OCLC / WorldCat


Researchers consulting library catalogs will encounter bibliographic records referring to OCLC and WorldCat. These terms are defined below but must be searched with a caveat: For an accurate interpretation of these sources, it is best for the user to ask for assistance from an experienced librarian. The sheer enormity of the data, and the ways in which they were gathered, make both resources confusing and unreliable with much duplication of records. For reliable information of a specific edition or copy, the user should contact the holding institution.

Folgerpedia defines Online Computer Library Center, Inc. (OCLC) as "a nonprofit, membership, computer library service and research organization dedicated to the public purposes of furthering access to the world’s information and reducing information costs." Founded in 1967 as the Ohio College Library Center, OCLC and its member libraries cooperatively produce and maintain WorldCat, a shared public catalog.”

Further detail from Wikipedia adds that WorldCat as “a union catalog that itemizes the collections of 17,900 libraries in 123 countries and territories.” It searches the collections of libraries around the world, and it has largely replaced the National Union Catalog (mentioned before) to enable people to find cataloguing records and locate books around the world.

To build our initial database, we searched the FirstSearch module of WorldCat using keywords from the caption titles and the library’s unique three letter symbol assigned by the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC).

See also
abbreviations found in cataloging records
authority file
general note(s)
National Union Catalog / NUC pre-1956
OCLC / WorldCat
OCLC / WorldCat