Information for Libraries and Library Staff


in 2008, the Washington State Library partnered with Washington Libraries and OCLC to create a statewide catalog that was named "Wayfinder: The Catalog of Washington Libraries." It was created from the holdings of all Washington libraries included in the OCLC WorldCat database, with the exception of K-12 libraries.

To create a "group catalog," as OCLC considered it, required a group of libraries. Hence, Washington OCLC Group Services, a group of libraries purchasing basic OCLC services together, was created. To participate in Washington Group Services, libraries agreed to purchase three services from OCLC:

  1. Unlimited Cataloging
  2. Unlimited InterLibrary Loan
  3. A FirstSearch WorldCat subscription.

Pricing was based on a snapshot of previous usage, or for new customers, on an estimate of anticipated use. OCLC's Group Services cataloging and ILL pricing for existing customers was intended to be revenue-neutral, and used preset indexed increases for future years, creating predictable pricing, which practice continues today.

WorldCat Discovery (FirstSearch) pricing under Washington Group Services includes economies of scale, resulting in significant savings for some libraries. But many WA libraries were already purchasing WorldCat through another entity, the Pacific Northwest FirstSearch Group, and those libraries, if they chose, were “grandfathered” in, and didn’t purchase separate subscriptions. So not all participating libraries are purchasing FirstSearch WorldCat through the group.

Unfortunately, the Wayfinder catalog never really caught on, and usage remained relatively low. The State Library chose to discontinue funding for it in 2013. Nevertheless, the catalog, and its wide array of scopes (by type of library, and by geographical region, etc.) is still available for use at

Despite the decision to defund Wayfinder, Washington OCLC Group Services continued on. When dissolving the Group was considered, it was determined that it was still providing value to many libraries, and that ending the program could result in significantly higher cost for at least some libraries.

Additional Information

For additional information on the Washington Statewide Catalog or Washington Group Services, contact Will Stuivenga or follow one of the links above.

Will Stuivenga, Library Development Cooperative Projects Manager
Fax: 360.586.7575
E-mail: [email protected]
Phone: 360.704.5217 or toll free: 866.538.4996

Washington State Library
P.O. Box 42460
Olympia, WA 98504-2460 

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