OK, this is not hot news any more, but maybe it’s at least still warm.  Catalogers using OCLC should know that the organization has issued two policy statements meant to guide member libraries in applying RDA: one effective through March 30, 2013, one that came into effect on March 31.  Everyone who catalogs with OCLC should read and understand the current statement:


A few points to note:  OCLC does not require that member libraries use RDA, even for original cataloging; but “When creating a new record with English as the language of cataloging, consult the LC/NACO Authority File and use forms of access points found there, regardless of whether they are coded for RDA.”  Also note that we are asked to control all controllable headings; this will greatly facilitate OCLC’s update of headings in WorldCat as they are updated in the Authority File.

The Policy Statement also confirms that the General Material Designator’s days are numbered:  “As recommended in the PCC Guidelines on Hybrid Bibliographic Records, OCLC will retain the 245 h GMD for a period of 3 years in WorldCat records where it currently exists. Catalogers editing existing non-RDA records are asked to leave formerly valid GMDs present in records through 31 March 2016. However, do remove the GMD when re-cataloging (and re-coding) a record as RDA.”

You can learn more in the forthcoming RDA Policy Statement Webinar, with sessions scheduled for April 11 and April 17 (http://www.oclc.org/events/webinars.en.html).  If you are unable to attend either session, it will be recorded and made available on OCLC’s website.


OCLC’s six-month Expert Community Experiment, which began in February, is now a little past the halfway point. The latest in a long series of initiatives aimed at enhancing the quality of bibliographic records in WorldCat, the experiment allows member libraries with full-level cataloging authorizations “to correct, improve and upgrade all WorldCat master records, with the exception of PCC records (BIBCO and CONSER records). Library of Congress records that are not PCC records are included in the Experiment.”

FAQs on the experiment are here, or just scroll down in the page linked above.

If your institution is interested in being part of the experiment, there is no application process; you can start right in. If you have enhanced WorldCat records before, the procedure is essentially the same as what you have already followed, except that, as noted in Chapter 5 of Bibliographic Formats and Standards, “The record replace restrictions based on authorization modes in this chapter are superseded during the Expert Community Experiment.”

Needless to say, with the kind of power OCLC is giving us comes responsibility. Please don’t participate until you have read the Guidelines for Experts and are honestly confident that you are prepared to follow them. It would be helpful to view the recorded Expert Community Experiment Webinar as well.

So far, OCLC reports that the experiment is going well. Karen Calhoun remarked at the Illinois OCLC Users’ Group annual meeting last Friday that the “cataloging wars” some had feared have not materialized.

OCLC’s WorldCat search capabilities have expanded enormously since PRISM days. If you want to spend a long time exploring everything available to you in WorldCat searching, take a look at Searching WorldCat Indexes: “comprehensive information about indexes used to retrieve records from WorldCat.” This will let you go quite deep into such matters as indexing and search enhancements.

For more accessible and quicker reference, this document links to several interface-specific guides, including Connexion: Searching WorldCat Quick Reference, applicable to both the browser and the client; Cataloging: Search WorldCat for the client, and Find Bibliographic Records for the browser. There are also links to configuration guides for OCLC Z39.50 access to cataloging and to FirstSearch.