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OCLC Support

Streamlined holdings update FAQ

Find frequently asked questions about the streamlined holdings update.


What is this streamlined holdings update, and why is it important?

This new program from OCLC gives you a fast and easy way to update your library’s holdings in WorldCat®. Updated holdings ensure accurate representation of your library’s collections in OCLC services, such as FirstSearch®, WorldCat Discovery, WorldShare® ILL, and Connexion®. Up-to-date holdings in WorldCat also ensure people on the web can find items in library collections on™ and through our partnerships with popular websites like Google Books, Wikipedia, and Goodreads.

You can submit a request for a free update by using the form at Submitting a request does not commit you to proceed with the project. We’ll be in touch with more information about how to get started.

Will this process update the records for my library’s e-resources in addition to our print materials?

This process will update the WorldCat holdings for any titles that you manage in your local catalog. If your local catalog includes e-resources and you send records for them in the data you provide us, the holdings for those electronic items will be updated in WorldCat.

We suggest that you also register your e-resources in the WorldCat knowledge base to record content provider and coverage information. If your library maintains these holdings through the WorldCat knowledge base, we’ll update them without the need to include them in your files.

Can my library use this streamlined process if we have not previously set up a WorldCat data sync collection in WorldShare Collection Manager?

Yes. This holdings update process includes everything you need for a fast, free update of your library’s WorldCat holdings.

How long does it take to update my library’s WorldCat holdings after I submit a project request?

Timing can vary, so we will keep you informed of progress on your library’s project following receipt of your request. Once we provide you with instructions to send your data, we ask that you send it within two weeks or, if that is not possible, tell your specialist when you will be able to send data. After you send data and we begin processing, we may request that you verify reports we supply at certain points in the process. The time you take to verify and respond to our requests will impact the total duration of this work. The faster you respond the quicker we can get your holdings up to date in WorldCat.

What is not included in the streamlined process that my library would receive in OCLC’s for-fee reclamation service?

OCLC’s for-fee reclamation service is a custom service that includes extensive consultation with OCLC’s holdings update experts to resolve issues related to records that are not updated through our automated processes. It also includes the option to enrich WorldCat records. This streamlined process only sets a holding and removes holdings for items you no longer have in your collection.

What is local bibliographic data (LBD)?

Local bibliographic data (LBD) allows you to add local information to a bibliographic record that is specific to your institution’s title. Users from other institutions will not be able to see that information in the WorldCat record, and your users will only see your institution’s LBD. Learn more about LBD on our Support site.

Can my library do a Streamlined Holdings update (SHR) using my BIBFRAME data?

For Streamlined Holdings, we are expecting MARC21 or Numeric Search Key data only. We cannot accept BIBFRAME data for SHR at this time.

Configuring WorldCat record output to support local updates

How do I ensure I receive record output for my data sync activity?

Your assigned data sync analyst will guide you through the options available and configure your requirements. Please note that all report and record output is retained for 90 days.

Help! I have been maintaining WorldCat holdings but don’t have XREF or record output to update my local records. What do I do?

As a cataloging subscriber, you can request a complete set of records representing your WorldCat holdings via a Query Collection.  A Query Collection needs a command line search to identify records to retrieve, and the search to ensure the delivery of all of your holdings is as follows:  li:[symbol]

How do I ensure my LSN is in the records output by data sync and query collections?

To receive WorldCat record output, you must configure MARC Record delivery settings in Collection Manager Institution Settings. Pay particular attention to the following:

  • In the Customize Records tab of the MARC Records section, you need to Add a Field and map this to the ‘LSN(Local System Number)’ value – N.B. You cannot use the 001 field as this is reserved for the OCN; a local field such as 999 $a is recommended.
  • In the Customize Local Data section, ensure that ‘Include my local bibliographic data’ is checked and your symbol is entered in the box below – choose the ‘Embedded with my bibliographic records’ option.
  • In the Record Delivery tab, select your record format and frequency of delivery.

Considerations for groups

Should we do this streamlined holdings update as a group with a single profile encompassing more than one OCLC symbol or as separate profiles for each individual library (OCLC symbol) within the group?

We can handle groups of any kind, so the choice is yours, depending on whether you can provide holdings information in your bib records. If you send us a single data stream for your group, it must contain identifiers for each individual library that needs holdings to be attached/reset for each record in the file(s). These identifiers will be “translated” into OCLC symbols for processing. Your specialist will work with you to create the translation table. We will also need your group OCLC symbol. If you don't have a group OCLC symbol, we will work with you to create one for your group. Once you order your Streamlined Holdings update project a data analyst will set up a virtual meeting with you to discuss what is involved and to help you to determine if this service is appropriate for your group.

One advantage of proceeding as a group is that you won’t have duplicate records returned to you at the end of the project.

We would like to proceed as a group, but some of our libraries don’t want to participate. Can we still send only one set of files?  

We can work with you on the translation table, which determines which libraries are included and have holdings set. If there are libraries who aren't interested, we can exclude them from the table. 

Considerations for Alma libraries

How should I export my bib records from Alma?  

Use the “Publish bibliographic record (Data Sync) to OCLC” profile. This profile exports MARC bib records. We can provide you with more detailed instructions upon request.  

What information do you need if I’m pulling my data from an Alma Network Zone?  

You may be able to extract records from the Network Zone to cover all the libraries in your group if you can embed the holdings information (typically in the 852 field in the Institution Zone) in the exported bib records. We use the holdings information along with a translation table to determine which library (OCLC symbol) to add for holdings. 

What information do you need if I’m pulling my data from an Alma Institution Zone? 

Each library in your group can set up its own streamlined holdings registration (SHR) collection from its Institution Zone, if needed. As long as the holdings information is exported in the bib records, we can set up a single Group SHR collection to process the records for all the libraries using a group OCLC symbol for processing. See Ex Libris’ “Publishing to OCLC” documentation, which explains how to include embedded holdings information, publish print holdings, and more. 

Data preparation and sending

Are you asking for our entire catalog of full MARC records, or simply the OCLC control numbers we have?

For this streamlined holdings update, we ask for your entire database of MARC records. If there are records you do not want to be visible, you can leave them out. If your entire set of records has OCLC control numbers, please let us know if you want us to only match on the OCLC control number. By default, we will set holdings on full matches.  

Do you want our records as one zip file or multiple separate files when we send our collections?

We require multiple files of records—fewer than 100,000 records per file—to ensure that they are properly ingested. Please do not zip your files. 

Do you want the WorldCat knowledge base files that we maintain through WorldShare Collection Manager?

We will refresh your WorldCat knowledge base holdings as part of this process, so you do not need to send those files separately.

Can we still add or remove holdings once we begin this update?  

Once you send us your data, we ask that you refrain from deleting any WorldCat holdings until the process is complete, usually about two weeks. It’s fine to set holdings at any time. 

What if I can’t get my files ready within two weeks? 

We prefer that you stay as close to the two-week schedule as you can. Please let us know of any potential delay, and we will set your project up so that it’s ready when you send the files. And please also provide a revised delivery date so that our database specialists can plan their time. 

Matching process

How are my records matched to records in WorldCat?  

Details about the matching process, including the match points, are outlined in OCLC’s “Matching to records in WorldCat” documentation.  

Can I limit the match points, such as only matching on OCLC numbers? 

Yes, we can do OCLC number matching only, if that is your preference.

Can I review the records that don’t match in WorldCat before they’re updated?  

For the simple holdings project, the ability to add records that do not match is either enabled or not. If you choose to allow records to be added to WorldCat, the only records that will NOT be added will be the records that fail to pass a validation check. These failed records will be available as a report after processing and will list the validation check(s) that failed. 

Update your local catalog with OCLC numbers to support discovery of your collections

I have holdings set in WorldCat, what do I do to improve WorldCat links to my local catalog?

If you have refreshed your holdings via a Streamlined Holdings Registration, a recent data sync reclamation, or ongoing holdings updates you should make every effort to do the following:

  • Update your local records with the assigned WorldCat OCLC Number (OCN)
  • Index the OCNs in your local ILS and ensure that a record can be retrieved by the assigned OCN
  • Configure the WorldCat link to your local catalog
  • Ensure your Registry Record for your library profile is configured correctly
Where can we find the OCN assigned to our holdings?

Any data sync activity will output a Cross Reference Report (XREF), a table of your Local System Number (LSN), and the corresponding assigned OCN.  It is also possible to request that the records you submit to data sync processing be returned with the OCN inserted into field 035 $a with the prefix ‘(OCoLC)’, known as My Library Records (Own Record Return).

Cataloging subscribers can also request delivery of WorldCat records. If you want to use WorldCat records to match and update your local records, you must ensure that Collection Manager is configured to include your LSN in the record output.

How do we update our local records with OCLC numbers?

OCLC cannot provide direct support to local ILS updates, but here are a few suggestions on how to investigate and implement updates to your local records:

  • Use WorldCat output that includes your LSN as a match point for your local record (i.e., an XREF report or record output).
  • Most modern systems support record match and selective merge. Consult your supplier’s documentation and support desk for guidance.
  • OCLC members have been maintaining holdings in WorldCat since the 1960s. There is a wealth of knowledge and experience within cataloging and ILS user group communities that can help you.
  • As an OCLC member, you also have access to the OCLC Community Center, where you can find a wealth of community expertise.
Where should I store the OCN in my local records?

The simple answer is anywhere you like, so long as the assigned OCN is indexed and is supported by a search index in your discovery system that enables the retrieval of your local record via a search for the OCN.  A dedicated field/index would be ideal to ensure an exact match.  Field indexing and discovery configuration for your local ILS are not things OCLC can help you with. Please consult your ILS documentation, support desk, or user group if you need help.

Updating your library's registry record to support WorldCat integration

How do I configure the link to my library’s discovery system?

Guidance on configuring many of the popular ILS can be found on our Configure links to your online catalog support page.

Help! I have configured everything, but my library still does not appear in holdings by location results. What is wrong?

Ensure that your library location and map coordinates are configured in the WorldCat Registry Record. If the map coordinates are not configured, your library’s location cannot be determined.

Help! I don’t know how to access my WorldShare/Service Configuration/Registry Record.

Your local support desk can supply access to the systems and services described in this FAQ. You will need access to WorldShare Collection Manager, Service Configuration, and WorldCat Registry.

What to expect after the update

Will you send me reports after the update? 

Reports will be available for 90 days from the date of upload. You can collect reports and records from the following locations:

  • OCLC Usage Statistics
    • Bibliographic and Holdings Processing Summary reports
    • LBD Processing Summary reports
  • My Files (under the WorldShare Metadata tab)
  • sFTP (xfer/metacoll/reports)

Detailed information about My Files and sFTP reports is available in our “My Files reports for Bibliographic or Delete WorldCat Holdings collections” documentation. 

Upon request, we can send a scan/delete holdings report as well.

What do I need to do with my output files and/or reports?
  • Please retrieve your post-processing reports and files before they expire in 90 days.
  • Use the post-processing reports (i.e. the Bibliographic Cross Reference report) or MARC record output file to insert the OCLC control number (OCN) into your local system records. Having the OCN in your record is the best way to enhance your experience with all other services OCLC provides, including Google Search.
  • If you would like to add ISBNs as an additional access point, you will need to order OCLC MARC record output and then use any ISBNs found in those records to update the records in your local system.

Don't forget to fill out our short Customer Satisfaction survey: Streamlined Holdings Update survey.

Can I continue to send a complete update on a regular basis? 

It is important that you maintain your holdings in WorldCat going forward, either with a WorldCat data sync collection or via individual records in Connexion or WorldShare Record Manager. This is especially important for new, updated, and deleted items in your catalog, so that users to get the best discovery experience.

Information about maintaining up-to-date WorldCat holdings is provided on the OCLC Support website. If you need help with any of these tools, the OCLC Support team at can provide assistance.