Frequently asked questions about the OCLC Online Service Center

What is the Online Service Center?

The Online Service Center is a secure, Web-based tool that library staff with administrative authority can use to order OCLC products and services as well as view, update and manage their OCLC account information.

What can I order from the Online Service Center?

The Online Service Center is being rolled out in phases. Today, libraries can order and renew individual institution FirstSearch subscriptions, purchase blocks of searches, and view FirstSearch account information in a secure online environment—including order status, order history, and group purchases made on your behalf. In the future OCLC will add online ordering for services including cataloging, reference, and collection analysis tools .

How does my institution get started using the Online Service Center?

The first step is to designate staff members with administrative authority. Typically, the library director assigns administrative authority to staff that will be using the Online Service Center to order products and services and update their institution's OCLC account information. The next step is to create an institutional account including the names of all those with administrative authority.

Note: Temporary user ids and passwords were mailed or e-mailed to directors at OCLC member libraries. Contact your regional service provider to set up an account.

Can anyone use the Online Service Center?

Any OCLC member or participating institution with a valid user id and password can use the Online Service Center. For help with a user id and password, contact your regional service provider.

Can my institution have more than one Online Service Center account?

Yes. Online Service Center users with administrative authority can assign additional Service Center accounts. For example, your institution may want to have an account for each of the departmental areas responsible for ordering products and services.

What if my institution belongs to a group in which purchases are made on our behalf?

Libraries often belong to consortia. The Online Service Center provides views on the Order FirstSearch screen that display purchases made on behalf of your institution. While some purchases are made for the group, there may be products that your institution would like to purchase individually. At this point, the Online Service Center can be used to purchase products individually. A future enhancement will accommodate making some group purchases available via the Online Service Center.

What's the difference between ordering a block of FirstSearch searches using the Online Service Center and placing that same order via the traditional order form?

Orders placed via order form take administrative time for communications between OCLC and your regional service provider. Ordering via the Online Service Center can occur in real time, so that you, OCLC and your regional service provider receive the information instantaneously. What used to take a few days can take place in a matter of minutes when using the Online Service Center.

Why should my institution use the Online Service Center?

Using the Online Service Center helps libraries save time, since tasks are performed online and in some cases in real time. The Service Center is a secure site and offers a quick, easy way to order services, keep your library's contact and mailing address information up to date, and view your account information.

What is the cost to use the Online Service Center?

There are no fees to use the Online Service Center. The service is available to OCLC member institutions and is accessible though a user id and password.

Who should I contact for help using the Online Service Center?

For help using the Online Service Center you can contact your regional service provider or OCLC Customer Service. In addition, a basic tutorial tour of the Online Service Center is available from the sign-in screen.