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Grouped OCNs and cooperative management

Find best practices for managing Grouped OCNs in knowledge base collections in Collection Manager. Learn more about cooperative management of global knowledge base data.

About Grouped OCNs

Grouped OCNs appear in knowledge base collections in title-level data. Grouped OCN functionality improves the WorldCat Discovery experience by using a matching process to associate records that describe the same work.

When two records are merged in WorldCat, the new OCLC number will appear in the OCN grouping in the knowledge base.

In WorldCat Discovery

Grouped OCNs can make your e-resources more discoverable by surfacing a link in WorldCat Discovery to a full-text resource on an equivalent record for a physical item.

Expand to see an example

In the picture below is an item record surfaced from a search in WorldCat Discovery. The item record is for "Accounting Demystified," a print book with OCN: 52799783. "View eBook" links are included on the item record for the print book. The links are created from data in title records the library selected in knowledge base collections in their WorldShare Collection Manager instance.


In Collection Manager

Within the title-level fields in Collection Manager, Grouped OCNs are listed. The Grouped OCNs in the knowledge base title-level data help surface a link to full-text in the WorldCat Discovery record.

Expand to see an example

Next to each "View eBook" link shown in WorldCat Discovery, is the knowledge base collection name and title. You can use the collection name and title shown in WorldCat Discovery to search for the title records in Collection Manager.


In the picture below is the knowledge base title data for "Accounting Demystified," an eBook with OCN: 53382613. Listed in Grouped OCNs is the OCN from the print resource surfaced in WorldCat Discovery, OCN: 52799783.


Grouped OCN errors

Although they are not always the reason for faulty associations in WorldCat Discovery, erroneous Grouped OCNs sometimes cause links to surface on records where that e-resource is not related.

Expand to see an example

In the picture below is a WorldCat Discovery item record for "Oceanic Explorations." A link to "Out of the Ashes" appears as a misfit resource amongst the "Oceanic Explorations" titles. The cause could be an errant Grouped OCN in the knowledge base data for "Out of the Ashes."

If the library removed the Grouped OCN from the "Out of Ashes" title data and if there were not other issues with the knowledge base data or in the WorldCat record (such as issues with Standard Numbers), the link would no longer surface on the item record in Discovery.


Best practices for cooperative edits

You can report errant knowledge base links and/or record associations to OCLC. You might also have the option to correct faulty record associations and submit the enhancements to the global cooperative. If interested in exploring cooperative options, follow the recommendations below.

Focus on title-level enhancements

Sometimes erroneous Grouped OCNs are a sign of other missing or erroneous data elements. We recommend that you focus on enriching knowledge base title data. Doing so can have a broad effect across more than one item record surfaced in WorldCat Discovery.

Initiate a Grouped OCN refresh

When you enhance the title-level knowledge base fields, the system will use your enhancements to automatically re-match to records in WorldCat to repopulate and potentially correct Grouped OCNs listed in the knowledge base (unless your edits are exclusively to Grouped OCNs). Enhancing title-level fields can also improve erroneous record associations surfaced in WorldCat Discovery. You can initiate the re-matching process that refreshes Grouped OCNs in both:

  • Locally-created collections
  • Global collections that you edit cooperatively

Title-level fields

Except for title-level Notes, you can update the title-level fields and submit your changes to the cooperative. See the table for more specific details:

Title-level field Notes about cooperative edits
Title Complete a title or add a subtitle. *
OCN Add or correct an OCN via Override OCN. Cooperative edits will be maintained in both cooperative and in provider-supplied collections.
Grouped OCNs Add or Delete. Cooperative edits will be maintained in both cooperative and in provider-supplied collections. However, the grouping can change if a re-match is initiated by edits to other fields.
Standard Numbers: ISSN, eISSN; ISBN,
Other ISBNs
For provider-supplied collections, report errors in existing Standard Numbers to OCLC.
If a Standard Number is missing, you can add one cooperatively. *
Title URL; Journal Linking Key or Linking Key For provider-supplied collections, report errors to OCLC.
Coverage: Dates and Enumerations Add or edit one or both. *
Publishing details: Date, Author, Publisher Add or edit fields. *

* For provider-supplied collections, see the list to see if cooperative changes will be retained.

 Caution: If you modify titles in a collection via a KBART file and use the ACTION value "overlay," the changed fields will no longer be updated by OCLC or via the global cooperative. Changes will not initiate a Grouped OCN refresh. Fields that were not changed when you uploaded your file will still be updated. For more information, see KBART values and formatting.

Delete known Grouped OCN offenders

Focus on title-level enhancements because doing so can sometimes correct errant Grouped OCNs. However, adding and correcting title-level data will not guarantee the removal of specific Grouped OCNs even after automatic rematch. Therefore, it is a good practice to delete a known erroneous Grouped OCN in the process of enhancing title-level data.

What if there are several Grouped OCNs (6+) in the collection? Do I need to review them all?
When there are several Grouped OCNs (6+) listed for a title, a general guideline is to focus on enhancing the title-level data. Delete any known erroneous OCNs.
However, in honor of your time, you do not need to review or delete several OCNs. Your data enhancements will have an impact.
What happens if I delete them all?
There is nothing to stop you from deleting several Grouped OCNs and doing so might improve some faulty associations in WorldCat Discovery. However, the re-matching process that populated the Grouped OCNs in the knowledge base will not be triggered until changes are registered for another title-level field. This is why we recommend focusing on enhancing title-level data fields.

When the re-matching process is triggered, we cannot guarantee that the erroneous Grouped OCNs will not be repopulated.

Report Standard Number issues

Some erroneous record associations are caused by knowledge base data and/or to WorldCat data. For example, an incorrect Standard Number (ISSN, ISBN, etc.) in the knowledge base, in WorldCat, or in both the knowledge base and WorldCat will cause erroneous record associations and incorrect Grouped OCNs. The errant associations will persist even if you delete the incorrect Grouped OCNs.

Moreover, cooperative edits to an existing Standard Number will not be retained and must be fixed by OCLC. There are similar complications with exact-title issues. Contact OCLC Support to report:

  • Issues with Standard Numbers (ISSN, eISSN; ISBN, Other ISBNs)
  • Issues caused by exact-title mis-matches

OCLC will fix Standard Number issues in the knowledge base, in WorldCat, and in partnership with providers. OCLC will correct exact-title mis-matches by creating a "dummy" collection.

Be aware of retention issues

Cooperative edits to OCNs and Grouped OCNs will be retained in both cooperative collections and provider-supplied collections. However, edits to other title-level data fields can initiate a Grouped OCN refresh. It is possible for a Grouped OCN to return.

Cooperative (global.) collections

Cooperative collections are collections created by libraries that have been submitted to the cooperative. Edits to cooperative collections will be retained.

You can identify a cooperative collection by its collection ID. When a library creates a collection locally, the collection has customer. at the beginning of its collection ID. When the library submits the collection to the cooperative, it becomes a cooperative collection and has global. at the beginning of its collection ID.

Provider-supplied collections

Provider-supplied collections are knowledge base collections that are loaded and updated by OCLC with data from providers.

Before making cooperative edits, see if your collection is listed. If it is, proceed with your edits. If your collection is not listed, cooperative edits will not be retained (for fields other than OCN and Grouped OCNs) when OCLC loads provider-supplied data updates. Contact OCLC to fix the issue.

 Caution: It is possible that edits submitted to the cooperative will not be retained for listed collections. This is caused by complexities in timing and the results of a matching process that allows us to retain or not retain cooperative edits. If you notice that your changes were not retained, you can re-submit your edits. They might be retained and not encounter the timing issue that they did initially. Alternatively, do not hesitate to report the corrections to OCLC.

Report errors to OCLC

Contact OCLC Support with the following information, if you have it:

  • Your institution’s name
  • OCLC symbol or Registry ID
  • URL to the item
  • OCLC number of the item, if available
  • (Optional) Proxy credentials to access your resources*

*If you are unable to provide test proxy credentials, OCLC might need to conduct a screen-sharing session with your library to troubleshoot.

Additional information

See How to update title information for instructions on submitting edits to the global cooperative.

Before making cooperative edits, see if your collection is listed. If it is, proceed with your edits. If your collection is not listed, cooperative edits will not be retained (for fields other than OCN and Grouped OCNs) when OCLC loads provider-supplied data updates. Contact OCLC to fix the issue.

After you save edits made in knowledge base title fields, any due changes in WorldCat Discovery will be visible after processing. Processing time varies but is not instant. Changes are often visible by the following day.

Once you submit your edits to the cooperative, your edits will be loaded to the global knowledge base within 5 calendar days and visible after processing.