Birmingham, UK, 28 October 2011—OCLC and Sabinet, OCLC’s partner in South Africa, have signed an agreement to provide WorldCat Local, OCLC’s discovery service, as a single point of access and delivery of electronic, print and digital resources to the National Library of South Africa and 15 academic institutions, offering a simplified discovery and delivery experience to end-users.
Up to now, library users have needed to know which platform provides access to the information resources they are seeking. Having to navigate around several platforms has also made it difficult to discover the full range of electronic materials that the library has made available. With WorldCat Local, links to the full-text of licensed electronic content give users seamless access to all the library’s resources from a single search box. For the librarian, evaluation of those resources is greatly simplified by WorldCat Local’s aggregated presentation of usage statistics, making comparisons much easier.
As part of a recent agreement between OCLC and Sabinet, a major supplier of online information to libraries in sub-Saharan Africa, libraries will now be able to access Sabinet’s African content on WorldCat Local, as well as the OCLC-licensed resources already on the platform.
Where there is need to consult print items, WorldCat Local displays location and availability details.
Users of the system can also use inter-library loan services in instances where there is neither print nor electronic provision of the item required in a local library. In addition to OCLC’s WorldCat Resource Sharing service, WorldCat Local will also link to South Africa’s national inter-library loan system, managed by Sabinet. Together, these two services represent a significant expansion of library collections.
“What impresses these 16 South African libraries is the range of capabilities that WorldCat Local offers to meet their needs,” explains Rosalind Hattingh, Managing Director of Sabinet, which also operates as OCLC’s distributor in South Africa. “Access to electronic resources on a single platform is the most important of these, but the universities also highlighted the social features of the product. Students will be able to create and share lists of recommended items, and also tag items. And the availability of WorldCat Local on mobile devices was also very compelling.”
Eric van Lubeek, Managing Director, OCLC EMEA said: “WorldCat Local is used by institutions all over the world. The collaborative data and services that underpin WorldCat Local make it an ideal choice for institutional groups. Working with Sabinet, we have been able to provide a solution for South African libraries that will provide an optimal experience for their users.”
Efficiencies in implementation time mean that the majority of these libraries will go live with WorldCat Local in early 2012, in time for the return of students at the beginning of the academic year in February.
Rosalind concludes: “The product offers the capabilities and value that today’s national libraries and academic institutions are looking for. We’re confident that other libraries in the sub-Saharan region of Africa will also recognise the benefits that WorldCat Local and the OCLC-Sabinet partnership offer to their users.”
Established in 1983 and based in South Africa, Sabinet has worked in partnership with OCLC since 1995, acting as distributor for them in sub-Saharan Africa since 1997 when they also began cataloguing South African information resources onto the OCLC platform. This agreement was extended in 2000 to catalogue directly onto WorldCat. More information about Sabinet is available at http://www.sabinet.co.za/.
The sixteen institutions who have so far adopted WorldCat Local are:
Cape Peninsula University of Technology
National Library of South Africa
Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University
Tshwane University of Technology
University of Fort Hare
University of KwaZulu-Natal
University of Pretoria
University of Venda
University of the Western Cape
University of the Witwatersrand
Vaal University of Technology
Walter Sisulu University