Friday, June 23, 2006

OCLC and RLG Plan To Combine Operations

OCLC? RLG? This is more than alphabet soup. OCLC is the network of 50,000 libraries through which we borrow books on Interlibrary Loan. The Research Libraries Group is a consortium of only a hundred and fifty or so libraries but some of them are Really Really Big Ones :-), and there are a lot of museums. Merging OCLC's 67,000,000 titles with RLG's 48,000,000 titles is really hot news. It's like doubling the size of the telescope we can use to look at the world of knowledge.

The first question on everyone's mind is, will we see the RLG titles in OCLC's public interface, WorldCat? RLG's information page about the merger tells us the answer: "...RLIN, the RLG Union Catalog, will be integrated into WorldCat, delivering economies of scale and reach that will benefit members of both RLG and OCLC." Burning question number two is, what will happen to RLG's marvelous public interface, RedLightGreen? OCLC's information page answers: "RedLightGreen features will be incorporated into OpenWorldCat. OCLC and RLG staff will engage an advisory group of RLG members to help incorporate features of RedLightGreen into"

We haven't seen any answers for burning question number three, will RLG libraries like the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Harvard, and MOMA, and the Folger Shakespeare Library be making their holdings available for us to borrow by interlibrary loan?

P.S. Right now you have access to WorldCat from computers inside the library. And soon, like really soon, the State Library is arranging for all our library users to have access from home. Yaaay.

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