WorldCat Local will eventually be replaced with WorldCat Discovery. Please see the WorldCat Discovery support pages.

WorldCat® Local frequently asked questions

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What configuration options are available to a library in WorldCat Local?

Configuration options include the following:

  • Unique URL as a subdomain of
  • Branded interface with logo and color options for backgrounds and links
  • Branded version of the WorldCat search box for use on your Web site and other Web sites that are familiar to your users
  • Definition of institution, branches and/or group to determine the priority position in search results
  • Interoperability with a library's local system and/or consortial borrowing system (three configurable levels) in areas such as display of item availability, circulation, resource sharing, the ability to place holds and link to an OpenURL resolver
  • Definition of the workflow for institution requests, group requests and requests made to other WorldCat libraries.
  • Selection of databases, to be included in the single search
  • Creation of searchable groups of databases
  • Designation of default database(s) or database group
  • Use of information from Local Holdings Records (LHRs)

Can a WorldCat Local search box be added to e-learning tools such as Blackboard?

Yes. Library staff may place their WorldCat Local™ search box on any Web site or in any Web-enabled environment where they want it to be accessible to library users.

How does WorldCat Local differ from OCLC's group catalogs? Why would my library want to purchase WorldCat Local if we already have a group catalog?

WorldCat Local delivers a locally configured view of your library's and/or group's collections through the environment. This functionality goes beyond what is available in group catalogs on FirstSearch and in the interface.

Below are many of the key characteristics of group catalogs on FirstSearch, group catalogs on and WorldCat Local.

Group catalogs on FirstSearch:

  • FirstSearch-based databases that contain holdings of a specific library group
  • Visible to users of group participants with optional "guest view" for other users
  • "Scoped views" of content help users search subsets of the larger group's holdings
  • Group branding on interface
  • Functionality mirrors FirstSearch service
  • Authorization required for access.

Group catalogs on

  • interface
  • Group holdings elevated in relevance ranking
  • Scoping lets users view results for subsets of the larger group's holdings
  • Group-level branding
  • Custom Web links to group-specified sites
  • Ability to put search box on any Web site to reach users where they frequently search for information.

WorldCat Local:

  • Single-search access to 500+ million items from your library and the world's library collections
  • Local holdings elevated in relevance ranking
  • Option for up to two levels of group/consortium holdings to be elevated in search results
  • Local branding
  • Custom Web links to locally specified sites
  • Interoperability with local ILS for item availability and placing of holds
  • Interoperability with consortial ILS for item availability and placing of holds
  • Interoperability with local OpenURL resolver for delivery of online materials
  • Interoperability with resource sharing system for placing of interlibrary loan requests
  • Opportunity to integrate local collections in search results
  • Ability to place search box on any Web site to reach users where they frequently search for information.

What kinds of statistical reports does OCLC provide to WorldCat Local libraries?

OCLC provides WorldCat Local subscribers with access to a hosted tracking/metrics tool to view all Web usage statistics for their WorldCat Local site. This consists of dozens of reports, most of which are customizable to fit an institution's needs. The reports include (but are not limited to) search counts, search terms, delivery option clicks and page views for every local page.

Usage statistics for licensed content from OCLC that is accessed through WorldCat Local are included in FirstSearch statistical reports at and through My Files (under the WorldShare Metadata tab). Usage statistics for content from non-OCLC sources are available from the providers of those sources.

Starting in November, all statistics will be available via the hosted tracking tool.

How can our library make interface changes or suggestions?

OCLC reviews feedback from library staff and library users as it plans enhancements to the service. In addition, OCLC conducts extensive usability testing with a variety of users to determine needed changes.

What is the difference between WorldCat Local and TouchPoint?

Unlike WorldCat Local, OCLC TouchPoint is deployed within a library's service environment, rather than on the web. It is an ideal solution for those libraries that require a high degree of customization for their discovery environment.


In a consortium in which libraries share bibliographic records but only a few libraries use WorldCat Local, how will the correct records display in search results?

WorldCat Local uses the WorldCat database for discovery. As long as your holdings are set and up-to-date in WorldCat, users will find your library's resources. When each library is identified in the local catalog as holding the item, then sharing of bibliographic records is not an issue.

What does WorldCat Local offer a consortium that has no union catalog other than an OCLC borrowing group?

WorldCat Local can be configured to display holdings of a group of libraries—even those that do not share a union catalog—in search results. The libraries in the group can determine how to best link users to their resource sharing option.

Will WorldCat Local work in a shared library system if only one institution wants to participate?

Yes. Libraries have implemented WorldCat Local with the display of their resources first and the resources from libraries in their consortium as the second tier in their search results displays.

In a consortium, must all libraries use the same system in order to implement WorldCat Local?

No, all libraries in a consortium are not required to use the same system in order to implement WorldCat Local.

My library system has a shared collection that does not provide information about items located in individual libraries. How will we provide information about collections of individual libraries?

Library staff should work with an OCLC representative to discuss a reclamation project to assign a unique OCLC symbol to records on an individual library basis.

My library is not part of a consortium. Can I choose a consortium I know is familiar to my users as the second tier of holdings displayed in my WorldCat Local implementation?

Yes, even though your library is not in a formal consortial agreement with other libraries, you may still select a group of libraries with which you are most interested in sharing as one of your tiers.

We are one of several libraries in a large research library system. What does "local library" mean in this context? Are settings at the campus or system level rather than our library level?

If your library has its own unique OCLC symbol in WorldCat, you may determine that WorldCat Local will display your library's resources first in results, followed by those of the other libraries in your system. If your users are familiar with searching across all system libraries, you may prefer to rank system holdings first in results lists.

Will WorldCat Local let our users request consortial materials if no other libraries in the consortium use WorldCat Local?

Yes. WorldCat Local can be set up so your users can easily identify items owned by other members of your consortium, as long as their ownership information is in the WorldCat database. Your WorldCat Local service will be configured to enable users to obtain the materials they need using the familiar delivery services you already provide to them.


How do users gain access to eBooks via WorldCat Local?

Access to eBooks from is achieved through:

  • IP authentication
  • Remote authentication through a proxy server
  • Links in the 856 field of WorldCat records.

Is it possible to block the ILL option for items that we own, but do not lend (such as multimedia materials)?

Yes, libraries can define as part of their workflow fulfillment options when they allow users to place ILL requests.

With which resource sharing systems does WorldCat Local operate?

WorldCat Local currently interoperates with OCLC's WorldCat Resource Sharing, ILLiad and VDX services, in addition to the INN-Reach service from Innovative Interfaces, Universal Borrowing (shared catalog) from ExLibris and RELAIS ILL. WorldCat Local can be configured to interoperate with other OpenURL 1.0-compliant resource sharing services.


How does relevance ranking work in WorldCat Local?

WorldCat Local determines relevance in the same way as, but also factors in the holdings of your library to elevate locally-owned items in search results.

There are several components to the WorldCat Local relevance algorithm:

  • The search terms in the author then title fields are weighted first, then the rest of the fields of the record
  • Term frequency
  • Proximity of the terms to one another
  • Recency (more recent items are weighted more heavily)
  • How widely held
  • Locally held items are surfaced to the top of the results if the library chooses this as the default sort

Can my library configure its own relevance algorithm for a WorldCat Local installation?

No. The relevance algorithm is maintained by OCLC for all libraries that use WorldCat Local. OCLC regularly evaluates and adjusts its algorithm to ensure your users receive the best possible result sets.

Can users limit search results to only available items?

No. WorldCat Local does not currently have the ability to limit to only available items.

Is there a way to limit search results to one location?

Yes. WorldCat Local supports scoping of search results. Scoping is based on how a library has set up ranking of search results. For example, libraries can set the default scope to display just items held by their library or by their consortium (which would include their holdings) or all libraries in WorldCat.

In addition, WorldCat Local supports branch-level scoping. OCLC will work with libraries during their retrospective batch project to set Local Holdings Records (LHRs) to identify items held in their branches.

How does the FRBR algorithm used in affect a library's local holdings display in WorldCat Local?

Items derived from a source work are combined into work sets using the FRBR algorithm developed by OCLC Research. Multiple-language items are placed into their own work sets so that they may be represented separately within the search results.

On, the representative records for the work sets are those items that are the most widely held; in WorldCat Local, the representative records for the work sets are those items that are the most widely held or the most widely held that are also held by the institution/group.

All items in a work set may be discovered under the Editions link in the detailed WorldCat record.

Can library staff control the order or composition of the faceted results? For example, could staff remove or rearrange facets?

Facets related to result sets are not configurable. OCLC may revise, add or remove facets depending on user feedback and usability testing on the use of the service. Facets are currently presented by frequency of use.


How is WorldCat Local priced?

WorldCat Local pricing includes an annual subscription fee and a one-time implementation fee. The subscription fee is based on the size of a library's user population. Contact an OCLC representative at to obtain pricing for your library.

The costs of WorldCat Local are in addition to those of an ILS. How can a library justify this additional cost?

When a library subscribes to WorldCat Local, it pays for a Web-based service that expands discovery of its collection on the Web and better integrates the disparate resources it provides into that discovery experience. Users search collections through a single, simple Web interface and find:

  • Items in the traditional library catalog.
  • Materials (increasingly, digital assets) in special collections outside the catalog
  • Article records from a growing number of familiar databases.

In addition, integration of WorldCat Local with a library's delivery options ensures that users can get the resources they identify through the service. The service displays delivery options that are appropriate to the needed resource, eliminating the need for users to move among multiple services to obtain the items they need.

The breadth of the OCLC cooperative lets a library that implements WorldCat Local deliver a world of physical and electronic library-owned content to its users while still keeping the focus on the library's collections. WorldCat Local search results list local holdings first, followed by those of a consortium or group, and then those of all WorldCat libraries globally.

Libraries that manage timely updates of their holdings into WorldCat for discovery through WorldCat Local also ensure that resources in their collections will be discoverable on the open Web through WorldCat partners such as Google and Yahoo! Search, and social tools such as link sharing and list making.

In the future, circulation, print and electronic acquisitions, and license management modules will increase the utility of WorldCat Local even further, allowing for more integration of library management services with library discovery—the next generation ILS.

So, for an incremental cost, WorldCat Local libraries receive benefits far beyond any system they could have implemented independently. WorldCat Local absorbs the complexity of providing single-search and makes physical and electronic collections more discoverable and thus more easily accessed by library users.


With which ILSs does WorldCat Local work?

OCLC has completed integration of WorldCat Local with several integrated library systems, and continues to work on interoperability with other systems. WorldCat Local is currently active at libraries with the following systems:

  • Innovative Interfaces: Millennium, INNOPAC, INN-Reach
  • SirsiDynix: Horizon, Symphony, Unicorn
  • ExLibris: Voyager, Aleph
  • Axiell: OpenGalaxy Plus
  • Talis: Alto

Expanded access to other ILSs will be added in phases.

WorldCat Local supports a number of activities for authenticated users.

Returnable items including but not limited to books, CDs and DVDs Place a hold
  • Innovative: Millennium, INNOPAC
  • ExLibris: Aleph, Voyager
  • SirsiDynix: Horizon, Symphony, Unicorn
  • Axiell: OpenGalaxy Plus
  • Talis: Alto
Request a selected item
  • WorldCat Resource Sharing™
  • OCLC ILLiad™
  • Innovative: INN-Reach
  • OCLC VDX®*
  • Voyager Universal Borrowing (shared catalog)
Nonreturnable items, such as articles
  • Link to full text from FirstSearch or Electronic Collections Online™
  • Link to article full text through a library's OpenURL resolver via the OpenURL Resolver Gateway

* Compatibility with this system is currently under development.

Examples of WorldCat Local sites:

How does OCLC support a library that migrates from one automation system to another?

Libraries are required to give OCLC 90 days notice prior to migrating to a new system. OCLC will then work with library staff to transition their use of WorldCat Local to their new service. When a library adopts a new local system for which WorldCat Local has not been configured, OCLC will make reasonable efforts to develop interoperability with the system.

How does OCLC obtain circulation information from my ILS?

Circulation information including item location, call number, status and OPAC links is retrieved from your local OPAC using screen scraping or Z39.50. The method used depends on information available to OCLC about your library's current services.

WorldCat Local communicates with ILSs using the OCLC control number in catalog records. For this reason, your library must index the OCLC control number in a consistent manner with consistent prefixes in order for the system-to-system communication to occur.

Starting February 16, 2011, OCLC will store your local system bibliographic numbers when you do a batchload project as a way for WorldCat Local to communicate with your local system.

How is shelf status displayed in an ILS shared by a group of libraries?

During configuration, you may identify the locations that should be sorted to appear at the top of results lists in order to appropriately separate your library's holdings from the rest of the holdings in the shared catalog. Your staff will specify location names that will appear first in detailed record displays.


What types of content can a library integrate into WorldCat Local?

In addition to indexing content in a library's catalog or a group's union catalog, OCLC provides access to other library collections such as databases that a library manages outside its catalog.

Licensed databases are accessible through a central index and via remote access to content provider sites. These include databases purchased from OCLC (FirstSearch, ArchiveGrid and CAMIO) and other content providers that include CSA, EBSCO, Gale, H.W. Wilson, Lexis-Nexis, Newsbank/Readex and ProQuest. OCLC plans to include as much licensed content as possible in the central index and provide access to content via remote access as a secondary option. All search results from electronic licensed content and WorldCat are integrated into a single result set for easy review by users. Consult the OCLC Web site for a complete list of available databases.

Resources already indexed in that are included by extension in WorldCat Local are:

  • Article-level records from a growing number of databases including ArticleFirst, MEDLINE, Elsevier, ERIC, British Library Inside Serials, JSTOR, OAIster, PapersFirst and ProceedingsFirst
  • Licensed eSerials collections (via the OCLC eSerials Holdings service)
  • Locally digitized materials created with CONTENTdm that have been added to WorldCat
  • "Open access" content cataloged into WorldCat by librarians at participating institutions. This includes public domain eBooks and authoritative Web sites.

Is OCLC working with Google to provide access to books in the digitization project?

OCLC presents the link to the preview or full-text version of Google's digitized items on the detailed record through use of the Google Book Search API. Google has provided OCLC with the records that represent the items it has digitized. These records are currently in the process of being loaded to WorldCat.

In addition, Google has added a "Find this book in a library" link in Google Scholar to digitized books for which records exist in WorldCat. This option displays near the "Buy this book" button on the right side of the Google Scholar screen.

Social tool

Can library staff block access to social tools? We block MySpace for children, etc.

As part of the terms and conditions of the site, all users must be over the age of 13. OCLC does not have the capability to block social tools because they are designed for the benefit of the entire community (i.e., all users can benefit from the reviews, ratings or recommendations provided by others).

OCLC has implemented mechanisms to enable the community to police itself. Each page that supports user-contributed content enables users to flag inappropriate content on that page. Once a page is flagged, OCLC staff reviews it and takes appropriate action.

Will WorldCat Local add the ability for users to add content to the system (i.e., books and other materials not already in the system, as well as tags, subjects, etc.)?

OCLC provides additional ways for users to contribute content to that will also display in WorldCat Local. Users can tag bibliographic records, reviews and lists.

Library holdings and cataloging

Not all of my holdings are in WorldCat—how do I update them?

If your library has not initiated a batchload reclamation project since July 1, 2005, you may request a no-charge, one-time retrospective batchload of your entire collection in your library catalog into WorldCat. You may use this retrospective batchload to add holdings, original records and local data such as local subject headings, uniform titles and notes.

For additional information, see Batchload.

If I catalog a record today, when will it be visible through WorldCat Local?

New cataloging additions to your collection will be visible in WorldCat Local in real time.

What are the plans for making data from our local catalog available in WorldCat Local?

Following enhancements to batchload ordering installed February 16, 2011, you can batchload local bibliographic data into WorldCat to prepare for upcoming WorldCat Local enhancements that will let your users search and display your local data. Local bibliographic data you can batchload includes local subject headings, uniform titles, and much more. You must be fully subscribed to WorldCat Local and maintain unique persistent local system bibliographic numbers in your records.

How many tiers of holdings can be configured within a WorldCat Local implementation?

A WorldCat Local library can have three tiers of holdings plus a fourth WorldCat tier as part of its relevance ranking. The first three tiers are configurable by the library, and the fourth tier is always the global view of resources in all WorldCat libraries.

A WorldCat Local implementation can, for example, have local holdings in the first tier, group/consortial holdings in the second, a state library system’s holdings in the third, and then WorldCat libraries.

Can my users limit search results to resources located at a specific branch?

WorldCat Local can show which location of your library holds copies, provided individual branch holdings are clearly represented in WorldCat. At a minimum, your library should have a unique symbol in WorldCat, and that symbol should be attached to all records for items in your collections. If your library currently indicates branch library holdings in the local holdings field of your catalog records (MARC field 049), you will need to work with OCLC to create records that represent branch level collections at the OCLC symbol level.

If your branches are represented separately by three or five character OCLC institution symbols, you may configure scoping in the Search Results and Relevancy Ranking module of OCLC Service Configuration.

For additional information, see Local Holdings Record Batchload for Branch Level Scoping.

Does branch scoping change the relevance ranking of the results?

No. Relevance ranking is based on a library's OCLC symbol, among other things. The relevance-based order of a result set doesn't change when branch scoping is applied. Branch scoping supports scoping of the result set to the items located at a branch.

The relevance of your library's WorldCat Local implementation is configured primarily by the addition of your library's holdings to WorldCat, which elevates the resources you own to the top of search results. Relevance is also affected by the WorldCat-based holdings of the institutions or consortium you select as your second and third tiers.

You may also display your default search results by library and relevance (current default) or by relevance only.

How can my library make sure its serial holdings information is present in its WorldCat Local implementation?

Make sure that your holdings are set on all your serial records. Staff can save time by using the eSerials Holdings service to add their holdings symbol to WorldCat records. eSerials Holdings automates the process of setting and maintaining holdings, working with partners that include WorldCat Link Manager™, EBSCO LinkSource, Serials Solutions 360Link and the TDNet e-Resource manager.

OCLC has enhanced the display of serials holdings information in WorldCat Local through the use of Local Holdings Records (LHRs) in WorldCat. When enabled, LHRs are used to display serials data in detailed records instead of pulling this information from local library OPACs. Use of LHRs for delivering serials information means that the information displays more quickly to users than when this data is retrieved from OPACs.

When the LHR option is enabled, each time a user clicks to view a detailed record for a serial or article, WorldCat Local will look for the presence of the related LHR. If an LHR is found, WorldCat Local will display data from the following fields and subfields:

  • Online links (856 field)
  • Summary holdings data
  • Call number (852 $k,h,I,m – in this order)

If an LHR is not found, WorldCat Local will attempt to retrieve this information from a library's local OPAC.

When users see the holdings information display, they may choose to "Get current status information" to retrieve item availability and status information from their local OPAC.

Are records in our local catalog that do not contain OCLC numbers included in search results?

If your OCLC symbol is set on the record in WorldCat it will be included in the search result. However, in order for WorldCat Local to display real time item availability for your local catalog the OCLC number must be indexed in all records in your local system The OCLC number is a unique identifier that connects records in WorldCat with records in your local system that contain location and availability information.

OCLC plans to add local system number as another way for WorldCat Local to communicate with your local system. Starting on February 16, 2011, OCLC adds local system bibliographic numbers in WorldCat when you batchload your bibliographic records. The numbers provide another way for WorldCat Local to communicate with your local system, for example, to display local bibliographic data to your WorldCat Local users.

Does the use of WorldCat Local require that all records in our catalog be in WorldCat? Does this include our records for licensed content?

WorldCat Local searches records in WorldCat and does not search your local system. This means all records currently in your local system must be in WorldCat.

OCLC recognizes that libraries often obtain bibliographic records from record providers that prohibit loading of those records into WorldCat. To resolve this issue, OCLC has an ongoing program to identify these record sets and their providers and negotiate directly with the record providers on behalf of all our members for permission to load the records into WorldCat. See the list of vendors that currently partner with OCLC to provide records of their content.

Can OCLC customize mapping of IP addresses to ZIP codes? For example, our IP looks like it is coming from Fairbanks, Alaska, but it is really in Anchorage some 500 miles away.

No. This mapping occurs automatically based on information WorldCat Local can perceive about the IP of the incoming machine. In the case where an IP is provided by an Internet Service Provider (ISP) that is not located near the user, location information may not match that of a user. Users always have the option to change the location to the correct ZIP, state, city or country. Once a user makes this change, a cookie is written to that machine and subsequent visits to or WorldCat Local will reflect that change.

Is the information about print and digital access to a periodical driven by a single record approach? How would that work for the libraries with a separate record approach?

The WorldCat database does not use a single-record approach. OCLC will work with libraries to ensure holdings are on all applicable record formats in WorldCat through a reclamation project.

What is the process for adding my library's symbols to vendor record sets for which OCLC has obtained permission to surface through WorldCat Local?

If your library already licenses vendor record sets for which OCLC has obtained permission to surface though WorldCat Local, log on or create an account in the OCLC Online Service Center to order a batchload project for adding your library's holdings symbol to the record sets.

Please see more about Ordering.