Advantages of Washington Group Services

Unique Advantages

Some of the Group Services advantages listed here are available to libraries now, whether or not they join Washington Group Services. The following advantages are unique to Group Services:

  • Wayfinder, the Catalog of Washington Libraries—Group catalogs are ONLY available through Group Services. Wayfinder will be paid for using federal LSTA (Library Services and Technology Act) funds, administered by the State Library, and is thus free to Washington libraries and their patrons.
  • Under Group Services, libraries are provided with their OCLC cataloging and ILL (resource sharing) costs 4 years at a time, as opposed to just one year at a time otherwise, allowing for more effective budget planning.
  • Any library joining Group Services may utilize one free batch load during the first twelve months of Group Services membership.

General Advantages

  • Through Group Services, libraries leverage their existing investments in OCLC and local automation systems to provide additional functionality and increase collection visibility for both end users and staff.
  • Washington Group Services facilitates a spirit of community among all types of libraries, developing a foundation for collaborative statewide resource sharing. 
  • Group Services offers libraries unlimited access to basic library services: OCLC cataloging, Interlibrary loan, and WorldCat. When libraries join Group Services, their staffs have unlimited use of these OCLC Services.
  • Group Services provides predictable pricing for libraries, enabling them to plan their budgets more effectively.
  • Group Services is Web accessible. Cataloging, reference, and Interlibrary loan services, as well as the statewide group catalog, will be accessible via the Web.
  • For small and poorly funded libraries, LSTA funding has been approved, paying the entire Group Services cost for the first three years, 75% the fourth year, 50% the fifth year, 25% the sixth year, with libraries picking up the entire cost in subsequent years.

Statewide Group Catalog Advantages:

  • Group Services introduces a statewide group catalog, with customized views to meet the needs of Washington libraries, including views by region, type of library, type of material, and more.
  • Through Open WorldCat and, participation in Group Services helps insure that library holdings are available and more visible on the open web, where library patrons typically begin their information seeking.
  • Through IP address recognition, automatically displays library locations nearest the end user. Users whose locations cannot be readily identified are prompted to enter their zip code to provide a closer match.
  • Group Services and provides the ability for libraries to place a locally branded WorldCat search box on web sites, blogs, etc. and to offer this service to other community organizations, making library resources more widely visible.

Resource Sharing Advantages:

  • Resource sharing services feature unlimited Interlibrary Loan, which includes:
    • Unlimited access to WorldCat Resource Sharing, with the ability to automatically deflect selected ILL requests
    • ILL Fee Management (IFM)
    • Unlimited Online Union Listing
    • Statistical reports
  • Using the Washington Statewide Group Catalog, users can link to library local systems, obtaining location, call number and item availability information, place holds and–promised soon–even initiate remote checkout, subject to individual library policies and permissions.
  • Group Services facilitates patron initiated interlibrary loan transactions and placing of holds, subject to individual library policies and patron authentication.
  • Group Services does not restrict local library autonomy; local libraries still decide which materials to lend and to whom, whether to allow patron initiated ILL requests, and whether such requests should be staff mediated or not. Libraries decide whether to allow WorldCat users to link into their local library systems. Users must still be authenticated appropriately.
  • Group Services helps level the playing field, allowing potential access to all of the state’s library resources by all libraries, whether large or small, public or private, school or academic.

Cataloging Advantages:

  • Cataloging services include access to any of OCLC’s cataloging interfaces:
    • Connexion online cataloging using the interface most appropriate to each library: Windows-based, Web-based, Z39.50 or CatExpress
    • Managing holdings using a batch process
    • PromptCat: Receiving records automatically when ordering materials from OCLC partner vendors such as Baker & Taylor, Ingram, or Follett
    • An initial free batch load for updating or creating OCLC holdings
  • Participation in Group Services motivates libraries to provide a higher quality of records and holdings information in their catalogs, and to keep that information up to date in the OCLC WorldCat database.

For additional information on Washington Group Services, contact
Will Stuivenga
[email protected]
360.704.5217 or toll free 866.538.4996

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