Policy: Cataloging at the WorldCat Level


Due to the technical architecture of the Alma Network Zone, changes must be entered into the WorldCat bibliographic record or they will be lost when the Alma record is overlaid. By cataloging at the WorldCat level, Alliance members improve discoverability for all Alliance Primo users, not just their own users.


  • Members must commit to providing adequate and appropriate cataloging of materials at the WorldCat level
  • Corrections and changes to bibliographic records which enhance record retrieval are of primary importance¬†
  • Corrections and changes to bibliographic records brought into Alma from WorldCat must be made to the record in WorldCat, not locally in Alma, with the exception of fields added as local bibliographic extensions.

Additional Rationale

Beyond the technical requirements of the current ILS, upgrading records at the WorldCat level provides benefits to users of Alliance libraries by improving discovery through other channels, such as OCLC discovery interfaces and search services using syndicated OCLC data, including Google and others.

Despite the importance of WorldCat level cataloging, not all Alliance members are able to do this for all materials. The rules governing OCLC authorizations and record editing are complex, and some members will not be able to change records in every bibliographic format. Thus the goal of this mandate is to increase cataloging activity at the WorldCat level, with the realization that not all libraries may ever be able to edit all types of records.


Status: Approved

Written by: Bibliographic Mandates Review Group

Approved by: Shared Content & Technical Services Team on 4/26/2021; Collaborative Workforce Team on 03/08/2016; Technical Services Working Group on 02/16/2016

Last updated: 04/27/2021

Nature of last update: minor revision