OhioLINK, a cooperative venture of university libraries and the Ohio Department of Higher Education, grew out of a 1987 recommendation by the board’s library committee that "the state of Ohio implement, as expeditiously as possible, a statewide electronic catalog system."
In response to this recommendation, the board established a steering committee representing librarians, faculty, administrators and computer systems managers from campuses throughout Ohio. After meetings, public hearings, and conferences, the committee prepared and distributed a planning paper (November 1988); a Request for Information (February 1989); and a Request for Proposal (August 1989) to initiate a statewide electronic system.
In 1990, OhioLINK selected Innovative Interfaces, Inc. to develop the unique software system to create the OhioLINK Library Catalog and selected Digital Equipment Corporation for the computer hardware base. OhioLINK licensed four databases from University Microfilms International, UMI, for citations to millions of business, newspaper and periodical articles and to academic dissertations. These elements formed the foundation of the growing OhioLINK system of services. In 1992, six universities installed Innovative systems and began the ongoing process of building the central catalog. In February 1996, OhioLINK began offering services through the World Wide Web.
OhioLINK is part of Ohio’s ongoing tradition in pioneering library automation. The Ohio State University and others in Ohio began integrating campus library systems at an early date. In the 1960s, state funds supported the development of OCLC, then called the Ohio College Library Center. OCLC has since grown into an international organization with a database of 30 million entries representing materials held in more than 10,000 libraries.