Information Today
Volume 17, Issue 8 • September 2000
OCLC Introduces WebExpress, CORC Service

OCLC has announced both the release of WebExpress, a gateway to local and remote Z39.50 information resources, and the debut of its Cooperative Online Resource Catalog (CORC).

The new WebExpress service is now available to libraries worldwide, providing an integrated gateway to local and remote Z39.50 information resources through a single, locally customized interface.

“The OCLC WebExpress service gives librarians the power to create a system that is uniquely designed to meet the needs of their users,” said Frank Hermes, vice president of OCLC’s marketing and planning. “With OCLC WebExpress, librarians without programming experience can focus on facilitating information access to their users through an interface they can design themselves.”

WebExpress brings library resources together by providing user access through a single interface to both remote and local information services, such as the library catalog, OCLC FirstSearch, and non-OCLC Z39.50 reference databases. These information resources receive automatic configuration updates through the OCLC WebExpress Service Center, a Web site intended for use by librarians or service administrators that provides current documentation, training materials, upgrades, feedback forms, and contact and support information. The information can also be linked to resource-sharing options.

The OCLC WebExpress administrator interface includes wizards that make it easy to set up access to information resources, group user resources, and set up user authentication.

The administrator chooses the interface’s look and feel, and creates a library home page. The library also has the option to allow patrons to create individual, customized OCLC WebExpress subaccounts, which can store individual user information like search strategies, user-specified URLs, or user-specified address information to make it more convenient for patrons to complete interlibrary loan request forms.

The administrator interface will connect to the OCLC WebExpress Service Center. Configuration information for resources accessible via OCLC WebExpress is automatically updated through the service center so the librarian doesn’t have to keep track of configuration changes.

“The service center, with all its updates, features, and support, will make OCLC WebExpress an evolving, ongoing service linking the library and OCLC via the Web and distributed technology,” said Hermes.

The OCLC WebExpress service comprises two components: the OCLC WebExpress Service Center, which includes demonstrations, ordering information, documentation, training materials, and a repository of Z39.50 configurations from OCLC; and the integration software, which is stored on the library’s Linux or Solaris server and includes the administrative module that allows the librarian to customize the user interface, select and add Z39.50 resources, and set up various levels of user authentication and profiling.

OCLC’s CORC is now available as a regular service. Built cooperatively with nearly 500 libraries over the past 18 months, CORC is a Web-based system for building bibliographic records and pathfinders (subject bibliographies) for electronic resources.

CORC lets librarians work together to target the Web resources that fit local needs, leveraging a cooperative model to minimize duplication of effort and maximizing knowledge sharing with other libraries. CORC gives libraries the ability to make local resources available to patrons worldwide and to make quality global resources available to local library users.

“With its bridge between traditional and new forms of metadata, CORC is an important tool that libraries can use to facilitate access to the Web and so maximize the usefulness of their online catalogs,” said Kathleen L. Wells, senior catalog librarian at the University of Southern Mississippi.

“CORC is one of the most exciting services that I have seen introduced during my 26 years at OCLC,” said Gary R. Houk, vice president of OCLC Services. “In addition to helping libraries manage access to electronic resources, the CORC service will play a major role in OCLC’s future product strategy. Future releases of the CORC service will support cataloging of all materials, vernacular languages, and a database architecture that will virtually extend WorldCat to additional resource descriptions such as reviews, biographies, and tables of contents. This extended WorldCat is a key element to an integrated suite of Web-based services that are planned, including selection and ordering of content from other third-party providers.”

CORC offers a toolkit, based on technology developed at OCLC, that supports automated record creation, authority control, URL maintenance, and pathfinder creation. Libraries using CORC have the option of subscribing to the WebDewey service for access to the latest version of the enhanced Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC) database (updated quarterly) and use of an automatic classification tool to generate candidate DDC numbers during record creation. A special feature of the WebDewey service is its inclusion of selected Library of Congress (LC) subject headings—linked to the LC authority files—that have been intellectually mapped to Dewey numbers by the DDC editors and statistically mapped to Dewey numbers in OCLC’s WorldCat database.

Source: OCLC, Dublin, OH, 614/764-6000;

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