Are your libraries connected to the global knowledge network?


One global infrastructure, thousands of connected libraries

OCLC consists of more than 16,000 library members. Each library is unique, with its own blend of services, space, and collections. What they share, however, is a common purpose: to make breakthroughs possible.

At OCLC, we support this common mission of libraries worldwide through a global network of library cooperation.

Working hand in hand with this network, we developed the WorldShare® Platform to increase cooperation and sharing between libraries. The WorldShare Platform is cloud-based, providing access to library data and increasing the visibility and use of library collections and services.

Most importantly, WorldShare provides an access point through which libraries connect to WorldCat.

Learn more about WorldShare
Learn more about WorldCat


Share what makes your library great

WorldCat is the world’s most comprehensive global network of data about library collections and services. It is the single most important asset the library community has. WorldCat consists of the WorldCat bibliographic catalog, which includes everything that is available to library users in our member libraries; the WorldCat knowledge base, which connects users to the electronic content provided by their library; and the WorldCat registry, which includes information about library services and contacts to help people find the library online. Having your library and its collections registered in WorldCat is the most reliable way to ensure your entire collection is completely visible and accessible to your users.

Contribute to the world’s access to knowledge

Having a connection to WorldCat is important for libraries. When your holdings are visible in WorldCat, they’re visible to information seekers worldwide. You’ve contributed to an even greater understanding of the world’s collected knowledge, benefiting information seekers everywhere. People worldwide can now find unique items that express your cultural heritage or share the discoveries made by your scholars.

In return, you have access to an asset that powers your own collection management and development decisions for the better. You can see the collections of peer libraries worldwide to inform your decisions about what your library should supply. Both librarians and OCLC staff members constantly improve WorldCat records, so you know you’re using the most comprehensive, accurate, and up-to-date supply of information available.

Enable breakthroughs across the world or next door

No single library can hold every item its users may need, so libraries rely on the OCLC resource sharing network to lend and borrow resources locally, in groups, and globally. OCLC’s resource sharing network is the largest in the world, but our tools are scalable to meet your individual or consortial needs. Our automated interlibrary loan workflows help libraries quickly provide resources to their users. We make it easier for libraries to support one another and their users, no matter what type of resource is requested.

Learn more about resource sharing

patrons line up to checkout library materials

Raise the profile of the region’s culture

Regional services may have operated in isolation in the past, but this is no longer the case. The move toward providing access to the world’s knowledge has been overwhelming, even when regional library groups wish to preserve a local presence. The drive to connect to a global knowledge infrastructure, to raise the profile of a region’s culture has been compelling. WorldCat makes regional culture and breakthroughs available to information seekers worldwide.

Join Canadian national heritage available worldwide

Library and Archives Canada (LAC) has agreed to use WorldShare Management Services as its library services platform and to move its National Union Catalogue to WorldCat. These moves are designed to make Canada's documentary heritage more widely available. As Guy Berthiaume, Librarian and Archivist of Canada, said when the announcement was made in March 2017, “This agreement will enable LAC and the Canadian library community to make the published heritage of our country more accessible than ever before and to share Canada's culture and knowledge with the world.”

Library and Archives Canada headquarters and logo

LAC’s current union catalog data is to be loaded and maintained in WorldCat, which already represents the collections of hundreds of Canadian libraries. A subset of WorldCat will offer a Canadian view of the catalog, and a link to this subset will be available on the LAC website.

Handle all the scripts of the world

OCLC staff members focus on metadata quality to make WorldCat a unique and valuable resource to libraries worldwide. Among other issues, we focus on challenges around cultural diversity and complexity, cataloging records in scripts of the world, and supporting local cataloging practices. Each year, our team of catalogers and metadata experts enhance more than 100 million WorldCat records. But this is only the beginning.

Save millions of hours in staff time

The thousands of OCLC member libraries—from major research libraries to small public libraries, from general academic libraries to special libraries focused on specific topics—contribute the majority of new WorldCat records. When one library contributes a record, every other WorldCat library can copy catalog that record into their own catalogs. During 2016, OCLC member librarians copy cataloged 93% of their items from WorldCat, saving an average of 10 minutes per title. Librarians copy cataloged 17,922,895 titles during that year, collectively saving around 3 million hours.

Staff members from these libraries work together to develop the best record possible for the good of every member library. Every year, they enhance millions of WorldCat records either directly through online cataloging or through the metadata synchronization capabilities of OCLC’s infrastructure software.

Join the global effort with national libraries

National libraries worldwide also contribute to and enhance WorldCat. Currently, national libraries from 45 countries on six continents share metadata in WorldCat. They also maintain holdings that allow global information seekers to access cultural and scholarly information that otherwise may never be available to them.

world map indicating national libraries in WorldCat


National Library of Australia

  • WH: 5,764,535
  • OR: 2,189,169


National Library Service

  • WH: 24,649
  • OR: 5,632


The Botswana National Library Service

  • WH: 43,992


Biblioteca Nacional de Chile

  • WH: 13,827
  • OR: 10,417


The National Library of China

  • WH: 4,231,086
  • OR: 2,604,287

Czech Republic

National Library of the Czech Republic

  • WH: 873,210
  • OR: 789,937


Det Kongelige Bibliotek

  • WH: 2,754,855
  • OR: 2

Danmarks Pædagogiske Bibliotek

  • WH: 472,420
  • OR: 222,368


The National Library of Finland

  • WH: 753,528
  • OR: 717,636


Bibliothèque nationale de France

  • WH: 18,965,325
  • OR: 18,190,139


Deutsche Nationalbibliothek

  • WH: 15,771,361
  • OR: 11,299,096


National Séchényi Library

  • WH: 16,355
  • OR: 16,356


The National Library of Ireland

  • WH: 156,457
  • OR: 37,045


The National Library of Israel

  • WH: 2,462,259
  • OR: 1,700,766


The National Library of Jamaica

  • WH: 37,072
  • OR: 23,714


National Diet Library of Japan

  • WH: 5,578,3630
  • OR: 5,137,903


Lebanese National Library

  • WH: 43


Lesotho National Library and Archives

  • WH: 1,932


Liechtenstein State Library

  • WH: 199,044


National Library of Lithuania

  • WH: 203


Perpustakaan Negara Malaysia

  • WH: 1,950,201
  • OR: 349,589


Biblioteca Nacional de México

  • WH: 428,663
  • OR: 321,516


The National Library of Namibia

  • WH: 33,629


Koninklijke Bibliotheek

  • WH: 4,062,597

New Zealand

The National Library of New Zealand

  • WH: 1,919,174
  • OR: 947,793



  • WH: 0
  • OR: 471


Biblioteka Narodowa

  • WH: 2,760,984
  • OR: 2,047,079

Russian Federation

The National Library of Russia

  • WH: 4,061

Russian State Library

  • WH: 158


National Library Board

  • WH: 2,045,094
  • OR: 455,442

South Africa

The National Library of South Africa

  • WH: 276,653
  • OR: 179,015


Biblioteca Nacional

  • WH: 4,689,320
  • OR: 4,373,106


The Swaziland National Library Service

  • WH: 2,507
  • OR: 2


Kungl. Biblioteket

  • WH: 9,030,529
  • OR: 8,310,388


The Swiss National Library

  • WH: 1,264,679
  • OR: 678,072


National Central Library

  • WH: 1,059,111
  • OR: 520,082


Milli Kütüphane

  • WH: 496

United Kingdom

The British Library

  • WH: 20,616,286
  • OR: 9,811,117

The National Library of Scotland

  • WH: 5,146,919
  • OR: 1,866,264

The National Library of Wales

  • WH: 258,949
  • OR: 47,811

United States

Library of Congress

  • WH: 13,037,616
  • OR: 12,373,154

National Agricultural Library

  • WH: 986,186
  • OR: 413,947

National Library of Education

  • WH: 80,949
  • OR: 20,345

National Library of Medicine

  • WH: 3,705,339
  • OR: 3,396,501

WH = Number of WorldCat holdings    OR = Number of original records

Data current as of June 2017

Build global understanding through Regional connections

All over the world, national libraries and other strategic library bodies oversee library cooperation to foster effective services within regions and across consortia. Such work requires robust infrastructure with agreed standards and protocols. For many years, OCLC has offered solutions that can support the needs of regional and consortial cooperation. Our infrastructure software can

  • support standards, authorities, and formats that can operate for an entire region or consortium to ensure effective cross-collaboration for libraries in that region or consortium;
  • offer functionality that supports “in region” or “in consortium” library activities, for instance, metadata management or interlibrary loan; and
  • provide an accurate record of the collective holdings of a region or consortium in the form of a union catalog or knowledge base.
persons standing in a circle

WorldShare Management Services (WMS) has metadata functions that enable the batch-loading of data from a library or libraries as well as the provision of online cataloging facilities for record creation, indexing, and authority records maintenance. WMS provides the mechanism through which groups of libraries can hold, retrieve, and display metadata as a single collection.

WMS’s significant difference from other software solutions used by regional library consortia is its inbuilt connectivity to global library data through WorldCat. The thousands of libraries around the world that operate their metadata workflows within region can do so using WMS and receive the added benefit of making their collections made visible and accessible through WorldCat. Millions of information seekers and researchers worldwide can view WorldCat collections in real time.

Learn more about WorldShare Management Services

Rely on the currency of library information wherever cataloging takes place

The French national bibliographic infrastructure, known as Sudoc, is hosted by l’Agence Bibliographique de l’Enseignement Supérieur (ABES) in Montpellier. The system serves the online cataloging and interlibrary loan efforts of all French universities and several academic libraries (both research and "grandes écoles").

The cataloging format in use is UNIMARC. A fully automated process devolves daily cataloging production to all universities from within their own library systems, either in UNIMARC or in MARC21. Their cataloging activity updates Sudoc and WorldCat. Since 2014, WorldCat updates in real time, thanks to developments in OCLC’s infrastructure.

abes logo

Since 2010, 114 French libraries have subscribed to WorldCat through ABES to make their collections more visible internationally. “The 114 libraries who have chosen to synchronize their catalogs with WorldCat have found a great way to promote their unique collections to a wider and international audience,” said David Aymonin, Director of ABES. “There is huge appreciation for the availability of APIs and web services provided by OCLC to help them add new features and data into their own library applications.”

These French libraries can download the best records from WorldCat or Sudoc, irrespective of the cataloging formats they use, and they contribute records back to WorldCat and Sudoc in the same way. WorldCat and national services like Sudoc remain in step at all times. The French library community maintains absolute currency of collections in the global environment without any change to existing workflows.

Use flexible software to your needs

In 1979, in the Netherlands, the UKB consortium (all academic libraries and the KB, the Dutch National Library) commissioned the development of the National Information Infrastructure. For many years, they enjoyed a solid foundation in this infrastructure, which consisted of the GGC catalog and NCC-IBL for resource sharing. Special and public libraries joined the initiative at a later stage, after which PiCarta, the end-user discovery and delivery service, was introduced. Today, more than 300 Dutch libraries participate.

In 2014, the UKB libraries began transitioning from the National Information Infrastructure to the WorldShare Platform. This transition, which was completed in January 2017, has multiplied the IT capabilities of the universities and has provided them with an opportunity to join an international community of librarians who cooperatively maintain and enhance metadata. Now, they are gearing up for the rollout of a national ILL service using WorldShare ILL in 2019 and for a transition from PiCarta to WorldCat Discovery, where even further efficiencies can be realized.

Learn more about WorldShare Interlibrary Loan
Learn more about WorldCat Discovery

Realize powerful economies of scale with a global approach

For more than 20 years, OCLC has partnered with Sabinet, a leading provider of electronic information services to libraries in South Africa. South Africa was the first country to build their regional infrastructure in the global WorldShare environment with WorldCat as its foundation.

Faced with the challenge of delivering high-quality education in a fragile economy, Sabinet staff recognized that partnering with a global solutions provider could help them realize powerful economies of scale. In particular, Sabinet helps South African libraries provide international materials from libraries around the world while also managing the flow of African information sources within region.

This longstanding partnership has succeeded because the approach has enabled South African libraries to retain their distinct identities while aligning their strategy with a global solution.

Embrace a community of cooperation that has lasted more than 50 years

We understand that the needs of library consortia expand over time, because our technology has evolved with those needs. OCLC’s capabilities have evolved from offering standalone union catalog systems to offering the tools needed to connect libraries on a regional, national, continental, or global level. We provide flexible metadata management software that connects with a global data network. By doing so, we facilitate greater efficiencies and raise the profile of library collections online.

Union catalogs used to offer basic look-up services, but today the bibliographic infrastructure we oversee fulfills many more functions.

OCLC's 50th anniversary timeline

Enhance fulfillment services including inter-lending and document delivery

The rapid growth in e-commerce sites has built the expectation that items discovered online can be easily accessed or obtained. In libraries as well, users expect to access information quickly even when the library doesn’t hold the item discovered. OCLC’s infrastructure can be integrated with ILL management to support resource sharing within national boundaries and across continents.

National Library of Australia and Libraries Australia logos

Libraries Australia is a resource sharing service managed by the National Library of Australia for Australian libraries and their users. At the heart of the project is the Australian National Bibliographic Database (ANBD), which is managed on OCLC software. More than 1,000 academic and public libraries—including the National Library—contribute to the more than 25 million bibliographic records and 50 million holdings in ANBD. Libraries Australia currently supports in excess of 230,000 document delivery requests every year. OCLC offers options to put ILL management firmly at the center of operations to support a user experience in which delivery of items happens as efficiently as possible.

Have confidence in your data privacy and security

OCLC has invested significantly in data center security. We have received registrations for meeting the requirements of ISO/IEC 27001:2013.

A September 2016 article in University Business Magazine stated:

“Recent highly publicized cyber-attacks have spurred a growing public awareness of the risk that sensitive personal information might be accessed by unauthorized third parties. It is not as well-known that the industry sector with the highest number of breaches is higher education: since 2005, higher education institutions have been the victim of 539 breaches involving nearly 13 million known records. This trend may be due, in part, to the sheer number of personal records kept by these institutions, considering their ever-changing student bodies, as well as the valued open, collaborative environment of most colleges and universities.”

Working with a global service provider like OCLC, you can be assured that your data security is our number one priority.

Succeed through partnerships

GBV/VZG logo

Partnership means that the division of responsibility is agreed to from the outset. Many library groups we work with are independent organizations that are solely responsible for the services they provide to their libraries. They decide for themselves to what extent they involve OCLC in service delivery. Some partners, such as the Gemeinsamer Bibliotheksverbund (GBV), work completely autonomously. They license the infrastructure software and metadata capabilities from OCLC but manage the service delivery to libraries themselves.

The GBV system is the largest implementation of OCLC’s bibliographic infrastructure technology worldwide. The GBV is formed by the seven German federal states of Bremen, Hamburg, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Lower Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, Schleswig-Holstein, Thuringia, and the Foundation of Prussian Cultural Heritage. It comprises more than 770 libraries, including all state, local, university, and technical college libraries in the participating member states as well as the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin and the UB Potsdam.

VZG hosts and maintains GBV’s regional system and provides the services. VZG’s staff provide first- and second-line support and perform their own conversions, imports, and exports as well as their own system configuration.