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OCLC publishes list of top 100 novels

The Library 100 ranking is based on titles cataloged by thousands of libraries worldwide

DUBLIN, Ohio, 5 March 2019OCLC, a leading library technology and research organization, has published The Library 100: Top Novels of All Time, a list of the novels most widely available in libraries today. The list is based on data in WorldCat, the world's most comprehensive database of information about library collections.

Produced and maintained by OCLC and individual member libraries and library organizations, WorldCat reflects the collections of more than 18,000 libraries worldwide. It includes information about more than 2.7 billion copies of more than 447 million titles. This aggregate worldwide library collection is likely the best view of the global scholarly and published record.

"Libraries provide a unique opportunity to track long-term trends in published literature," said Skip Prichard, OCLC President and CEO. "WorldCat is a unique resource that can tell us more about publishing patterns and, by extension, cultural patterns."

According to WorldCat, "Don Quixote," by Miguel de Cervantes, is the most widely held novel in libraries worldwide. "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland," by Lewis Carroll is second, followed by "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn," and "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer," both by Mark Twain. "Treasure Island," by Robert Louis Stevenson, takes the fifth spot.

"Of course, the list of top novels emphasizes classics," Prichard continued, "and so reflects dominant cultural views over the years about the canon and its formation. Librarians are aware of this and are more mindful than ever of the need to think critically about their collections. Librarians are actively seeking out and preserving overlooked, minority and marginalized perspectives." (Read Prichard's blog post at https://oc.lc/top-novel-blog.)

"These classic novels are published in multiple versions, translated, retold for younger readers and widely distributed in core collections," noted Lorcan Dempsey, OCLC Vice President of Membership and Research. "We cluster these algorithmically, sometimes pulling together hundreds of different versions and editions."

"The top novels list is an example of what is possible when we study aggregate library data," Dempsey added. "We have also done other work, notably looking at the characteristics of the national published record in several individual countries. This aggregate collection can help us track both presences and absences across the library system, and help libraries take a more critical look at collections. At OCLC, we will be examining aspects of these topics in more depth."

The full list, and more information about The Library 100 can be found at https://www.oclc.org/en/worldcat/library100.html.

About OCLC

OCLC is a nonprofit global library cooperative providing shared technology services, original research and community programs so that libraries can better fuel learning, research and innovation. Through OCLC, member libraries cooperatively produce and maintain WorldCat, the most comprehensive global network of data about library collections and services. Libraries gain efficiencies through OCLC's WorldShare, a complete set of library management applications and services built on an open, cloud-based platform. It is through collaboration and sharing of the world’s collected knowledge that libraries can help people find answers they need to solve problems. Together as OCLC, member libraries, staff and partners make breakthroughs possible.

OCLC and WorldCat are trademarks and/or service marks of OCLC, Inc. Third-party product, service and business names are trademarks and/or service marks of their respective owners.

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