OCLC Opens Web Catalog to All Comers

Article excerpt

Turning its vast cataloging expertise to taming the Web, OCLC recently announced that it will open participation in its Web cataloging pilot project, the Cooperative Online Resource Catalog (CORC), to all libraries. This will apply OCLCs highly successful cooperative cataloging model to information-rich Web sites, with the prospect of a catalog of Web content on the scale of OCLC's dominant bibliographic database, WorldCat (OCLC Online Union Catalog.)

The CORC project originally called for a closed membership of 100 libraries, each committed to an ongoing program of Web site cataloging. There are now 170 libraries worldwide participating in the project, and the CORC database has reached 200,000 records. However, according to Taylor Surface, program director for the CORC Project, OCLC has experienced great demand from libraries for broader participation in the project. The response has been so strong that OCLC decided to redefine and expand CORC into a truly cooperative library service. According to Surface, OCLC has concluded that "CORC is worth turning into a sustainable service for libraries." CORC, now still in development, will be released as a commercial product by mid-2000.

CORC applies old and new methods to the unique challenge of Web site classification and cataloging. All libraries are eligible to join and to submit cataloging--a cooperative method that has built WorldCat into the world's largest book catalog, and a reference and research tool of unsurpassed importance. Libraries will apply their own individual collection development policies to select Web sites for CORC, as they now do for entering book records into WorldCat.

OCLC has also developed new technological tools for cataloging and updating the wildly inconsistent and constantly changing Web. Templates will assist catalogers in extracting data and creating records. Libraries can catalog with MARC, with the Dublin Code (a system for using metadata to catalog electronic documents), or both. MARC and Dublin Code records for the same record will be mapped. OCLC has created automatic checking routines for Web site URLs and content that will be run regularly as a means to keep CORC up-to-date. …