Online Computer Library Center (OCLC)
Nonprofit cooperative
FoundedJuly 5, 1967; 51 years ago (1967-07-05) (as Ohio College Library Center)
Dublin, Ohio
Area served
Key people
Skip Prichard, President and CEO
Revenue$203 million[1] (2015–16)
Total assets$425 million[2] (2015–16)
Total equity$239 million[2] (2015–16)
Members16,964 libraries in 122 countries[1] (2015–16)

OCLC Online Computer Library Center, Incorporated d/b/a OCLC[3] is an American nonprofit cooperative organization "dedicated to the public purposes of furthering access to the world's information and reducing information costs".[4] It was founded in 1967 as the Ohio College Library Center. OCLC and its member libraries cooperatively produce and maintain WorldCat, the largest online public access catalog (OPAC) in the world. OCLC is funded mainly by the fees that libraries have to pay for its services (around $200 million annually as of 2016).[1] OCLC also maintains the Dewey Decimal Classification system.


OCLC began in 1967, as the Ohio College Library Center, through a collaboration of university presidents, vice presidents, and library directors who wanted to create a cooperative, computerized network for libraries in the state of Ohio. The group first met on July 5, 1967 on the campus of the Ohio State University to sign the articles of incorporation for the nonprofit organization,[5] and hired Frederick G. Kilgour, a former Yale University medical school librarian, to design the shared cataloging system.[6] Kilgour wished to merge the latest information storage and retrieval system of the time, the computer, with the oldest, the library. The plan was to merge the catalogs of Ohio libraries electronically through a computer network and database to streamline operations, control costs, and increase efficiency in library management, bringing libraries together to cooperatively keep track of the world's information in order to best serve researchers and scholars. The first library to do online cataloging through OCLC was the Alden Library at Ohio University on August 26, 1971. This was the first online cataloging by any library worldwide.[5]

Membership in OCLC is based on use of services and contribution of data. Between 1967 and 1977, OCLC membership was limited to institutions in Ohio, but in 1978, a new governance structure was established that allowed institutions from other states to join. In 2002, the governance structure was again modified to accommodate participation from outside the United States.[7]

As OCLC expanded services in the United States outside Ohio, it relied on establishing strategic partnerships with "networks", organizations that provided training, support and marketing services. By 2008, there were 15 independent United States regional service providers. OCLC networks played a key role in OCLC governance, with networks electing delegates to serve on the OCLC Members Council. During 2008, OCLC commissioned two studies to look at distribution channels; at the same time, the council approved governance changes that had been recommended by the Board of Trustees severing the tie between the networks and governance. In early 2009, OCLC negotiated new contracts with the former networks and opened a centralized support center.[8]

Other Languages
Afrikaans: OCLC
Boarisch: OCLC
bosanski: OCLC
dansk: OCLC
Ελληνικά: OCLC
հայերեն: OCLC
Ilokano: OCLC
ქართული: OCLC
kurdî: OCLC
македонски: OCLC
മലയാളം: ഒ.സി.എൽ.സി.
नेपाली: ड्रेकुला
română: OCLC
Scots: OCLC
shqip: OCLC
српски / srpski: OCLC
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: OCLC
suomi: OCLC
Tagalog: OCLC
Türkçe: OCLC
українська: Online Computer Library Center