January 28, 2022

Milestones: WorldCat Reaches 2 Billion Holdings

The world’s largest bibliographic database has reached a major milestone.

If you haven’t done so already make sure to visit the recently launched OCLC Research experimental site, WorldCat Live that launched about a month ago. Info at the bottom of this post.

From OCLC:

On Saturday, May 4, at 2:58 a.m. (MDT), the holding symbol for the University of Alberta Libraries, in Edmonton, was set through an automated process to the WorldCat record for the e-book, Evaluation of the City of Lakes Family Health Team Patient Portal Pilot Project: Final Report, published in 2012 by the Centre for Rural and Northern Health Research. It was the 2 billionth holding set in WorldCat. The e-book catalog record was created by the Canadian Electronic Book Library, an e-book provider in Canada, and was enhanced through OCLC’s automated authority control processing system.


“It is astounding that the number of holdings in WorldCat has doubled in less than eight years,” said Jay Jordan, OCLC President and CEO. “This is strong testimony to the power of global library collaboration. I want to thank the University of Alberta, and the thousands of librarians and catalogers around the world who are working daily to create this unique and valuable resource for knowledge seekers everywhere.”

WorldCat was created in 1971 so that libraries could share cataloging information from a central database, increasing workflow efficiency and the ability to locate and loan materials. It took the OCLC cooperative almost 34 years, from August 26, 1971 to August 11, 2005, to add 1 billion holdings in WorldCat. It has taken just seven years and eight months to add the next billion.

Read the Complete Announcement + Links to Other WorldCat Tools

See Also: Have You Visited WorldCat Live?: A New (and Very Cool) Experimental Resource From OCLC Research
A real-time stream of WorldCat records as they are enter the database. Several views of the data are available.  

More Cool Tools to View WorldCat Data (via OCLC Research)

We’ve mentioned all of these on infoDOCKET in the past. They are interesting, useful, and worthy of your attention.

  • WorldCat include WorldCat Identities, which provides summary pages for the name of every person, organization and fictional character in WorldCat (currently around 30 million)
  • WorldCat Genres, which allows users to browse hundreds of genres from WorldCat

Hat Tip: @mattrweaver

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) 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 Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.