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Two library systems to serve as test sites for OCLC development project

DUBLIN, Ohio, Jan. 12, 2001—The Peninsula Library System (PLS) in California and the North Suburban Library System (NSLS) in Illinois have agreed to serve as test sites for enhancements to the WorldCat database, a shared catalog of more than 45 million books and other materials held by more than 8,000 libraries worldwide. The planned enhancements-including new content, interface features and database functionality-represent the first phase of OCLC's three-year strategy for evolving WorldCat from a database of library materials and holdings, into a global information exchange connecting libraries, librarians and library users.

The library systems participating in the pilot will provide input on the direction, features and usability of new database and interface capabilities that represent phase one of the WorldCat project.

"The North Suburban Library System is interested in helping its members explore the latest technologies and in encouraging vendors to bring library catalogs into the 21st century," said Sarah Ann Long, system director, NSLS. "This project offers new and exciting opportunities to those of our members who are participating."

"We believe this is a unique opportunity to create a brand new library service for users in our community," said Gail McPartland, assistant director for technology, PLS. "We're excited to be working with OCLC in developing this innovative service and believe that our work will change the face of library services for years to come."

Over the past 30 years, libraries have used OCLC shared cataloging to create WorldCat, which today is the world's foremost bibliographic database. In the next three years as part of its global strategy, OCLC, with the help of libraries, will extend this cooperative framework to include new participants, new types of content, and automated tools to capture, organize and deliver metadata. Each participating institution will use and share metadata that includes descriptions, holdings, reviews and previews as well as links to content.

"WorldCat epitomizes the value of library collaboration," said Chip Nilges, director, New Product Planning, OCLC Discovery and Fulfillment. "By working together, libraries, through WorldCat, are able to dramatically reduce the cost of cataloging their collections and offer their users access to resources that no single library could possess. The pilot project will build on library collaboration, demonstrating how WorldCat content can be expanded and how WorldCat can become a much more sophisticated discovery tool for librarians and library users."

OCLC's global strategy, "Extending the OCLC Cooperative-a three-year strategy," calls for the evolution of WorldCat into a globally networked information resource providing public access to the content and expertise of the world's libraries, museums, archives and other repositories of scientific, literary and educational information.

As development progresses, additional content will be linked to bibliographic records in WorldCat. Planned content includes more than 10 million article records from ArticleFirst and Electronic Collections Online, tables of contents from books and serials, book reviews, book and serial cover art, and links to full text licensed through FirstSearch.

Institutions participating in the project will access the new WorldCat features through either the OCLC WebExpress service or OCLC FirstSearch service interface. As the project progresses additional service options may be added, including integration of Z39.50-accessible resources under a single interface; scoping capabilities to limit searches by library group; collaborative recommendations that will present "recommended items" based on input from users ("frequently requested items," etc.); and fulfillment options that allow the user to link to full-text or web resources, view library OPAC holdings, initiate interlibrary loan requests, or purchase items from an online media vendor.

The Peninsula Library System (PLS) is a consortium of 32 city, county and community college libraries in San Mateo County, California.

The North Suburban NSLS is a consortium of over 650 academic, public, school and special libraries in north suburban Cook, Kane, Lake and McHenry counties in Illinois.

WorldCat, available to libraries online since 1971, is a merged, electronic catalog of the bibliographic and holding information of OCLC member libraries. The more than 45 million records in WorldCat represent more than 750 million items held in libraries around the world.

For more information:
Nita Dean +1-614-761-5002

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