Libraries across Ohio celebrated OhioLINK’s 20th birthday on Thursday, November 1st – it’s now older than many of our students! Most of you already know and love OhioLINK, but how many of you know its history?
OhioLINK launched in November of 1992 as a shared library catalog for six libraries including Bowling Green State University, Case Western Reserve University, Central State University, Miami University, University of Cincinnati, and Wright State University. Each library contributed its catalog records to create a super catalog, called the Central Catalog. Libraries were just beginning the expensive and labor intensive process of converting from traditional paper card catalogs to online catalogs around this time. The OhioLINK Central Catalog was developed as an online catalog and enabled users from member institutions to request books online; previously users weren’t able to make requests without library staff assistance.
Checkout a timeline of important OhioLINK events! (Click to enlarge)
Wittenberg joined OhioLINK in January of 1998, the fifteenth private liberal arts college to participate. Two articles were written for the Torch during the 1998-1999 academic year. One article entitled “OhioLINK gives Thomas Library over 24 million items; Witt above state average” published on February 16, 1999 states Wittenberg borrowed 5,431 books in that first year; this averaged out to be about 2.7 books per student, while the state average was only 1.5 books per student.
OhioLINK has grown to include over 80 institutions, including some public libraries as well. The addition of public libraries provides us with greater access to more popular materials like DVDs, fiction novels, and children’s books. Wittenberg’s membership in OhioLINK also enables us to save money on many of the subscription databases we use to search for periodical articles.
So who or what is OhioLINK? A small staff actually runs the business of OhioLINK at an office in downtown Columbus. But the staff here at Thomas Library is responsible for many of the daily tasks, like packing and unpacking books, that keep OhioLINK running. And the library faculty often serve on committees responsible for evaluating OhioLINK resources and services. So the next time you are in the library, wish OhioLINK a happy birthday by thanking a library staff or faculty member!