WorldCat on FirstSearch enables Colorado libraries to access over 257 million items in a comprehensive resource and discovery system for libraries worldwide. Resources include books, theses/dissertations, ebooks, serials, archival materials, media, maps, Web resources and many other content types.
Since 1995 Colorado has had a FirstSearch Agreement with OCLC to support statewide access to this valuable resource. The WorldCat database is currently accessible in two different views – Worldcat.org or via the classic FirstSearch interface.
OCLC is working on enhancing the WorldCat.org discovery interface with new enhancements so that it can completely replace the FirstSearch interface by the end of calendar year 2012. So although WorldCat.org appears to be “free” to the general public, OCLC funds the development of this interface through library, consortial and statewide contracts, like the one that Colorado has traditionally paid through AIRS.
The Colorado statewide contract for FirstSearch currently has 40 simultaneous users and during FY11-12 can be used by any library in Colorado in the AIRS package. When the classic FirstSearch interface is retired, the enhanced WorldCat.org interface will continue. However, according to OCLC, if our statewide subscription is not renewed there will be a number of impacts on libraries in Colorado. The current contract for FirstSearch is a six-figure amount and will rise 2.75% for the next contract cycle which OCLC says is an 81% discount from the retail rate if libraries would to individually subscribe on their own.
If this contract were not renewed there would be a number of immediate impacts on Colorado libraries.
A non-renewal of the statewide OCLC FirstSearch contract would not affect subscribers to the OCLC cataloging service, the OCLC ILL subsystem or those that use other discrete OCLC services (e.g. VDX/ZPortal – the SWIFT ILL system).
Summary provided by George Machovec – April 18, 2012
This section has been moved over from the AIRS/EBSCO FAQ document.
1. Is OCLC/FirstSearch access part of the package?
In the past if your library signed up for AIRS, access was granted to both the EBSCO content and OCLC/FirstSearch. Beginning this year (2012-2013), the two vendors’ products will be priced separately. Pricing lists will be made available on the AIRS website and separate order forms will be used. The reason for the separation is that a) libraries strongly indicated a preference for choice; b) negotiations for products are conducted on a vendor-by-vendor basis.
2. What is OCLC/FirstSearch?
That’s a broader question, so we prepared a Fact Sheet with greater detail. That content is at the top of this page.
3. Are there any estimates of what the OCLC FirstSearch subscription might cost individual libraries?
We don’t have any estimates right now, because we don’t know how many libraries want to participate. However, based on libraries recently filling out the OCLC FirstSearch Interest Form, we’re starting to get a good picture of how many libraries might consider participation. [UPDATE!] We released a DRAFT pricing spreadsheet and continue updating that spreadsheet as libraries indicate desire to participate or not. Please click over to the AIRS home page and see the link for Draft Pricing for OCLC FirstSearch.
4. What factors are going into the decision of whether or not to renew? Is it solely the number of libraries interested in participating?
Number of possible participating libraries is NOT the only factor, but it is a MAJOR factor…because Colorado libraries told us directly and repeatedly through the last year that they only want to pay for the products they value. This is one reason why the two primary vendor products (EBSCO databases and OCLC FirstSearch) that were part of the previous AIRS package have been ‘disentangled.’ We heard many libraries say, “We don’t do anything with OCLC, and we don’t want to pay for FirstSearch.” Unfortunately, this could mean that the burden would fall on the libraries that want the product and value the side benefits (the things that will ‘go away’ or be turned off if there isn’t a large contract). Again, please see the impacts list on the AIRS / OCLC Fact Sheet.
5. By when do you need libraries to respond to the interest survey?
Now! As soon as possible! Until we can get a count, we have no data about libraries to discuss with OCLC. Registering interest does NOT commit your library to any particular price, nor does it commit your library to participating in an OCLC FirstSearch consortial purchase with other libraries. [UPDATE!] The results of the OCLC interest form / survey showed just 74 libraries initially interested in receiving a price quote.
6. Can you be a bit more specific on your ripple effect #1 in the AIRS / OCLC Fact Sheet (content at the top of this page)?
Yes. Even if a library currently catalogs through OCLC and continues cataloging through OCLC, its holdings would NOT be visible through WorldCat.org (the “free” and open web site) http://www.worldcat.org/ In fact, if a state contract for FirstSearch is not renewed, NO Colorado library holdings would be visible in Worldcat.org. It will be as though Colorado entirely vanished from the site. We’re told that even if a library individually licenses FirstSearch directly from OCLC, its holdings will not be available through WorldCat.org.
7. Where can I read more about WorldCat.org?
OCLC itself maintains a FAQ about WorldCat.org. There, you will find answers to questions like, “Why do I have to have a subscription to WorldCat on FirstSearch?”
A: “There are many costs associated with building and maintaining the systems that deliver visibility of WorldCat records on the open Web. Just as subscription access helps libraries with cost control and planning, aligning the benefits of open-Web access to WorldCat with subscription access to WorldCat on FirstSearch helps ensure a revenue level for OCLC sufficient to maintain and improve over time.” – OCLC
8. Do you have the specifics of how the OCLC pricing was calculated? What is the formula?
Let us just say this up front: we could not find any AIRS-produced discount pricing formula that would adjust for what are head-scratching aspects of OCLC’s own pricing.
The best we could do on the AIRS side of things is take an equitable, consistent approach for every library interested in FirstSearch. What we did on the first pass: we applied a 59% discount to every individual library, calculated on what OCLC has quoted every individual library as a retail price for FirstSearch. We arrived at this 59% discount because the aggregate of all libraries expressing interest in FirstSearch needed to meet what OCLC has said so far is a non-negotiable statewide price of $198,308.
We do NOT have a clear idea for how OCLC calculates its retail pricing, and OCLC will not directly answer, or make transparent, its pricing methodology. OCLC has not specifically cited or made transparent where it gets its “population-served” data.
The column in the Draft OCLC pricing spreadsheet labeled either Fall Enrollment 2010 (IPEDS data) or LSA (Legal Service Area) is one that AIRS has supplied. We looked up academic institutions in IPEDS, using a consistent data point and triple-checking — we did this so that we could bring equity and transparency to the EBSCO pricing tables (see http://airs.cvlsites.org/frequently-asked-questions-faq/#librarysize) and we looked up public library data through LRS.org.
9. How does this affect my library’s license to catalog through OCLC or do interlibrary loans?
As indicated previously, this licensing situation with FirstSearch does not affect your OCLC cataloging or your use of the OCLC ILL subsystem.
10. As this is “draft” pricing so far, what is the possibility of reconsidering my library’s $X price tag?
The possibility is good, but depends entirely on how many libraries indicate clear Yes or No for the Draft pricing as outlined in the current spreadsheet (6/13/12). Unfortunately, the reconsideration of price could either be up or down. With only 74 libraries initially expressing interest and shouldering the cost of this state agreement, it’s difficult. If many more libraries did agree to participate, we absolutely could bring libraries’ pricing down. The power of cooperative purchasing only works if you have a critical mass of libraries willing to share the cost. If a certain number of libraries bow out, we’ll have to reallocate the burden to the remaining libraries, which will increase their costs.
11. I’m in a quandary, and I’m hoping you can help. I would like to submit a “yes” form for the FirstSearch subscription for my library. However, I’m concerned about submitting a yes form as I know that I cannot exceed the draft pricing listed for my library. If I say “yes”, and you don’t receive enough state-wide interest, am I able to opt out if the pricing increases?
On the FirstSearch subscription form, we’ve asked the question below:
Based on the pricing, my library would like to license OCLC FirstSearch *
Before answering, please review your library’s pricing on the AIRS web site.
[ ] Yes. Answering Yes to this statement is a commitment to subscribe to OCLC FirstSearch at that price. Should we not receive enough orders to cover OCLC’s overall contract price, we will re-adjust pricing for remaining libraries and give you an opportunity to review and re-commit at a new higher price.
[ ] No. By answering No, you are saying that you are not interested in subscribing to OCLC FirstSearch.
So to be clear: yes, absolutely. If we see a situation where pricing is going to be recalculated for libraries, your library will have another opportunity to review any revised pricing and either re-commit or say No.
12. We were investigating Red Laser which is supposed to come automatically when you are in OCLC. Does this consortial subscription let us activate Red Laser?
In the past, libraries would self-report their library population whether it is local service area, FTE, headcount, or student population. In some cases, libraries were reporting incorrectly, not understanding which of several statistics they should report. In order to normalize the data and make sure that each library was treated the same, the AIRS committee has identified sources for demographic data representing each library type. These sources are detailed below, by type of institution. Within these data sources, we make every effort to use the latest year data reported by these publicly-accessible sites. For the 2012 – 2013 AIRS year, we are using 2010 data.
School student population data is retrieved for the latest year published in the Colorado Department of Education – SchoolView Data Center. Click on “SchoolView Data Center” -> select your school district -> select your building -> select the “Students” tab. Some schools are either not listed (private) or could not be retrieved using this source. In this case, other public documents available through CDE were utilized to look up the information [For CDE link, Click here for Education Statistics page, Pupil Membership].
Public libraries annually report their Library Service Area (LSA) data to Library Research Service (LRS). In order to be fair, the same year is used for public library data as for schools and academic libraries. Reference: http://www.lrs.org/pub_stats.php
2-year Academic (Community College) Libraries
2-year academic data is derived from the most recent data available on IPEDS (Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System) – Data Center. An exception is the campuses of Front Range Community College, which report to IPEDS in aggregate, but subscribes to databases by individual campus/library. The same data year is used when pulling all figures.
4-year Academic Libraries
4-year academic data is derived from the most recent data available on IPEDS (Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System) – Data Center. In the rare case that a private institution does not report to IPEDS, the institution is contacted directly and asked for the specific data.