We launched Syndeo to serve national and regional groups with a flexible suite of services to facilitate library collaboration. We launched OCLC Wise in the US, the first‐ever community engagement system for public libraries, which combines the power of customer relationship management, marketing, and analytics with ILS functions. Our research delved into subjects as diverse as voter perceptions, library marketing, and research data management. And we’ve expanded important partnerships with organizations like Jisc, ALA/PLA, Wikipedia, and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Celebration photos

I’m proud to have been part of OCLC’s 50th anniversary celebrations and launching OCLC Wise in the US.

As I reflect on the last five years of transformation, I am more enthusiastic than ever about the future of libraries and of OCLC, though there is much more to do. The journey ahead will likely be filled by even more challenges and opportunities than ever before. Libraries continue to serve their communities in new and expanded ways, navigating changing environments and demographics as well as the relentless pace of technology and innovation. OCLC will continue its work alongside libraries. We will continue bringing new solutions, identifying future possibilities, and convening expert voices for the advancement of the community. This has been our focus for more than 50 years, and it will take us into the future together.

Thank you for five fantastic years. Your insights, innovations, and commitment inspire me every day.


Skip Prichard signature

Skip Prichard
OCLC President and Chief Executive Officer

Year in Review

Smarter cooperation image



OCLC members move further, faster—and smarter—together.

The value of cooperation is built into everything OCLC does, and this past year resulted in some remarkable accomplishments. For example, more national libraries are working with OCLC in ongoing, large‐scale activities. We continued to expand shared print activities that rely on the unique cooperative value of WorldCat. And, more than 650 attendees across 43 countries joined one of three “Smarter Library” Regional Council meetings last year, while thousands more participated in the cooperative virtually through dozens of livestreaming events, webinars, and discussions.

The world’s smartest collection of cooperative library data

Libraries continued to add to WorldCat; this past year it grew to 423 million records and 2.6 billion holdings. And other partners helped grow the world’s largest database of library metadata, too, like the Internet Archive, which added metadata that connects users to In fact, so many libraries, groups, archives, publishers, and other partners contributed to WorldCat that we had to “recalibrate the WorldCat odometer” to allow for more digits in the OCLC Control Number (OCN). We also grew the WorldCat knowledge base, adding more than 2,400 new collections from 387 new providers.

OCLC, Internet Archive expand access to digital collections
Recalibrating the WorldCat odometer
WorldCat is the world’s most comprehensive database of library collections
Cooperation at national levels

Library and Archives Canada (LAC) wanted a way to better share Canada’s cultural heritage with library users worldwide. To meet that need, LAC created Voilà, a new national union catalog that provides a specific, Canadian view of WorldCat. We also launched Syndeo, a new service for regional and national collaboration. Syndeo was chosen by the Jisc National Bibliographic Knowledgebase (NBK) to enable the UK higher‐education library community to make its resources globally visible. The National Library of New Zealand chose Syndeo to support its Te Puna Services, providing management of group activities and national authority files. More than 50 other national libraries currently share their collections through WorldCat.

Library and Archives Canada launches Voilá
Cooperating to preserve the scholarly record

OCLC helps library groups work together on shared print activities that reduce maintenance costs, open valuable space, and safely preserve rare and unique items. In FY18, OCLC grew this service globally with 35 new agreements to serve institutions like the HathiTrust Digital Library (US), the University of Bristol (UK), the University College Dublin (Ireland) and King’s College London (UK). And as of this past year, 12 shared print groups have used OCLC’s GreenGlass® service to commit to retain 23 million monographs. Last year, OCLC and the Center for Research Libraries received a USD $1 million grant from the Mellon Foundation to help build a WorldCat registry for print serial retention commitments.

Sharing data to expand collections
The remarkable acceleration of shared print
OCLC awarded Mellon Foundation grant
Copley Library, University of San Diego
Cooperative market research
Report image

In 2018, OCLC worked with partners at the Public Library Association and the American Library Association Office for Library Advocacy on the study, From Awareness to Funding: Voter Perceptions and Support of Public Libraries in 2018. This was an update to a 2008 study, and found that while Americans continue to believe in the essential contributions of public libraries, fewer may be committed to supporting funding at the local ballot box. Libraries and their advocates can work together to address this trend.

National study reveals voter perceptions of libraries
From Awareness to Funding infographic
Research report pages
Cooperative governance
OCLC Board photo

2017–2018 Board of Trustees. Seated, left to right: Barbara Lison, Ginny Steel, John Patrick, John Szabo, Skip Prichard, Madeleine Lefebvre, Sandy Yee. Standing, left to right: Cindy Hilsheimer, Bernadette Gray‐Little, Jim Neal, Jacques Malschaert, Brady Deaton, Ellen Tise, Barbara Preece, Kathleen Keane.

As a nonprofit cooperative, OCLC is governed by a 15‐member Board of Trustees, more than half of whom are librarians. Six members of the Board are chosen by OCLC’s 48‐member Global Council.

The focus of Global Council’s activities for 2017–2018 centered on fully implementing the previous year’s “Building our Future” plan. It was a successful year as committee delegates worked through the intricacies and details of putting new charters, action plans, and processes in place. This was also the first year in which the Global Council Program Committee was charged with supporting topical conversations with members at both the regional and global levels.

2018 Global Council

The 48 delegates of Global Council (shown here at their meeting in Dublin, Ohio, US in March 2018) bring worldwide viewpoints together to inform and guide the cooperative from their unique perspectives.

Hello. I'm the smarter library. ...

The two major areas of focus for these conversations were around the topic of global resource sharing and the development of the “Smarter Library” shared theme for OCLC’s three Regional Councils. The outputs of the Americas Regional Council (ARC), Asia Pacific Regional Council (APRC), and Europe, Middle East, and Africa Regional Council (EMEA) are an excellent source of great ideas from library colleagues all over the world.

Smarter technology image



OCLC services help our members work smarter.

Last year, we invested across the board in enhancements that improve outcomes for both library workers and end users. We’ve added new features to WorldShare Management Services (WMS), new user‐driven enhancements and content collections to WorldCat Discovery, and support in Tipasa for display of local holdings and patron‐initiated requests. And the OCLC Community Center—our hub for smarter member service—grew to more than 15,000 members: a 30% increase during the past year.

Getting smarter about how we work

Last year, we extended the benefits of the Digby® mobile app to members worldwide. In addition, smart input from the WMS community—now more than 600 libraries—drove 70% of the 200 enhancements made to services last year. Members who joined the WMS community last year include: The Revs Institute (US), the Tolstoy Library (Germany), Oxford Brookes University (UK), the University of the Basque Country (Spain), and SAE Institute (Australia).

See how the Naturalis Biodiversity Center merged three library systems to meet users' needs.
A top-rated global university, the University of Bristol, selected WMS as its library services platform.
One of the biggest and oldest universities in the world, Universidad Complutense Madrid, went live with WMS.
WMS mobile app for student workers goes global.
Smarter connections within your community
OCLC Wise at PLA booth

At the 2018 Public Library Association conference, we introduced OCLC Wise in the US. Wise is the first community engagement system for US public libraries, combining the power of customer relationship management, marketing, and analytics tools with ILS functionality. OCLC also signed an agreement with Cultuurconnect in Belgium to bring Wise to more than 300 Belgian public libraries.

ACPL Director Greta Southard discusses OCLC Wise
Allen County Public Library first to adopt OCLC Wise
Sometimes, to change anything … you have to change everything
Smarter resource sharing in the cloud

More than 200 libraries are now live with Tipasa, the first cloud‐based interlibrary loan management system that automates routine borrowing and lending functions. The system was enhanced throughout the year with support for RapidILL copies and chapters among many other improvements. Resource sharing meetings in Melbourne, Australia, and Jacksonville, Florida, United States, hosted more than 500 attendees to share best practices and look to the future.

National Library of New Zealand to implement WorldShare Interlibrary Loan services
Resource Sharing Conference logo
Smarter ways to showcase digital collections

Support for IIIF Image and Presentation APIs means that CONTENTdm® users can now share and present digital objects across a variety of applications and platforms. Sixty‐two million images are now available through the service, giving scholars and researchers smarter options for viewing and comparing visual resources across multiple digital archives.

CONTENTdm now supports IIIF Presentation API to promote wider access to digital content
Harry Ransom Center launches new digital collections portal with IIIF support
Smarter future image



OCLC Research helps move the profession forward.

In FY18, our research reports and membership programs touched on many of the challenges affecting libraries and their users today. Topics included trends in jointly managed research library collections, equity and diversity, descriptive metadata for web archiving, technology engagement in higher education, research data management, and research information management.

The future of resource description
Linked data image

Sixteen academic research, public, special, and national libraries worked with OCLC to develop a linked data prototype that demonstrates the value of linked data for improving resource description.

The future of cooperative reference
Photo of presentation at OCLC booth

The Wikipedia + Libraries: Better Together project introduced 300 library staff members from 45 states and 7 countries to the inner workings of Wikipedia. Library staff members learned how to harness this sixth most popular website in the world to build community, amplify stories, extend librarianship, and teach literacy. The training resources and curriculum are now available online to all libraries.

Three reasons Wikipedia needs libraries, and vice‐versa
The future of information seeking
Research report cover

An OCLC Research report, The Many Faces of Digital Visitors and Residents: Facets of Online Engagement, challenges the digital natives vs. digital immigrants paradigm—the common assumption that younger people prefer the digital space while older people rely on physical sources for information. The findings will help academic and research libraries understand how their students, faculty, researchers, and administration interact with technology.

The Many Faces of Digital Visitors & Residents Report
The future of small libraries

Fifteen small and rural public libraries transformed traditional library spaces into smart spaces that stimulate social, hands‐on learning through the WebJunction‐led Small Libraries Create Smart Spaces project. Each library engaged community members in a visioning process, gathered feedback through prototyping, and installed new furnishings and equipment.

Smart Space videos
Invite your community to shape smart spaces
Smart Spaces library photo; photo courtesy of Paul Zurawski
The future of research
OCLC Research report covers

To help libraries address the challenge of managing research data, The Realities of Research Data Management, a four‐report series, explored the decision‐making processes of four research universities as they developed research data management service bundles.

Libraries and RDM: Three decisions, three components, three realities

Equity, diversity, and inclusion were the focus of this past year’s OCLC Distinguished Seminar Series. Discussions have covered the politics of access, information privilege, and how copyright decisions can shape cultural norms.

Brain food in just an hour
Distinguished Seminar Series identity
Smarter finance image



As a library services provider, OCLC is unique.

We are a worldwide nonprofit organization that reinvests all of our income into research and product development rather than distribute funds or pay dividends to shareholders or business owners. Our goal is to meet the service requirements identified by our membership that help libraries build a smarter future.

Ensuring a strong future

In FY18, OCLC’s revenues from library services increased by $9.2 million over the previous year. Growth in library subscriptions to WorldShare Management Services and CONTENTdm digital collection software helped revenues reach $217.6 million. Also contributing to the rise in revenues were our partnership with Jisc to build a UK national digital library and new library contracts for EZproxy®, our access and authentication software.

Accelerated product development for management, metadata, resource sharing, and end‐user services, will continue to support the cooperative over the next several years. One example of this is the advancement of Wise, our community engagement system for public libraries. This past year we signed our first US adopter, and we signed a contract with Cultuurconnect to bring the service to more than 300 public libraries in Belgium.

Net contribution for FY18 was $4.6 million. Revenue from library services and income from our investment portfolio provided a stable cash flow to fund operations, improve services, and make strategic capital investments.

Summary of consolidated activities
Amount in $ millions
    FY18 FY17
Library services revenue $217.6 $208.4
Operating results before portfolio activity ($6.2) ($6.7)
Investment portfolio activity    
Dividends and interest income $9.2 $7.0
Net gains/(losses) $4.1 ($3.3)
Other‐than‐temporary impairment ($2.5)
  Net contribution $4.6 ($3.0)
The OCLC investment portfolio

Our investment portfolio was valued at $236.2 million at the end of FY18, increasing from $234.1 million in the prior year. The portfolio increase resulted from performance in the overall market. The portfolio is managed like an endowment and generates dividend and interest income.

At the end of FY18, OCLC’s outstanding debt was $86.7 million compared to $79.0 million in FY17.

Investment portfolio and debt
Amount in $ millions end of fiscal year
Research and development

We regularly engage with our membership through Regional and Global Council meetings as well as specific product groups, advisory committees, and research projects in order to identify trends that are shaping the library profession. Based on these conversations, we continue to invest in a variety of specific initiatives that our members have told us are critical to their success.

FY18 research and development expenditures
Total $32.5 million
Investment categories include:
  • Metadata servicesOCLC Cataloging and Metadata Subscription, WorldShare Metadata Services, Contract Cataloging, Dewey® Services, CBS Services
  • Resource sharing servicesTipasa, Sustainable Collection Services, Relais D2D, WorldShare Interlibrary Loan, VDX®, ILLiad, WorldCat Navigator®
  • End user servicesWorldCat Discovery,, QuestionPoint®, PiCarta®
  • Management servicesWorldShare Management Services, WorldShare License Manager, WorldShare Collection Evaluation, WorldShare Report Designer, CONTENTdm, EZproxy, SISIS‐SunRise, LBS, Amlib®, BIBLIOTHECAplus, OCLC Wise, OLIB®
  • Data servicesWorldCat, WorldCat knowledge base, Central Index
  • WorldShare PlatformThe infrastructure that supports cloud services
  • OCLC ResearchResearch initiatives
  • Systems/corporate initiativesData centers, technical infrastructure

Year in Photos



Thank you for your ongoing commitment to the cooperative. It was an exciting year. Together, we will continue to build smarter libraries, contribute to smarter communities, and improve the lives of everyone we serve.