OCLC World Wide Web server offers information, documentation and more

DUBLIN, Ohio, Dec. 8, 1994--During its first two months of availability, the OCLC World Wide Web Server had 40,657 text files accessed from some 6,520 sites around the globe. About 20 percent of those sites are in Europe and Asia.

"We're pleasantly surprised by the high percentage of users coming in from outside the United States," said Debbie Hysell, OCLC documentation department manager. "By mounting the OCLC W3 Server, we've made information and documentation available immediately and inexpensively to people around the world. Use of the server will continue to grow as more people become aware that it's out there."

OCLC mounted its World Wide Web server on the Internet Sept. 26 to provide another means of obtaining information about OCLC, its products and services.

Technical bulletins, product information sheets, sample files for OCLC Electronic Journals Online, news releases, research reports, white papers, and an electronic form to order printed materials are among the items currently available on the server.

An electronic feedback form gives browsers of the server an easy way to send comments and suggestions to OCLC. According to Ms. Hysell, over 100 feedback forms have been received so far, with most users indicating they are pleased to see OCLC on the Web.

"Some OCLC cataloging members have expressed their delight in finding an electronic copy of Bibliographic Formats and Standards along with electronic forms for reporting problems in bibliographic records," said Ms. Hysell. "One librarian from Connecticut welcomed the `convenience of being able to keep fully informed of developments at OCLC' on her own home computer."

Subscribers to EPIC and FirstSearch, OCLC online reference services, can also initiate telnet sessions directly from the server.

In December, OCLC's 1993/94 Annual Report, complete with photos and illustrations, will be available through the OCLC W3 Server. OCLC will also start providing electronic copies of the bimonthly OCLC Newsletter through the server in December. In 1995, subscribers to OCLC Electronic Journals Online and FirstSearch will be able to access these reference services through forms-based interfaces using NCSA Mosaic software and other World Wide Web viewers.

Other future plans for the W3 Server include offering product demonstrations and guided tours as well as adding links to related servers at OCLC-affiliated regional networks, subsidiaries and member libraries.

Development of the OCLC W3 Server was a cooperative effort between the office of research and the documentation department. "The office of research continues to be very active in numerous projects relating to the World Wide Web and we were pleased to assist in developing this new service for OCLC members," said Terry Noreault, OCLC director of research and special projects.

OCLC's home page on the W3 Server can be reached through the Uniform Resource Locator: http://www.oclc.org/. To access the World Wide Web and the OCLC W3 Server, users must have viewer software installed on their workstations or on their network servers. Two popular software systems for navigating the Web are Mosaic and Lynx.