Editors note: This is the sixth in a series of short articles featuring profiles of organizations that support ALCTS. Vendor profiles are a benefit of sponsorship at the Incunabula and Vellum levels, and do not represent an endorsement of the services or products offered by a company.
OCLC® Online Computer Library Center is a nonprofit, membership, computer library service and research organization dedicated to furthering access to the worlds information and reducing information costs.
Founded as the Ohio College Library Center in 1967 by the Ohio College Association (a group comprised of the presidents of Ohios private and public colleges and universities), it was initiated to provide shared cataloging information and related services to fifty four Ohio college and university libraries. Today, the OCLC cooperative provides cataloging, resource sharing, reference, e-content, digitization and preservation services to approximately 49,000 libraries and institutions in 84 countries.
The OCLC Cataloging and Resource Sharing system is the largest and most heavily used computer library system in the world. WorldCat®, the OCLC online union catalog, is the worlds most comprehensive bibliographic database and one of the most frequently consulted electronic databases in higher education. The OCLC FirstSearch online reference service ranks among the leaders in the online information industry. NetLibrary®, a division of OCLC, offers an easy-to-use information retrieval system for accessing the full text of reference, scholarly, popular trade and professional books. QuestionPoint is a virtual reference service developed by the Library of Congress and OCLC, consisting of a network of reference librarians in the United States and around the world that serves library users via the Web 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
OCLC also operates Strata Preservation N.V., a center jointly owned with the National Library of the Netherlands, to digitize and preserve library, museum and archive materials for the European market; and OCLC PICA B.V., based in Leiden in the Netherlands and jointly owned with the Pica Foundation, that provides cataloging, interlibrary loan, local systems and end-user reference services in the Netherlands, France and Germany.