Frequently asked questions

  • Transition of FirstSearch databases to EBSCO Publishing

Frequently asked questions: transition of FirstSearch databases to EBSCO Publishing

1 March 2012


Q. What is the agreement between OCLC and EBSCO Publishing (EBSCO)?

OCLC and EBSCO Publishing (EBSCO) have signed an agreement for EBSCO to host, distribute and support ten databases now available through the OCLC FirstSearch service. The databases transitioning to EBSCO are:

  • Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals
  • Anthropological Index
  • Anthropological Literature
  • Anthropology Plus
  • Chicano Database
  • Heritage of the Printed Book (formerly Hand Press Book)*
  • History of Science, Technology and Medicine
  • Index to 19th American Art Periodicals
  • Russian Academy of Sciences Bibliographies

*The Heritage of the Printed Book database is not available from OCLC in Europe

OCLC will continue to offer access to the WorldCat and SCIPIO databases, the OCLC Collection and the FirstSearch Base Package databases on FirstSearch.


Q. When is the agreement effective?

The agreement is effective March 1, 2012.

FirstSearch subscribers will continue to receive access to all databases through the end of their subscription periods.


Q. Why is OCLC transitioning this licensed content from FirstSearch to EBSCO?

This move completes the cooperative's transition out of the role of content reseller begun in 2010. OCLC plans to focus on management and access to libraries' collections from the vendor-neutral WorldShare Platform.


Q. Why is EBSCO acquiring these databases?

EBSCO believes strongly in the power of high-end indexing and the value it brings to the research process. EBSCOhost is available to a large number of libraries and library users who rely on EBSCOhost as the primary platform for research. Introducing users to more cross-database searching and full-text SmartLinking capabilities brings additional value to its customers. Additionally, with this new grouping of powerful subject indexes available on EBSCOhost, customers of these resources who also utilize EBSCO Discovery Service (EDS) can gain the advantages of EBSCO's Platform Blending technology, which infuses results from these high-end indexes into the EDS experience for those customers subscribing on EBSCOhost.


Q. How will the transition to EBSCOhost occur?

At present, the majority of these databases are not yet available on EBSCOhost. Once a database becomes available via EBSCOhost, concurrent access on both platforms will be provided for up to a two-month period, at which time access will continue only on the EBSCOhost platform. EBSCO is working diligently toward the goal of having all databases available on EBSCOhost by January 1, 2013. Information related to more specific timing of database availability on EBSCOhost will be communicated as appropriate.


Q. When will these FirstSearch databases be made available on EBSCOhost?

Databases that are part of this agreement and already available on EBSCOhost are:

  • Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals

Any customers accessing these resources via FirstSearch can begin access on EBSCOhost immediately. Customers will receive a transition period when concurrent access to FirstSearch and EBSCOhost will be provided for up to a two-month period. If this transition occurs during a renewal period, we encourage customers to make the complete transition to EBSCOhost immediately


Your EBSCO representative will contact you to let you know when EBSCOhost access is available for the databases to which you subscribe. Customers with questions can contact their existing EBSCO sales representatives, or contact EBSCO via e-mail at: or via telephone at: 1-978- 356-6500.


Q. Does EBSCO plan to provide access to all of these databases on EBSCOhost?

Yes, EBSCO plans to continue to provide access to the ten databases listed above. All current subscriptions will be honored through their subscription end dates.


Q. How will renewal and new orders be handled moving forward?

As of March 1, 2012, all orders (new and renewal) will be processed by EBSCO. Customers with questions can contact their existing EBSCO sales representatives, or contact EBSCO via e-mail at: or via telephone at: 1-978-356-6500.


Q. Will EBSCO continue to sell the package now known as the "OCLC Research Plus Collection?"

This package includes access to SCIPIO, a database that is not transitioning to EBSCO. EBSCO will continue to provide this collection of databases (albeit under a new name TBD) with the omission of SCIPIO.


Q. Does EBSCO plan to change pricing for the affected databases upon renewal?

EBSCO's goal is to provide the best possible resources at affordable prices. EBSCO is working hard to control expenses in order to be able to maintain moderate price increases. EBSCO will take the same approach with these databases.


Q. Will the OCLC FirstSearch service continue to be available?

Yes. OCLC will continue to offer the FirstSearch service, with access to WorldCat, SCIPIO, the FirstSearch Base Package and the OCLC Collection. Going forward, OCLC will maintain a vendor-neutral content strategy in order to focus its efforts on helping libraries manage and provide access to their electronic resources. We want to partner with content providers so we can incorporate their collections into the OCLC WorldShare Platform, help our members automate their collection workflows and improve access to content.

The following databases continue to be available on the FirstSearch service:

  • OCLC WorldCat
  • ArchiveGrid
  • CAMIO–Catalog of Museum & Art Images
  • Clase and Periodica
  • ERIC
  • GPO Monthly Catalog
  • OAIster
  • OCLC ArticleFirst
  • OCLC Electronic Books
  • OCLC Electronic Collections Online
  • OCLC PapersFirst
  • OCLC ProceedingsFirst
  • World Almanacs
  • WorldCat Dissertations and Theses

OCLC is currently developing more expert/staff functionality in the interface for, WorldCat Local and WorldShare Management Services. OCLC is consulting with an advisory group of member libraries on the development of this functionality, and plans to make it publicly available in late 2012. After this new functionality is finalized and fully released in 2013, FirstSearch users will have a full year to move their public WorldCat searching from the FirstSearch interface to these services.


Q. How will customers be supported during the transition period?

EBSCO will handle all transactional aspects. Technical support will be handled by each company as it relates to the platform support needs. In other words, if questions involve FirstSearch, OCLC will provide support, while EBSCOhost-related questions and support will be handled by EBSCO's support team.


  • Contact OCLC support directly, or call 1-800-848-5800 (USA) or +1-614-793-8682.

  • EBSCO Publishing Customer Satisfaction/Technical Support can be reached via telephone at 1-800-758-5995 (North America), international access code + 800-3272-6000 (international toll-free) or through OCLC support.


Q. The databases transitioning to EBSCO have been available to WorldCat Local users through the WorldCat Local central index. Will this central index access continue following their transition to EBSCO?

The databases transitioning to EBSCO will remain available in the WorldCat Local central index as long as those databases are available on the FirstSearch service. Ongoing access through the WorldCat Local central index following their transition to EBSCOhost is currently being discussed with the appropriate database producers.