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CONTACT: Ann Overton
                     Virginia Transportation Research Council
                     (434) 293-1912
October 27, 2006


Collection has more than 26,000 records in international online register

CHARLOTTESVILLE – The research library of the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is now the nation’s largest library at a state department of transportation in terms of holdings catalogued in the Online Computer Library Center, or OCLC, the standard by which this ranking is measured.

With approximately 26,000 cataloged records, representing more than 36,000 volumes, in this online cooperative, VDOT’s research library – housed at the Virginia Transportation Research Council (VTRC), VDOT’s research arm – began its electronic conversion only three years ago. VDOT joined OCLC in mid-2003 to expand its access primarily to all its employees throughout the Commonwealth.

Through VDOT’s partnership with the University of Virginia in the Research Council and VTRC’s location on the U.Va. grounds, U.Va. faculty and students also have direct access to the documents in the research library. Because the university’s library system is an OCLC member, its users can view the holdings in the VDOT research library as well.

Other top state DOT libraries in terms of OCLC holdings are in Wisconsin, Ohio, Massachusetts and Washington.

The Online Computer Library Center is comprised of 55,000 libraries in 110 countries and was created to increase access to materials, defray costs and make interlibrary lending easier. This network of libraries and other research centers allows VDOT staff to access not only its own library, but billions of resources worldwide, while sharing VDOT’s own titles, research papers and other documents with the other OCLC members, including state and federal transportation professionals, research agencies and universities.

The research library’s staff continues to add new holdings daily to this catalog as it reduces the number of documents in its backlog from its pre-electronic days. Circulation is up 200 percent in the last 12 months because more documents are easier to access.

“Our library’s small staff did an outstanding job in three short years in bringing VDOT’s research collection up to date, from zero to 26,000, with this electronic conversion,” said Gary R. Allen, VDOT chief of technology, research and innovation. “Making this information instantly available to all VDOT employees, as well as our online access now to many other libraries, is already saving the department time and money as it strives to meet the challenges laid out in the agency’s new business plan.”


  • Created in 1954 at the Research Council by the former state highway department, making it one of the oldest state DOT-affiliated transportation libraries in the nation
  • TLCAT, a sub-database of the Online Computer Library Center’s main “WorldCAT” database, allows VDOT employees, U.Va. faculty and students and other OCLC members to search other leading U.S. transportation libraries
  • Full library services available to all VDOT employees and U.Va. faculty and students
  • Library staff:
    • Ken Winter, director of library and information services (434) 293-1959
    • Patricia DeSalvo, associate librarian (434) 293-1965
    • Gale Smith, assistant librarian (434) 293-1959
The Virginia Transportation Research Council is a partnership of VDOT and the University of Virginia and is located on the U.Va. grounds in Charlottesville. More information about the Research Council is at