Information Today
Volume17, Number 3 • March 2000
OCLC Announces Latest News, Updates

In separate announcements, OCLC has announced that it has finalized negotiations to merge with PAIS (Public Affairs Information Service), OCLC WorldCat Collection Sets has been enhanced to include cataloging records representing electronic databases available to libraries, the OCLC/WLN Automated Collection Assessment and Analysis Services has been enhanced, it recently held the 113th Decimal Classification Editorial Policy Committee (EPC) meeting, the OCLC board of trustees has retained a consulting firm to conduct a study of OCLC’s strategic directions and governance structure, the University of Iowa Libraries are using OCLC RetroCon services, and OCLC Forest Press has released Dewey for Windows version 2.0.

OCLC and PAIS ( have finalized negotiations to merge the two organizations, effective January 1, 2000.

PAIS, a not-for-profit corporation with offices in New York, publishes the PAIS International database, which contains over 460,000 records of abstracted-and-indexed literature from over 120 countries. OCLC is a nonprofit corporation based in Dublin, Ohio, that serves over 36,000 libraries in 74 countries. OCLC Public Affairs Information Service will continue to operate in its New York offices.

The merger follows discussion and negotiations that began in June 1999. The joining of resources of the two entities is expected to support the enhancement of the PAIS database, which is currently available via the OCLC FirstSearch service.

“The merger of PAIS and OCLC assures that PAIS will continue its long tradition of chronicling global public policy well into the 21st century, and it will be able to meet the technological challenges on the horizon,” said John Ganly, chair of the PAIS board of trustees.

“This alliance will benefit libraries, PAIS, and OCLC,” said Jay Jordan, OCLC president and CEO. “It will provide libraries with low-cost access to global content in the social sciences, it will allow us to repackage the PAIS abstracts and indexes and link them to WorldCat to create greater value, and it will bring important editorial skill sets to OCLC.”

PAIS was founded in 1914 by librarians, and chartered in 1954 by the board of regents of the state of New York’s Education Department. It is dedicated to providing better access to the literature of public affairs—current issues and actions that affect world communities, countries, people, and governments.

WorldCat Collection Sets
OCLC WorldCat Collection Sets (formerly known as the OCLC Major Microform Service) has been enhanced to include cataloging records representing electronic databases available to libraries. Libraries can access the records through the OCLC Cataloging service and may download them into their local online public access catalogs. The records are also available to participants in the OCLC Cooperative Online Resource Catalog (CORC) project.

“Inclusion of these records in local catalogs can increase user access to electronic items and provide an efficient way for libraries to receive cataloging with minimal staff involvement,” said Marda Johnson, director of OCLC Collections and Technical Services. “OCLC’s effort to help libraries deal more effectively with electronic resources is demonstrated in these enhancements, as well as by the CORC project.”

Cataloging records for netLibrary, Project Muse, Academic Press IDEAL, JSTOR, Kluwer, Documenting the American South, and Elsevier are now available through WorldCat Collection Sets. Cataloging is currently in progress for sets of records for items in Springer, Wiley, MCB Press, Royal Society of Chemists, the Institute of Physics, and the American Physical Society.

Started in 1984 to promote the shared cataloging of significant microform sets, the service produces tapes and electronic files containing cataloging records for various sets of items at a relatively low cost to libraries.

This enhancement provides OCLC libraries with increased options for processing cataloging records, especially for the URL, which is located in field 856 (Electronic Location and Access). Libraries may choose to delete all 856 fields and add an 856 field containing the URL of their choice. For some sets, libraries may choose to retain only the 856 field that contains the domain name, or they may choose to replace (or add, if none exists) the 856 subfield $z public note. There are increased options for the deletion and addition of other fields as well. Libraries may choose to add a field to all records, making the set easy to locate should the need arise to remove the records from their local catalogs.

In addition, improvements have been made to the customized call number processing that is available for most microform sets. The enhancement also includes the option for automatic periodic updates containing new records that have been added to the set.

Catalog cards are no longer available for WorldCat Collection Sets.

An interactive Web order form allows OCLC libraries to easily and quickly view the sets available for purchase and, at that same time, place an order for the sets. Library staff can log on via any valid OCLC password and authorization. Certain user data fields are completed automatically, based on the library’s authorization, allowing for greater ease and accuracy in ordering and processing. A paper order form is also available for nonmembers or others who prefer not to use the interactive Web form.

The sets of records are collected cooperatively with OCLC libraries, and additional volunteers are needed to catalog these sets. Catalogers are given a special symbol and authorization to use for cataloging only the specified set of records. The set is then pulled together by collecting all records cataloged using this special symbol. Searches, updates, and replaces are free of charge, and credits are given for original records. OCLC is particularly interested in locating catalogers for items in Wilson Select, IAC Infotrac, LEXIS-NEXIS Academic Universe, UMI ProQuest Direct, ABI/INFORM, and most full-text OCLC FirstSearch databases.

More information about WorldCat Collection Sets and the online order form are available on OCLC’s Web site (

The OCLC Cooperative Online Resource Catalog (CORC) is an international effort to organize and facilitate access to electronic information resources on the Web. OCLC is seeking additional participants in the project (

The OCLC/WLN Automated Collection Assessment and Analysis Services (ACAS) now provides comparisons of libraries’ bibliographic records with the list of Outstanding Academic Titles (OAT) from Choice magazine and titles reviewed in Booklist review journal.

OCLC/WLN has added these services for college, public, and school libraries to its comparison with Books for College Libraries, third edition. As with BCL3 comparisons, OCLC/WLN can use libraries’ WorldCat or local system records.

“We are very pleased to be associated with OCLC/WLN in presenting this new technology to aid librarians in their work,” said Bill Ott, Booklist publisher and editor. “Booklist magazine has always played an important role in helping librarians with collection development as well as readers’ advisory services. Now we have the technology at hand to help librarians perform these tasks more efficiently than ever.”

Irving E. Rockwood, editor and publisher of Choice magazine, said: “The Outstanding Academic Titles list is easily the most popular feature we produce here at Choice. We are delighted that OCLC/WLN has chosen to make this new service available, and we hope that it will prove valuable.”

OCLC/WLN’s comparisons with recommended lists are available for individual libraries and groups. The library or group receives a list of the titles on the recommended list that it does not own (the miss list). The list is composed of bibliographic records organized in WLN Conspectus order. OCLC/WLN also provides lists of matching titles, with brief bibliographical information from the OAT or Booklist file and the library’s file, and a statistical summary of matches and misses by WLN Conspectus divisions, categories, and subjects.

More information on OCLC/WLN Automated Collection Assessment and Analysis Services is available at

OCLC and WLN merged on January 1, 1999, and WLN became the OCLC/WLN Pacific Northwest Service Center.

Editorial Policy Committee
The Decimal Classification Editorial Policy Committee (EPC) held its 113th meeting at the Library of Congress on November 7-9, 1999.

The opening session featured presentations by Diane Vizine-Goetz, consulting research scientist at the OCLC Office of Research, on Dewey software in the Cooperative Online Resource Catalog and on knowledge organization research activities at OCLC; and by Dawn Lawson, manager of electronic products at OCLC Forest Press, on the status of Dewey electronic products.

EPC reviewed the update policy for the Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC) and approved the use of the electronic versions of the DDC as the chief source of annual updates.

The committee also approved updates for several parts of the Dewey Decimal Classification system to be included in the next edition: Tables 3A, 3B, and 4; 360 Social Problems and Services; 400 Language; 560-590 Life Sciences; and 700 The Arts. EPC also approved a draft of the abridged edition version of Table 1.

The next meeting of the Editorial Policy Committee will be May 3-5 at the Library of Congress.

The Decimal Classification Editorial Policy Committee is a joint committee of OCLC Forest Press and the American Library Association. The committee works with the editors of the Dewey Decimal Classification system and advises OCLC Forest Press on matters relating to the general development of the classification. The committee’s 10 members include public, special, and academic librarians, and library educators.

OCLC Forest Press, a division of OCLC since 1988, publishes the Dewey Decimal Classification system, the world’s most widely used system, and a variety of related materials.

OCLC Board of Trustees
The OCLC board of trustees has retained the consulting firm of Arthur D. Little to conduct a study of OCLC’s strategic directions and governance structure. The board has also appointed a special advisory council to help guide and direct the study.

“In the 21st century, OCLC’s vision is to be the leading global library cooperative,” said William Crowe, chair of the OCLC board of trustees, and Spencer librarian of the Kenneth Spencer Research Library at the University of Kansas. “We want to help libraries serve people by providing economical access to knowledge through innovation and collaboration. The study will help us determine how OCLC can best organize its governance to achieve this global vision.”

“OCLC’s present governance structure was adopted in 1977,” he said. “At that time, the question was how to extend membership in OCLC to libraries outside the state of Ohio. Today, the question is how to extend membership in OCLC on a global basis.”

According to Crowe, the advisory council will help guide and direct Arthur D. Little in its study of strategic directions and governance. In the course of the study, which began in January, the consultants will hold meetings and interviews with the OCLC board of trustees, OCLC Users Council, Strategic Directions and Governance Advisory Council, OCLC-affiliated U.S. regional networks, international distributors, OCLC participating libraries, and libraries that do not currently use OCLC services.

The consultant will examine environmental factors likely to have an impact on OCLC in the future, including the economic environment for libraries; the rapid development of the Web, telecommunications, and computers; and initiatives by commercial entities to provide information services directly to end-users. The consultant will identify possible roles for OCLC in the evolving global library and information infrastructure and recommend a governance structure appropriate to OCLC’s public purpose.

The advisory council will review and revise the consultant’s recommendations and present them to the OCLC board of trustees for action at its November 2000 meeting. Any changes in the OCLC articles of incorporation and code of regulations that the board recommends as a result of the study will require ratification by the OCLC Users Council.

OCLC RetroCon
The University of Iowa Libraries is using a combination of OCLC RetroCon services to convert 656,000 book titles and 38,000 scores and sound recordings to machine-readable form.

The project uses both RetroCon Batch and the RetroCon service. First, OCLC conversion staff members create search keys for the records, which RetroCon Batch attempts to match automatically in WorldCat (the OCLC Online Union Catalog). For any items that retrieve a single matching WorldCat record, the automated process attaches the libraries’ holdings and other local information to the online record. Records that retrieve multiple matches or no matches are then processed by the RetroCon service staff.

“We selected OCLC because of their proven track record of successful completion of projects carried out for large research libraries and their reputation for delivering a consistently high-quality, reliable product,” said Mary Monson, coordinator of Central Processing Services at the University of Iowa Libraries. “OCLC has the resources to provide us with the support needed to efficiently and effectively implement a large and complex project in the most cost-effective manner and to successfully carry it to completion.”

Gary Houk, vice president of OCLC Services, said, “Iowa’s decision to use our conversion team for both the RetroCon and RetroCon Batch services demonstrates an innovative and economic solution that will greatly increase access to the largest library system in Iowa.”

“OCLC has used these services in combination previously but never for such a large project,” said Chris Mottayaw, conversion marketing manager. “It works well when the percentage of single hits is high—usually above 70 percent. The University of Iowa Libraries collection is quite comprehensive, and our preliminary analysis shows that the success rate for RetroCon Batch processing should be well within this percentage.”

Recent changes to RetroCon Batch make the process even more cost-efficient. The RetroCon staff now uses text-editor software to create a spreadsheet with information in columns. Also, the library now has the option of receiving the information via e-mail attachment or through ftp, as well as on diskettes.

Dewey for Windows v2.0
Version 2.0 of the Dewey for Windows software is now available from OCLC Forest Press. This electronic version of the Dewey Decimal Classification system offers an enhanced and updated DDC 21 database, automatic cuttering, and a powerful annotation feature.

“An important feature of the latest update is an improved annotation feature that allows users to add as many as 16,000 notes to the schedules,” said Joan S. Mitchell, executive director of OCLC Forest Press and editor in chief of the Dewey Decimal Classification system. “A label and multiple keywords can be assigned to each note for fast and easy retrieval.”

Enhancements to the database include additional Relative Index terms and built numbers that do not appear in the print DDC, Library of Congress subject headings that have been intellectually mapped to Dewey numbers by DDC editors and statistically mapped from WorldCat records, and updated area tables for France and the Canadian territory of Nunavut.

The new Dewey for Windows software also incorporates the changes to the Dewey Decimal Classification system found in Decimal Classification, Additions, Notes and Decisions (DC&), volume six, numbers 1-3.

Beginning with version 2.0, licenses for Dewey for Windows software will be available by annual subscription only. Subscriptions may be started at any time during the year, but all subscriptions are renewed in January, when the updated database is published on a new CD-ROM.

Dewey for Windows software is a Microsoft Windows-based version of the Dewey Decimal Classification, edition 21, on CD-ROM. It is updated annually and published each January.

Source: OCLC, Dublin, OH, 614/764-6000; Fax: 614/764-6096;

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