May 18, 2022

From Fee to Free: OCLC’s ArchiveGrid Database Will Become a Free Service in January 2013

From FEE to FREE. (-:

From OCLC:

Work is currently underway to transition the ArchiveGrid database of archival collection descriptions from a subscription service to a free service on a new interface developed and managed by OCLC Research.

A beta version of the new interface developed by OCLC Research is available at no charge at This beta has been designed to support OCLC’s efforts to expand support for this type of data, engaging with the library/archive community as we work together to create more sustainable ways to grow the collection of data and represent it appropriately in WorldCat.

To support this transition, the following changes will be implemented to ArchiveGrid in the coming months:

  • Beginning in November 2012, OCLC will no longer require authentication (by IP address or logon account) to use the stand-alone ArchiveGrid subscription service at This will provide easier access to and better syndication of ArchiveGrid and its collections to search engines like Google.
  • By December 2012, the OCLC Research version of ArchiveGrid will transition from its current beta status to a production service.
  • In January 2013, the OCLC Research version of ArchiveGrid will replace the interface.

The new version of ArchiveGrid from OCLC Research offers several advantages, including:

  • Free and open access to researchers, scholars, students, genealogists and others, without a subscription Developments and enhancements carried out in close consultation with members of the special collection library and archival communities.
  • More current and comprehensive content, including archival descriptions available from contributor websites that are not yet discoverable in WorldCat.
  • A modern and responsive interface, designed to work well for a wide range of users and on any device, from a Smartphone to a desktop system
  • Improved syndication and exposure of contributed collection descriptions to Google and other search engines through topical landing pages, site maps for web crawlers, and the ArchiveGrid Blog
  • A platform for continued OCLC Research and OCLC Product Development work, including improvements to web-based discovery, text-mining, and data analysis.

During this period, libraries with subscriber-based access to ArchiveGrid will not have to change links URLs and bookmarks to continue using ArchiveGrid; the changes will be automatic and transparent to users.

We believe this new direction for ArchiveGrid marks a great opportunity to broaden contribution, participation, utility, and visibility of this unique and important collection of resources. A list of current contributors to the ArchiveGrid collection is available at

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.