March 18, 2018

ALA Annual 2011: OCLC’s Jay Jordan To Retire Next Year

During the recent American Library Association Annual Conference, OCLC announced the retirement of its longtime president and CEO, Jay Jordan, to take effect June 30, 2012.

OCLC Board Chair Larry Alford made the announcement during the OCLC President’s Luncheon on June 27. Alford said that the OCLC board was currently forming a search committee to find Jordan’s successor.

Jordan became the fourth president and CEO of OCLC in May 1998, succeeding K. Wayne Smith. Before OCLC, Jordan had a 24-year career with database publisher Information Handling Services (now IHS). His tenure at OCLC has seen a huge expansion of the nonprofit cooperative from its Online Computer Library Center cataloging roots.

Among other achievements, Jordan oversaw the launch of the QuestionPoint online reference service in 2002, the WebJunction online community in 2003, and in 2006, as well as several acquisitions, including EZproxy authentication software (acquired in 2008) and NetLibrary (acquired in 2002 and sold to EBSCO in March 2010). OCLC also entered the integrated library system (ILS) market with its cloud-based Web-scale Management Services, due to launch on July 1.

The company’s endeavors have occasionally drawn fire. In July 2010, OCLC was sued by SkyRiver Technology Solutions and Innovative Interfaces, who charged the nonprofit with antitrust violations and anticompetitive business practices. In an August 5 statement, Jordan and Alford called the suit “without merit” and a “regrettable action.” The suit is still ongoing.

According to OCLC, the number of libraries in the OCLC cooperative has expanded to more than 72,000 since 1998, up from 30,000. During that period, the number of records in the WorldCat database has grown from 38 million to more than 240 million.

David Rapp About David Rapp

David Rapp ( was formerly Associate Editor, LJ.