Frequently Asked Questions

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Standard Collections from the WorldCat knowledge base

I want records for ejournals, ebook collections, and for Films on Demand. Which collections are available and how many titles have OCLC numbers?

All collections currently available in the WorldCat knowledge base are listed in the spreadsheet found on the Release Notes page. It is updated monthly to reflect changes to the available collections.

See the Collections in the WorldCat knowledge base (.xlsx) on the Release Notes page.

The spreadsheet includes the percentage of items in each collection that contain an OCLC number. Items with OCLC numbers can have holdings set in WorldCat and/or can have MARC records output. Note that if a title does not have an OCLC number when you activate the title, you will automatically receive a record if an OCLC number is added at a later time.

The spreadsheet also includes:

  • Collection Name
  • Collection ID
  • Collection Provider
  • Number of Titles in the Collection
  • Customizability
  • Open Access status

If you previously looked at the spreadsheet and would like to know what collections were added or modified this month, see the Monthly Updates: Knowledge Base Data Updates on the Release Notes page.

Why weren’t records output for all of my titles? Will records be output for every title in my collection?

If title data from a provider does not include an OCLC number and the knowledge base cannot add an OCLC number using its matching process, a record will not be output for that title. This can include cases where:

  1. No records exist for the item in WorldCat.
  2. Records exist but are not classified as electronic resources in a way that corresponds to the knowledge base’s matching process because of the complexities of cataloging electronic items.

If a matching OCLC number becomes available at a later date, the title will be matched and its record will be delivered automatically. Any records that do not have a matching OCLC number can be corrected manually by the library, and the corresponding record in WorldCat will be used in the future.  To view gaps in OCLC number coverage for an individual collection, download the collection’s KBART sheet and review the column labeled, “oclc_number.”

See the complete list of collections in the WorldCat knowledge base. It includes the percentage of items in each collection that contain an OCLC number.

How are Standard Collections titles matched to records in WorldCat for MARC record output or WorldCat holdings maintenance?

Titles in the WorldCat knowledge base are matched to WorldCat based on their metadata, such as the format, title of the item, standard identifiers (ISSN/ISBN), publisher, and author (for books). This process identifies all records in WorldCat that match the provided data and then narrows the match to a single record based on three criteria:

  1. Select a matching record with the same format as the item.
  2. When there are multiple records that match the item profile, select the record with more holdings.
  3. When the prior two criteria are the same, select the record with the smallest OCLC number.

Certain collections have been matched through an alternate process. These correspond to content providers who are participating in one of OCLC's cataloging services. OCLC number matches for these collections are either supplied by the content provider or merged into the WorldCat knowledge base from sources internal to OCLC. As a result, they may not follow the exact same matching process described above.

How do I get updated records for my holdings in WorldCat?

Go to Metadata – Manage Collections - Library Holdings - Enable MARC Record Delivery and click on the WorldCat Updates tab.

  • [Choose “None” if you do not want to receive updated records based on changes to the WorldCat master record. Note: If you choose “None,” you will receive updates only when your held records are merged into another record
    in WorldCat.]
  • Choose “Based on changes to the WorldCat master records for my knowledge base Standard and WorldCat Query Collections” if you want update records but only for knowledge base collections (not for your holdings in WorldCat).
  • Choose “Based on changes to the WorldCat master record for my knowledge base Standard and WorldCat Query Collections and my WorldCat Holdings” if you want update records for your holdings in WorldCat (and for knowledge base collections if you have them).
    If you choose this option, proceed by including your OCLC symbol(s) for which you want WorldCat Updates.

--If you have Standard and WorldCat Query Collections, see: Enable MARC Record Delivery and Customize your Records guide.

--If you do not have knowledge base collections and solely want update records for titles you have set holding on previously in WorldCat, see: Get update records for your holdings in WorldCat guide.

WorldCat Query Collections

Can I query for just serials or e-serials?

Constructing queries for specific formats is best accomplished by using a WorldCat Search index that corresponds to the material type. As an example, using “mt:ser” would return results with the Material Type: Serials. Combining indexes limits results further. The search “mt:url AND mt:ser” returns Material Type: Serials where a URL is present in the 856 field.

Further instructions on using these indexes are available in the Searching WorldCat Indexes document. Note the section towards the end of the document called “Format and Material type values indexed.”

If you are looking for records with your holdings, you should add the Holding Library (li:) search to your query and follow the index label and colon with your OCLC symbol (For example: li:ocl).

How can I set up a query to get records for all my holdings?

Create a WorldCat Query Collection. For help, see “Define and configure WorldCat Query Collections” in the Enable MARC Record Delivery and Customize your Records guide.

For the WorldCat Selection Criteria, add the Holding Library (li:) search to the query and follow the index label and colon with your OCLC symbol (for example: li:ocl). Be sure to enable MARC record delivery for your collection. Select the option for one-time or ongoing delivery.

Log back in within 24 hours to view the record count and confirm your collection. (Often the count is available within a few hours.)  Records will be output in 48 hours or less.

NOTE:  If you want updated records for master record changes on your holdings in WorldCat, you will also need to select the options under the WorldCat Updates tab.

How do I enter selection criteria when I create a WorldCat Query Collection?

Search criteria for WorldCat Query collections are entered using a combination of WorldCat Indexes and Boolean operators. Boolean operators must be entered in all capital letters (AND, OR, NOT).

Additional instructions on using these indexes are available in the Searching WorldCat Indexes document.

Please note that not all indexes are currently supported. "Range of year" is not currently available in WorldShare. This will be fixed in the future, but for now, if you need to use a "range of year" please use ".." (dot dot) rather than "-" (a dash).

For example:
yr:2000..2013

Retrieving Files

How long are files on the server?

Files are retained on the FTP server for 90 days.

How can I easily distinguish Delete records?

Delete records contain Record Status code “d” in the leader. Delete records are also output in a separate file.

How can I distinguish which collections my records are from?

Records are output to the OCLC Data Exchange Server to three folders: New, Updates, Deletes.

In the Record Delivery tab, you can set up separate delivery for all serials and/or for your WorldCat Holdings Collection. You will see the options listed as follows:

  • Deliver my serials in a separate file (.ser)
  • Deliver records for WorldCat holdings collection in a separate file (.wcholdings)

For help, see the Record Delivery section of the documentation page.

At the collection-level, you have options to set up separate delivery for specific collections. Files will be output to a separate file within the New, Updates and Deletes folders. Search for a collection and look in the properties drop-down to see these options. See the Collection-level options document for help.

If you requested Collection Manager after August 2013, the Provider and Collection Name will be included in the 590 field by default. This will pull in the provider name and collection name into all of your records. This will also help you know which record came from which collection.

Can I receive email notification when files are ready for me to retrieve?

Yes. Use the Reports tab in the WorldShare interface to sign up for emails. For help, see the Reports area of the documentation page. These reports accurately depict what is on the server with a 24 hour delay, i.e., when a new file is on the server, you will get an email 24 hrs later.

You may also view reports in OCLC Usage Statistics Portal (CUSP) - http://www.stats.oclc.org

How do I retrieve my MARC records?

OCLC Order Services ( orders@oclc.org) has created a File Transfer Protocol (FTP) account for you on the OCLC Data Exchange Server. If you are not accustomed to using command line, consider using a FTP client. There are many free versions available. Files of records are transferred to your institution’s folder as they are processed.

Consult the Retrieve your records section of the website for help.

If you are wondering about timing issues, i.e., how long it takes from the time you enable MARC record delivery to the time your records will be avaiable on the server, please see the Delivery options for the output of MARC document.

If you are waiting for an email report to tell you your records have been output, keep in mind that once your records are on the OCLC server, there is a 24hour delay until your email is sent. In other words, you could find your files via FTP to the OCLC server 24hours BEFORE you recieve an email.

General Questions

Can I get a sample file of the records?

The record format is similar to what you can output from Connexion. Thus, if you are accustomed to Connexion, you should not have issues with your loader programs.

A sample file is unavailable because each library’s records will be unique to their configuration. Once you have access to the Metadata tab in the WorldShare interface, you can get a sample of records by enabling MARC Record Delivery for a small collection or for a few titles in a collection.

How to get sample MARC records from an open access collection: After you have requested OCLC WorldShare Metadata/WorldCat knowledge base, go to your library-specific URL and log into the WorldShare interface.

  1. Go to Metadata - Manage Collections - Settings
    Go to Knowledge Base
    Make sure your OCLC symbol is selected as desired
  2. Go Metadata - Manage Collections - Library Holdings
    Go to Enable MARC Record Delivery
    Select Yes
  3. Consider the customization options that apply to all of your records. For example, under “Add Fields,” you could add the KB Provider Name and KB Collection Name in the Add Fields section, and those fields would automatically be pulled in from each knowledge base Standard Collection.
  4. Search for, and select a collection, Turn on MARC at the collection level, and add collection-level information in the properties tab. Tips:
    • You have the option to search for an Open Access collection and select titles in an Open Access collection. The titles must have OCLC numbers in order to get records. For example, you could select 5 titles in Biodiversity Heritage Library eBooks
    • Make sure to turn on MARC Record Delivery in the collection’s Properties
    • Add a collection-level note if you customized your records to include a KB Collection Level Note
  5. In about 48 hours, records will be available via FTP with your credentials. For FTP instructions, see the Retrieve MARC records guide.

Contact support@oclc.org if you need help.

How do I add OCLC numbers to titles missing OCLC numbers to increase the amount of records output?

OCLC numbers can be added to any title contained in a customizable knowledge base collection. The addition of new OCLC numbers can be done one-by-one in the WorldShare interface, in bulk by using a file upload/download action, or by reporting the missing OCLC numbers to the knowledge base team. Additions using either of the first two methods will effect only your library’s collections, while reporting missing OCLC numbers to the knowledge base team ensures that they will be added to the global knowledge base collections and will be available for use by any member library.

To add OCLC numbers to individual titles, locate the title in the knowledge base and click the pencil icon beside its name. A menu will open that gives you the ability to edit title-level details. Located in this menu is the field "Override OCN." Add the new OCLC number here and click "Save." A record will then automatically be output for the title on the next weekday or later, depending on what you have chosen for the timing of record delivery.

To add OCLC numbers in bulk using file upload/download, locate the collection where you wish to add new OCLC numbers. In the "Titles" bar, find the dropdown menu labeled, "More Actions." Here, choose "Download Selected" to download a KBART-formatted title list for the collection.

Open the title list in a spreadsheet application of your choosing. Apply a filter to all columns and proceed to filter to blank/empty on the column "oclc_number." The resulting titles will be those in the collection that lack OCLC numbers. Isolate the filtered titles and create a new title list from this set. Add OCLC numbers to the titles, and the word "OVERLAY" to each corresponding "ACTION" column entry. The "OVERLAY" action tells the knowledge base system that one or more pieces of title level metadata have been altered, and instructs the system to modify the corresponding title entry accordingly. Save the filtered title list with the appropriate formatting as tab-delimited text and re-upload to the collection. Records will then automatically be output for the new OCLC numbers/modified titles on the next weekday or later, depending on what you have chosen for the timing of record delivery.

Detailed instruction on modifying collections are available in the document “Select and modify your collections using the WorldShare interface

Note: Using the"OVERLAY" action to modify title-level metadata also prevents any changes made to the global knowledge base collection from being applied to the fields you altered. When OCLC updates the collection with new data from the provider, any field that had been modified using the "OVERLAY" action will be excluded from these updates. Exercise caution when modifying fields with the "OVERLAY" action. Inadvertent changes to fields other than the OCLC number column will be removed from any future global knowledge base updates.

To have OCLC numbers added to a global collection by the knowledge base team, complete the OCLC number correction form with as much detail as possible for each title. Submit the form as a support request to support@oclc.org, indicating that you'd like the knowledge base team to add the OCLC numbers to the attached titles. The knowledge base team will review and schedule the addition of these OCLC numbers in 1-3 months.

Note: OCLC numbers added by reports made to the knowledge base team will be included in an update to the global knowledge base collection. All libraries who have selected this collection will thus benefit from these additions. Reporting OCLC numbers to the knowledge base can be done as a supplement to the other options listed above for those wishing to improve the experience of all member libraries using the WorldCat knowledge base.

How do I know if a knowledge base link will work as an 856 link for my library in a MARC record?

To verify that a knowledge base link will work as an 856 link for a corresponding MARC record, test the link in the WorldShare interface. The link labeled "Website" under the "Identifiers" column for the title is used as the 856 link. If clicking this link resolves to the resource, it will work correctly as an 856 link.

Please note that for links to work correctly, the corresponding knowledge base settings must be configured. For proxied access to resources, this means providing the proxy URL prefix in the "Knowledge base" accordion of the Settings tab. Some providers also require additional identifiers to create links to full-text. These can be supplied in the "Provider-specific" accordion of the Settings tab. For a complete explanation of knowledge base settings, see the document WorldCat knowledge base settings.

For knowledge base collections, what types of materials can output a MARC record? Will I get records for indexed-only collections, etc?

Collection manager uses four pieces of information from the knowledge base to determine whether to output a record: OCLC number, format, coverage depth, and title URL.

  • OCLC number: Any material that does not have, or has not been matched to, an OCLC number with a corresponding record in WorldCat will not output a record.
  • Format and coverage: Titles in the knowledge base are designated by format with a specific coverage depth within some formats. Collection Manager uses these format designations to determine MARC record output. All formats (journal, ebook, audio, video, image, and other) can output records with some restrictions within these formats. For instance, only journal formats with a coverage of “fulltext” or “print” will output a record. Journal formats with coverages of “selected full text,” “abstracts,” “indexed,” or “homepage” will not output records.
  • Title URL: Journal (fulltext and print coverages), ebook, image, audio, video, and other formats that have an OCLC number AND a title URL will output a record. Journal formats with print coverage and the other format will also output records when there is an OCLC number present, even if there is no title URL.

Database only collections, since they are collections and not titles, will not output MARC records.

Note: “Fulltext” and “print” in the knowledge base refer to journal formats. Libraries use “print” to designate print serials or any item without a URL. The “other” content type is a placeholder for titles of a type that are not currently supported. Setting holdings in WorldCat and retrieving MARC records can be supported simply by storing the OCLC number for content types “other” and “print.” Thus, those types allow you to manage titles without requiring you to populate all of the details of the KBART fields or fields in the interface.

Update records for your WorldCat Collection

How do I get updated records for my holdings in WorldCat?

Go to Metadata – Manage Collections - Library Holdings - Enable MARC Record Delivery and click on the WorldCat Updates tab.

  • [Choose “None” if you do not want to receive updated records based on changes to the WorldCat master record. Note: If you choose “None,” you will receive updates only when your held records are merged into another record
    in WorldCat.]
  • Choose “Based on changes to the WorldCat master records for my knowledge base Standard and WorldCat Query Collections” if you want update records but only for knowledge base collections (not for your holdings in WorldCat).
  • Choose “Based on changes to the WorldCat master record for my knowledge base Standard and WorldCat Query Collections and my WorldCat Holdings” if you want update records for your holdings in WorldCat (and for knowledge base collections if you have them).
    If you choose this option, proceed by including your OCLC symbol(s) for which you want WorldCat Updates.

--If you have Standard and WorldCat Query Collections, see: Enable MARC Record Delivery and Customize your Records guide.

--If you do not have knowledge base collections and solely want update records for titles you have set holding on previously in WorldCat, see: Get update records for your holdings in WorldCat guide.

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