WorldCat Digital Collection Gateway frequently asked questions

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What is the WorldCat Digital Collection Gateway?

The WorldCat Digital Collection Gateway provides collection managers a self-service capability to synchronize their metadata with WorldCat to give digital collections increased visibility.

Collection managers use the Gateway to load metadata for their digital content to WorldCat and in doing so create profiles for the metadata to be regularly harvested, uploaded and converted to WorldCat (MARC) format. Once uploaded, WorldCat assigns and returns an OCLC number, which can be embedded in the metadata to support future synchronizations.

The Digital Collection Gateway can be used with any OAI-compliant repository. Once you have harvested your repository data through the Gateway, end users are able to search WorldCat and its syndicates to discover your unique digital content.

What is the difference between “Replace all Records” and “Add New Records”?

These are options that you can set in the Gateway for each collection being synchronized with WorldCat.

Replace all Records updates all the records in WorldCat for a collection, ensuring that changes in your metadata are reflected in the corresponding WorldCat records. If there are new records in the collection, then those are simply added to WorldCat as new records.

Add New Records adds only the records in your repository that have not already been added to WorldCat.

How will duplicates be handled? For example, if my organization has a rare book that we’ve digitized and harvested, what happens if another institution harvests that same book?

The Gateway has built in de-duplication functionality based on the unique URL for your digital items. The Gateway will not allow the addition of new records when it finds other records in WorldCat that already contain the URL of your digital content. This means that your data will not be duplicated, even if you have shared it with other aggregators.

Can more than one person from my organization use the WorldCat Digital Collection Gateway?

After you receive your Gateway key, you will be able to create separate Gateway registrations at Only one person can manage a collection at a time, but that just means that one person has control of the editing. Any registered user can go into the Manage Account tab and assign a collection to themselves or someone else. In other words, if ‘Jane L.’ is out of the office, then ‘Tom S.’ can assign any of the collections assigned to ‘Jane L.’ to himself and manage the metadata map and sync schedule.

Metadata in my repository is contributed by several different organizations. How can these organizations be given attribution in WorldCat?

You can assign a single, unique OCLC symbol for each collection in each repository you manage. Prior to performing a sync for the first time, you can apply an OCLC symbol to a collection in the Collection Profile section. You cannot assign multiple OCLC symbols to a particular collection. The Collection Profile defaults to the OCLC symbol associated with your repository’s Gateway key.

When I am viewing my digital records in the WorldCat Digital Collection Gateway, the number of records in a collection sometimes changes.

After logging into the Gateway, you will begin to edit the metadata map beginning with the first record in a collection. In the top right navigation, the Gateway indicates that a certain number of records are in the collection. Until the Gateway has retrieved all the records in the collection, that number may change as you advance from one record to the next.

It appears that some of my records were not harvested to WorldCat. How can I tell what happened?

The Gateway provides harvest details in WorldCat Sync Reports. The Sync Report includes harvest error detail about the OAI interaction and error message. Harvests that are interrupted because of an error include details on the number of records processed before the interruption.

My server configuration has changed. How do I change the corresponding harvest URL in the Digital Collection Gateway?

Will institutions get cataloging credits for records that are harvested from OAI-compliant repositories into WorldCat via the Gateway?

No. The Gateway is a free self-service tool provided to digital repository managers to increase the visibility and access of their digital collections by sharing the metadata via WorldCat.

Does OCLC’s “WorldCat Rights and Responsibilities for the OCLC Cooperative” apply to records loaded through the Gateway?

The WorldCat Rights and Responsibilities for the OCLC Cooperative defines how OCLC Members may utilize WorldCat metadata. Your own use of the metadata you contribute to WorldCat is not limited in any way. See Information for metadata contributors for information about how OCLC manages metadata added to WorldCat through the Gateway. Also, please note that the Gateway includes a built-in, self-service deletion feature if you wish to remove your metadata from WorldCat.

Does my use of the Gateway make my organization a member of OCLC?

No, use of the Gateway does not constitute membership in OCLC. For information about membership or becoming an OCLC member, please see OCLC Membership or send an e-mail to

Questions specific to repository managers with OAI-compliant repositories (non-CONTENTdm repositories)

Can I register more than one repository with the WorldCat Digital Collection Gateway?

Yes. Modifying or issuing Gateway keys to accommodate multiple users, as well as multiple repositories, is a simple configuration. In the OCLC Online Service Center order form, you will be asked to choose between 3 types of Gateway keys. We recommend 10:10 (10 users: 10 repositories). Alternatively, you may contact OCLC support and request that your existing key be modified to one of the other key options.

In the Manage Accounts tab of the Gateway I notice that I can select a “repository type” from a pull-down list. Are there different features available for different repository types?

This selection is for informational purposes only. It informs OCLC staff about the type of OAI repository software that you own. It is not used within the system to change capabilities. It is used for troubleshooting purposes.

When I log into the WorldCat Digital Collection Gateway, am I able to harvest my entire repository as one set?

In the Gateway, sets are enabled by default. If you choose to disable sets, this is a permanent change that cannot be undone without contacting OCLC to manually reconfigure and reharvest. Depending upon how your repository is configured, you may have the option of being able to sync your entire repository as a single collection (Entire Repository) or as separate collections (Theses; Dissertations). Keeping the default enable sets may provide both options if you have configured an Entire Repository set. Changing the disable sets N option to Y will provide only the entire-repository-as-single-collection option permanently.

If your repository doesn’t support OAI sets, then the Gateway will enable the “Entire Repository” feature by default.

What if there are only certain sets that I want Gateway to harvest?

Create metadata maps only for those sets you want to synchronize with WorldCat. If you never create a metadata map or don't set up a sync, then the sets won't be loaded.

Can I create a collection description in Gateway?

The Gateway will use the information provided by your OAI repository in the setDescription field to create a collection description in WorldCat. A collection description allows end users to put your collection in context.

Does all metadata have to come from source data, or can I specify more collection-level data in mappings?

The Gateway has a feature to allow you to control the “material type icon” from data in your source records. It also has a prefix/suffix feature to allow you to append constant data to existing source metadata fields, and a constant data feature to allow you to supply collection-level data to be applied to each metadata record uploaded for a collection.

Can one source metadata field be mapped to multiple display fields?

Yes. The Gateway’s Edit Metadata Map page allows you to add a mapping for a source metadata field and create multiple mappings for the field. Using the replace capability on the Edit Metadata Map page allows you to remap a single field to a single new display location.

Can I tell the Gateway how to display a thumbnail for my digital content?

  • If you are using CONTENTdm, the interface is programmed to build a thumbnail URL from the Reference URL in your metadata.
  • If you are using a different type of repository, for example DSpace or bepress, you can configure your server to include a thumbnail URL in the metadata and use the Gateway's thumbnail mapping feature. This feature is described on page 26, "Adding a thumbnail image," in The WorldCat Digital Collection Gateway Tutorial.

Is there a suggestion on how I should configure data such as language codes?

The Gateway will use the information in your metadata record’s dc:language field to construct more precise MARC mappings. The Gateway will use the language information you supply in ISO 693-2,3 standard language tables and complete more of the language details in the resulting record.

The OAI-PMH protocol allows the transfer of any metadata format that has a valid, addressable schema/namespace. My repository can support Dublin Core and MARC. Since we can supply MARC, can that be used?

MARC records are not supported by the Gateway. The Gateway only supports Dublin Core, Qualified Dublin Core, OCLC DC (only for CONTENTdm repositories), and the European Semantic Elements (a set of extensions of Qualified Dublin Core).

I noticed the Gateway checking my repository to see if it supports metadata prefix “oclc_dc”. What is this?

“oclc_dc” is a custom Dublin Core extension for CONTENTdm servers. It is an extension of Qualified Dublin Core.

Why am I getting errors in the Gateway when I attempt to use the Qualified Dublin Core metadataPrefix with my DSpace server?

You need to reconfigure the Qualified Dublin Core OAI output for your DSpace server. Please contact WorldCat Digital Collection Gateway Support.

Questions specific to CONTENTdm repositories

I’m using Connexion digital import to load records into one of my CONTENTdm collections. Should I use the WorldCat Digital Collection Gateway?

It depends. If you only use Connexion digital import to load items into your CONTENTdm collection then there is no need to use the Gateway. With Connexion digital import, you’ve hand-coded a bibliographic record in WorldCat for each item you’ve uploaded. If you use Connexion digital import exclusively to load content into a CONTENTdm collection there is no need to harvest records back into WorldCat.

If you load some items into a CONTENTdm collection using Connexion digital import and other items into the collection using the Project Client or Web Add function of CONTENTdm, you can still use the Gateway to synchronize your entire collection with WorldCat. Items uploaded using Connexion digital import are already in WorldCat, so they don’t need to be synchronized and are ignored by the Gateway during processing. All the other records in your collection are processed by the Gateway according to the record processing settings you’ve chosen, either “Replace all Records” or “Add New Records”.

Can I register more than one CONTENTdm user with the WorldCat Digital Collection Gateway?

Yes. Modifying or issuing CONTENTdm Gateway license keys to accommodate multiple users is a simple configuration. To accommodate additional users, you may send an e-mail request to OCLC support and request that your existing key be modified to one of the other key options (10 users or 50 users).

What if there are only certain collections that I want Gateway to harvest?

Only those collections that are enabled for WorldCat Sync in CONTENTdm Administration will be available for harvesting. Additionally, create metadata maps only for those sets you want to synchronize with WorldCat. If you never create a metadata map or don't set up a sync, then the collections won't be loaded.

How do I create a collection description in Gateway?

A collection description allows end users to put your collection in context. Once your collection has been enabled in CONTENTdm Administration, you are asked to provide an optional collection-level description. When you are logged into the Gateway, you have the option to then add that collection-level description in the Collection Profile section.

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