OCLC Completes Transfer of Licensed Databases to EBSCO

From an OCLC Press Release:  DUBLIN, Ohio, March 1, 2012—OCLC has transferred to EBSCO Publishing (EBSCO) the rights to license publisher-owned databases that are currently available through the OCLC FirstSearch reference service. This transaction is intended to complete the cooperative’s transition out of the role of content reseller. OCLC is focusing on management and access to libraries’ full collections through the OCLC WorldShare Platform.

In March 2010, EBSCO acquired the NetLibrary Division of OCLC as well as the rights to license a select number of publisher-owned databases available through FirstSearch. The current transaction completes the transfer of OCLC’s rights to license publisher-owned databases on FirstSearch that began under the 2010 agreement.

EBSCO has agreed to host, distribute and support these licensed databases, and plans to load the databases and begin providing access to users on EBSCOhost. OCLC and EBSCO are working together to ensure a smooth transition for users, and uninterrupted service for customers.

FirstSearch remains part of OCLC’s discovery and delivery services. As these services become part of the OCLC WorldShare Platform, FirstSearch users will see improved integration and workflows. OCLC will continue to provide access to WorldCat and other databases published by OCLC, such as ArticleFirst, OCLC WorldCat Dissertations and Theses, SCIPIO and Electronic Books.

“OCLC’s strategy is to provide a neutral platform that libraries can rely on to manage and offer access to their collections,” said Chip Nilges, OCLC Vice President, Business Development. “Instead of hosting and reselling content, we want to partner with content providers so that we can incorporate their collections into the OCLC WorldShare Platform, help our members automate their collection workflows, and improve access to content.”

The OCLC WorldShare Platform is a global, interconnected Web architecture that supports OCLC’s Webscale services and applications, and provides flexible, open access to library data through APIs and other Web services. Library service and content providers, like EBSCO, can offer libraries access to their content and services through the OCLC WorldShare Platform.

OCLC started the FirstSearch service in the early 1990s, which shifted the model from mediated to patron accessible online reference services. Much of the content available on the FirstSearch service was licensed from publishers or database providers. “Today, content reselling is a mature business and is best done by companies that specialize in the field.  Libraries will be better served by EBSCO, one of the leading service providers in the field,” said Mr. Nilges.

OCLC has agreed to assign to EBSCO the hosting contracts for the following databases:

  • Anthropological Index
  • Anthropological Literature
  • Anthropology Plus
  • Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals
  • Chicano database
  • FRANCIS
  • Heritage of the Printed Book (formerly Hand Press Book)
  • History of Science, Technology and Medicine
  • Index to 19th-Century American Art Periodicals
  • Russian Academy of Sciences Bibliographies

Senior Vice President of Business Development at EBSCO Publishing, Mark Herrick, says the databases involved will fit in nicely with the current database offerings from EBSCO Publishing. “These databases from FirstSearch will both complement and augment the databases available on EBSCOhost. Since EBSCOhost is the most-used research platform, we expect a smooth transition for libraries and their end users.”

Offering these resources on EBSCOhost is in line with EBSCO’s approach to making available the highest quality subject indexes. Customers of EBSCO Discovery Service (EDS) who subscribe to these databases on EBSCOhost will be able to leverage EBSCO’s unique Platform Blending technology to infuse results from these databases into their EDS experience.