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WorldCat is a union catalog which itemizes the collections of 71,000 libraries in 112 countries[1] which participate in the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) global cooperative. It is built and maintained collectively by the participating libraries.



Created in 1971, it contains more than 150 million different records pointing to over 1.4 billion physical and digital assets in more than 470 languages.[1] It is the world's largest bibliographic database. OCLC makes WorldCat itself available free to libraries, but the catalog is the foundation for other fee-based OCLC services (such as resource sharing and collection management). WorldCat was founded by Fred Kilgour in 1967.[2]

In 2003, OCLC began the "Open WorldCat" pilot program, making abbreviated records from a subset of WorldCat available to partner Web sites and booksellers, to increase the accessibility of its member libraries’ collections. In 2006, it became possible to search WorldCat directly at its website. In 2007, WorldCat Identities began providing pages for 20 million 'identities', predominantly authors and persons who are the subjects of published titles.


Eastern European and Eurasian library holdings are not well-represented in the system.[3]


  1. ^ a b "WorldCat facts and statistics". Online Computer Library Center. 2009. Retrieved November 4, 2009. 
  2. ^ Margalit Fox (August 2, 2006). "Frederick G. Kilgour, Innovative Librarian, Dies at 92". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-12-22. "Frederick G. Kilgour, a distinguished librarian who nearly 40 years ago transformed a consortium of Ohio libraries into what is now the largest library cooperative in the world, making the catalogs of thousands of libraries around the globe instantly accessible to far-flung patrons, died on Monday in Chapel Hill, N.C. He was 92." 
  3. ^ "Resources for the Study of Islam and Muslim Identities in Russia, Eastern Europe, and Eurasia". University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. 2009-06-23. Retrieved 2010-03-05. 

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