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Updates on OCLC shared print infrastructure

In the summer of 2018, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation awarded a grant to OCLC and CRL to support a joint Shared Print Data Infrastructure project to “enhance the underlying infrastructure of the OCLC WorldCat database and CRL’s Print Archives Preservation Registry (PAPR) to accommodate and make accessible actionable data for shared print serials management” ( Several of these enhancements are geared toward centralizing and streamlining the retention registration process, enhancing discovery of retention commitments, and facilitating better communication/syncing between OCLC WorldCat and CRL’s PAPR holdings information for registered titles. The following are selected updates on some of the key enhancements OCLC and CRL are working on:

  1. Changes to shared print registration process and infrastructure
    • Currently, WEST commitments are registered in OCLC WorldCat by attaching archived holdings to a shared print second symbol. The new registration method under development would facilitate indexing and potentially allow for centralized registration at the program level rather than at the institutional level. Part of the effort also involves implementing workflows to regularly sync registration data between the Print Archives Preservation Registry (PAPR) and OCLC WorldCat. Both these aspects have potential to streamline and simplify the disclosure process for individual libraries. The WEST project team, along with staff representatives from other shared print programs and with input from member institutions regarding potential impacts, are in conversation with OCLC about possible changes to registration requirements and processes. OCLC is currently conducting internal testing of the new registration process, and is soliciting outside volunteers to help with beta testing, for which the WEST project team has volunteered. OCLC has also convened a Shared Print Advisory Board which oversees development related to the registration of shared print holdings:
  2. OCLC Updates to Discoverability of Retention Commitments
    • Commitments will soon be viewable in Record Manager and Connexion, and will be downloadable in Collection Manager. Additionally, OCLC is currently testing visible shared print retention commitment information in FirstSearch: you may limit your search results to only display titles with shared print retention commitments, and you may see records in FirstSearch that have libraries “committed to retain” (though it should be noted that not all shared print holdings have been indexed yet, so the results are currently very limited). WEST is very excited about this development, and is working with OCLC and other shared print programs to evaluate optimal workflows for registering WEST commitments under this new system so members can benefit from these exciting enhancements. For examples of how these shared print commitments will display in FirstSearch, see this document produced by OCLC:
    • OCLC is also currently developing an API which OCLC members with cataloging subscriptions will be able to use to locate shared print commitments in their local library or in other institutions. OCLC is currently performing internal testing, and will solicit volunteers to help with beta testing after they have finished.
  3. OCLC Metadata Guidelines Review
    • Finally, indexing shared print commitments will, of course, rely on holdings metadata and ensuring that metadata standards are clear, useful, and usable. OCLC has agreed to convene a small group to review guidelines for the 583 field for clarity and consistency, identify potential areas for augmentation to the guidelines, and investigate whether these guidelines would conflict with planned changes to the shared print registration service. OCLC is also considering several longer-term objectives that have been identified by the Partnership for Shared Book Collections as general goals for the shared print community, such as including information about the environment in which the retained materials are housed, developing additional nuance for validation actions, adding information about physical condition, or the level of risk of the retained copies. The WEST project team is actively participating in this group, and has identified several representatives from member institutions to take part in the review.

OCLC hosted a webinar on November 14, 2019, with public updates on this grant and the progress they have made so far on these enhancements. The recording is available through their website: OCLC is planning to provide another public update on their development work in February of 2020.

Stay tuned for more updates! If you have any questions about any of these developments or would be interested in participating in these discussions in the future, please email Anna Striker at