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Weekly News Digest

January 20, 2011 — In addition to this week's NewsBreaks article and the monthly NewsLink Spotlight, Information Today, Inc. (ITI) offers Weekly News Digests that feature recent product news and company announcements. Watch for additional coverage to appear in the next print issue of Information Today. For other up-to-the-minute news, check out ITIís Twitter account: @ITINewsBreaks.

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OCLC and The Combined Regions to Launch Public Library National Union Catalogue in UK

OCLC and The Combined Regions (TCR) have announced plans to launch Britain’s first freely accessible national public library union catalogue. Containing the bibliographic data from 80% of the U.K.’s public libraries, the service will make it possible for web users to simultaneously search 9 million bibliographic records and 50 million holdings.

Leveraging information already indexed in WorldCat, the world’s largest online resource for finding library materials, this customized union catalogue will provide a view of holdings contributed by the 149 local authorities with a current full package subscription to UnityUK, the U.K.’s only nationwide network for resource sharing.

The initiative will make bibliographic data more discoverable on the open web. Indexing of WorldCat data through search engines such as Google and Yahoo! will vastly improve awareness of public library resources and drive significantly increased traffic back to local libraries.

Requiring no other expenditure than a current full package UnityUK subscription, the service increases visibility for public library holdings - positioning them as primary sources of information alongside other web resources.

A recent agreement drafted by OCLC with input from The Combined Regions securing the provision of UnityUK and making important provisions for its future as a national platform for resource discovery and inter-lending paved the way for the development of this new union catalogue. Both organizations share an ambition to achieve wider access to public libraries. This agreement is a vital step towards that goal.

The first phase of this project is to produce an initial 'proof of concept' which will be available for review by those UnityUK libraries with a full package subscription in March 2011. The Combined Regions (TCR) is a company limited by guarantee, whose members are regional library organizations and national libraries. It was formed in 1994 with the mission to produce a national electronic union catalogue, Unity. The catalogue has undergone several transformations, and reached the milestone of full U.K. coverage when it merged with LinkUK in 2006 to become UnityUK, developed and operated by OCLC.

Source: OCLC

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