Publishing to OCLC

Alma allows you to automatically synchronize bibliographic records with embedded physical holdings information, and/or physical holdings information only, with the information available for your institution/library in the OCLC WorldCat catalog.

The publishing to OCLC job exports records to a predefined FTP location from which OCLC retrieves them and synchronizes them with the WorldCat records.

In order to publish to OCLC, Contact OCLC and open a synchronization project. Each such project has a project ID, which is used for data transfer activities between the institution/library and OCLC.

As part of this project, the following should be agreed with OCLC:

  • Symbol: This can be on institution level or in library level.
  • S/FTP connection to be used by Alma and OCLC.
  • Holdings information structure to be published from Alma so that OCLC is able to interpret.

These definitions should be part of the Alma’s publishing to OCLC profile. For more information about configuring the publishing to OCLC profile, refer to Alma’s online help.

The publishing to OCLC can be done in 3 modes:

  • Full – This option is intended for institutions that create a new OCLC account for processing records for the first time, or for sites that did work with OCLC previously, but have decided to undertake a full reclamation project with OCLC in order to republish all records from Alma to OCLC, again. This is a one time mode: once the publishing job in a full mode completes, Alma automatically sets the Publishing mode to incremental.
  • Incremental – Use this option to publish your ongoing OCLC record changes in Alma.
  • Base-line: use this option if you are an institution that is migrating from a different ILS where OCLC records have been maintained and exchanged with OCLC, and the goal is to continue the exchange of records with OCLC on the Alma system from where the other ILS left off (using the existing OCLC account that was used with the previous ILS). This option is intended for use – once – immediately after the database is migrated to Alma and before any OCLC records are changed in Alma. Once the publishing job completes, Alma automatically sets the Publishing mode in the OCLC publishing profile to Incremental for the ongoing incremental publishing updates with OCLC.

Output files

The publishing to OCLC produces 2 files:

  • DATA.D[YYMMDD]: A MARC binary file of the published records.
    If there are more than 200,000 records to be exported, multiple data files are created with up to 200,000 records in each file.
  • LABEL.D[YYMMDD]: A textual file containing information for OCLC such as the OCLC Institution symbol and the OCLC Project ID.

For information about the FTP output file structure, refer to

The following table summarize the publishing to OCLC options:

Publishing protocolFTP
contentBatchload (bib + hol)
Local holdings only
forced export supportedstaff user can manually select records to be exported
Deleted records handlingBibliographic records whose associated holdings records have been deleted are published as deleted records.
SchedulingDaily or weekly
Note: OCLC retrieves the data from the FTP directory every night at about 2:00 AM (Eastern Standard Time). The publishing process should be scheduled so that it does not interfere with OCLC’s data collecting process.