Shared print

OCLC’s bold vision is to build on our established infrastructure and leadership to provide libraries with even greater capacity to collaboratively build, manage, and curate the collective collection.

WorldCat® and its importance to the collective collection

WorldCat plays a key role in the ecosystem of libraries. It is a record of what libraries hold in their collections, and accordingly it is an important representation of the scholarly and cultural record. WorldCat has allowed libraries to collaborate at scale to build and share their collections.

Libraries are now evolving how they think about their print collections. Managing the collective collection has become a central concern as libraries explore the relationship between local print collections, shared collections at different levels, and digitized collections. By better managing the print collection and treating all resources as part of the global collective collection, they encourage more people to come to the library as a place of learning, innovation, and collaboration.

Many libraries are already managing down their local print collections with OCLC’s help. And they want to do this in the context of a responsible overall approach to the stewardship of the scholarly and cultural record. Given WorldCat’s central role, we understand that the community again expects to rely on WorldCat and other OCLC services, such as WorldShare® Interlibrary Loan, to help.

Collection analysis and visualization

OCLC provides tools and services to help manage, share, archive, or remove monographs to transform valuable library space. GreenGlass® is a purpose-built, interactive application that allows you to explore your print collection.


Shared collections research

Libraries are embedded in an increasingly complex network of information supply and demand. Our goal is to provide evidence and insight to libraries as they organize collections and services within this changing network environment.

Our research agenda aims to improve our understanding of the factors that libraries use to guide sourcing and scaling choices for maximum impact and efficient provision of collections and services. Our work explores three related areas.

  • Understanding the collective collection
  • Optimizing resource sharing
  • Sourcing and scaling

Learn more about OCLC Research's Understanding the system-wide library work.


Shared print monograph retention in North America

Since 2013, 173 academic libraries spanning 18 US states and 5 Canadian provinces have made formal retention commitments using OCLC's shared print tools and services. These institutions have collectively identified 8.9 million distinct editions (titles), representing 22.9 million print holdings, for long-term retention.

See our monograph shared print map, which allows you to explore these retentions by location, program, and title.

Collection registration

OCLC's Shared Print Registration service streamlines the process of registering shared print group retention commitments for single-part monographs to operationalize the collective collection more quickly. Commitments can be discovered in WorldShare Collection Manager, WorldShare Record Manager, FirstSearch®, and Connexion®.

  • Allows efficient registration of single-part monograph retention commitments in WorldCat
  • Uses non-MARC data to create local holdings records (LHRs) in WorldCat (via 583 Action Note) that align with OCLC’s Shared Print Metadata Guidelines
  • Provides ability to output MARC records for local use in multiple formats, including non-interleaved LHRs, for input into library management systems
  • Eliminates the need for a second OCLC shared print symbol to record shared print retention commitments
  • Sets the shared print holding type flag in the WorldCat bib records, which enables display and queries on the data
  • Comes included with your library’s full cataloging subscription or a holdings registration subscription

To learn more about how to access this service, read the documentation.

OCLC, working closely with the Center for Research Libraries (CRL), has been awarded an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant to enhance the underlying infrastructure of the WorldCat database and CRL’s Print Archives Preservation Registry (PAPR) to accommodate and make accessible actionable data for shared print serials management.

Read more in the press release

Get updates about this project


Our monographs index

These numbers are based on 281 US academic libraries and 122 million holdings. They include research libraries, state universities, four-year colleges, and a handful of community colleges.

Collection measure: US academic libraries Average value High value Low value
Monographs count 433,045 3,297,093 417
Titles held by 100+ US libraries—same edition 72% 94% 2%
Titles held by five or fewer US libraries—any edition 2% 27% 0%
Held in HathiTrust with "In Copyright" status 42% 56% 22%
Held in HathiTrust with "Public Domain" status 6% 16% 0%
Titles with zero recorded uses 43% 100% 9%
Titles with one to three recorded uses 32% 54% 0%
Titles with four or more recorded uses 25% 65% 0%
Publication year more than 10 years old (at time of extract) 90% 100% 61%
Possible duplicates 8% 54% 0%

Updated: March 2019

Collection measure: Canadian academic libraries (16) Average value High value Low value
Monographs count 1,026,798 2,110,657 164,044
Titles held by 10+ Canadian libraries—same edition 55% 78% 9%
Titles held by two or fewer Canadian libraries—any edition 8% 20% 2%
Held in HathiTrust with "In Copyright" status 36% 46% 19%
Held in HathiTrust with "Public Domain" status 3% 6% 1%
Titles with zero recorded uses 32% 45% 16%
Titles with one to three recorded uses 28% 48% 18%
Titles with four or more recorded uses 39% 57% 23%
Publication year more than 10 years old (at time of extract) 87% 95% 83%
Possible duplicates 15% 31% 6%

Updated: March 2019

Member stories


Share your print collection to expand your library

Discover how a small group of academic libraries in Iowa formed the Central Iowa – Collaborative Collections Initiative to share print resources.