Official State of Iowa Website

Iowa CatExpress Consortium

OCLC CatExpress is a fast and easy copy cataloging solution, designed for any library that needs a streamlined tool for obtaining full MARC records and printing labels.

The State Library manages a buying group for Iowa libraries of all types to purchase full MARC records from OCLC. The advantage of joining this consortium is that libraries may order fewer than 250 records per year, which is the minimum purchase for an individual institution. The maximum amount of records a library may purchase under this agreement is 7,000 per year.


  • Speed up copy cataloging with high hit rates from WorldCat, the authoritative bibliographic database that connects you to more than 217 million materials records for popular and hard-to-find items
  • Intuitive web-based interface is easy for students and new staff to use, regardless of previous cataloging experience
  • Coupled with your FirstSearch subscription, your library can take advantage of OCLC's Web Visibility features


  • Simple six-step process for copy cataloging
  • Search for and retrieve MARC records
  • Basic editing of bibliographic records
  • Print spine and pocket labels for items in your collection
  • Download OCLC-MARC records
  • Online documentation and context-sensitive help
  • CatExpress subscribers can receive upgraded WorldCat records automatically, through the Bibliographic Record Notification service, at no additional charge


Each year the State Library:

  • Collects the orders and submits the order for the entire consortium to OCLC
  • Invoices and collects the funds from the participating libraries
  • Maintains a list of member institutions in the consortium

Member institutions:

  • Order a set number of records
  • Pay $1.46 per record
  • Pay $2.78 per record over the contracted amount

 Iowa CatExpress Buying Group Information

  • Through the consortium there is no set minimum. The maximum number of records is 7,000 records per year.
  • For a stand-alone CatExpress Library, the minimum is 250 records per year
  • Most libraries order their records in July for the next fiscal year
  • A new library can join anytime during the year, but the consortium year ends June 30.
  • Libraries anticipate how many records they will use and order accordingly.
  • OCLC sets the price of the CatExpress records each year. For FY24, the price is $1.46 per record and $2.78 for any overages.
  • Libraries pay in advance for the records. OCLC bills the State Library for the consortium and the State Library bills the libraries. This usually occurs in July.
  • Libraries are billed at the cost per record set by OCLC and for the quantity the library ordered.
  • If a library does not use all the records they ordered and paid for, the remaining balance is forfeited.
  • Record access ends June 30 of each year and is reset.
  • Libraries can use more MARC records than they ordered and paid for (these are called "overages") but they will pay for them after June 30 and in the next fiscal year. 

OCLC CatExpress Resources

For more information or to join the Iowa CatExpress Consortium, contact Amy Rollinger.