Let me tell you about Walter. You know, the 68-year-old retiree that volunteers at your library. The older white gentleman who’s been faithfully reading to the kids at Saturday Story-Time every week for six years. Kids love Walter. The way he makes silly voices. The knowing grin when the pigeon can’t find his shoe or the mouse somehow gets into the bear’s house for the umpteenth time. The way he reminds them of Santa Claus, maybe. Walter is a great volunteer. He also happens to be a Klan member.
Or, let me tell you about Tyler. The junior political science major that reserves a large study room every Wednesday night from 5:00 to 7:00 for his study group. Always turns the key in on time. Never bothers other patrons. This week, Tyler and his friends are meeting to plan for a road-trip to join a neo-Nazi protest against the planned removal of a Confederate monument.
What about Kelly? She’s the week-end part-timer that covers the reference desk on Sunday afternoons. She’s always there with a smile on her face and an eagerness to help whoever comes to the desk. After her shift, she heads home to write her weekly post for a white nationalist blog.
See, here’s the thing. Librarians are arguing over whether or not to let white supremacists and Nazis and other hate groups into the library. About the library, they say, “you can’t invite into it people who want to publicly announce that they want to drive away some of them with torches and threats.” And, sure, when the alt-right shows up to the circulation desk with their tiki torches, you should absolutely kick their hateful asses out. If a neo-Nazi group wants to rent space for a public memorial service for a Holocaust denier, you ought to push back. If white supremacists are marching down your Main Street, by all means, resist them. Chris Bourg is right: “As an organization, we must condemn white supremacy in all its manifestations.” And we should call out tone-deaf arguments from white guys who think this is all some sort of abstraction about freedom of speech and who want to recite the ALA Code of Ethics as some sort of gospel.
But, odds are, at your library, you’re not going to have to deal with these sorts of things. You won’t have tiki torches at your circulation desk or neo-Nazis rallying by your makerspace. No, you’re just going to have Walter and Tyler and Kelly.
White supremacy is endemic. It’s part of the fabric of this country. And it’s good at hiding in plain sight. For every fascist wearing a Pepe shirt, there are a thousand more who aren’t. And the more we focus on the most egregious displays of hate coming from the alt-right, the more we risk overlooking the hidden hatred that lives right next door. The hate that perpetuates discrimination and inequality. Redlining loan officers don’t carry torches. The high-income hipsters whitewashing Harlem aren’t carrying Confederate flags. George Zimmerman wasn’t wearing a white hood when he shot Trayvon Martin. Remember, after the white supremacists rally, they go home, take off their silly costumes, and blend back into white, suburban banality. And how do the Walters and Tylers and Kellys blend in? Because we let them. We nice white folks let them. To me, that’s more frightening than any rally.
So, while librarians argue on the Internet about whether to punch a Nazi or let the Klan hold a rally in the library, kids are listening to Walter the casual Klansman read about an owl who can’t fall asleep…and they’re loving it.
When we say "everyone is welcome here" there's a self-excluding exception.
Last Thursday, comScore released their 2017 U.S. Mobile App Report, which tracks the amount of digital media consumption on mobile devices, who is consuming that media, and what their usage habits are. It has been a while since we asked, “Does your website look good on a smartphone?” A little more than a year later, the data seems to indicate we should ask a different question: If your website doesn’t look good on mobile, why do you even have one? Mobile usage patterns, especially among younger users, are becoming more organized and efficient in ways that only work on phones. One result of that efficiency is a reduction in the number of apps downloaded and used, but on a deeper level, it means many people have chosen mobile as their preferred web platform and have taken control of it.
Articles from Ohio Web Library:
How are you addressing our changing information environment in your teaching? How do you make room for new realities and attendant controversies?
The 1,000,000,000 OCLC Control Number was recently created in WorldCat. It was for a digital image from the Chiba University Library (YA@) in Chiba, Japan. We knew this milestone was fast approaching, and we sent guidance to member libraries and to library vendors to prepare them for a tenth digit in the OCN.
How appropriate that this breakthrough, which symbolizes the culture of collaboration and sharing embraced by the library community worldwide, would take place during the cooperative’s 50th anniversary year, when we are celebrating our past and anticipating our future.
WorldCat has reached many milestones over the years and this makes us consider the possibilities that await in the years ahead.The count begins
For 50 years, librarians and OCLC have been contributing metadata to WorldCat, creating a more valuable resource for the entire cooperative. Each record that enters WorldCat receives a unique OCLC Control Number (OCN). The OCN is widely used in the library community, as well as by library vendors and publishers, as an authoritative identifier for referring to specific resources.
Note that the OCN represents something different than the number of records available in WorldCat, which is over 400 million. As thousands of catalogers in thousands of libraries over the course of five decades create bibliographic metadata, duplication most certainly occurs, and still does. Fortunately, we have a robust data quality program in place that continuously enhances WorldCat data quality. More on that later in this post.
Until recently, there was a ceiling of 999,999,999 OCLC numbers, so the odometer was recalibrated to accommodate the one billionth OCN, lengthening the MARC fields for another digit. It wasn’t the first time that’s been done of course. The first OCN ceiling was 100 million. That 100 million must have seemed more than enough for the foreseeable future for Fred Kilgour and his staff back in 1971, when WorldCat began operation.The rush for gold
For the next 10 years, about one million records were added annually and the ten millionth milestone was reached in October 1983. California State University, San Bernardino (CSB) entered the record for the thesis, Time Perception: A Function of Sex and Age.
Back then, each time a millionth record was reached, it was called a Gold Record, and member libraries were awarded a plaque to commemorate the event. As members cataloged, they watched the countdown online and jockeyed to get “OCLC gold.”
In 2007, though, OCN growth really took off…
OCLC Control Number 1,000,000,000 was recently created for a digital image from Chiba University in Japan.
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Putting the world in WorldCat
As WorldCat became a de facto global library catalog, regional and national libraries as well as publishers got excited about the ability to share materials worldwide. OCLC supported those needs with new data load capabilities and a technology platform that could accommodate more of the world’s language scripts. To date, OCLC has agreements in place with more than 50 national libraries and 315 publishers and information providers to make enhanced library data available through WorldCat. This helps libraries everywhere connect people with more types of information from many more sources.
OCLC also creates original records and provides the common infrastructure to support shared approaches to description, authority control, and subject analysis and classification. WorldCat supports the Program for Cooperative Cataloging, a collaborative effort coordinated by the Library of Congress that includes CONSER, NACO, SACO, and BIBCO. And we develop and maintain the VIAF (Virtual International Authority File) service, which aggregates the world’s major name authority files.
OCLC also plays a prominent role in other worldwide authority file systems, such as ISNI (International Standard Name Identifier), the ISO-certified standard for identifying the creator of a work. OCLC hosts ISNI, and the ISNI International Agency maintains the authority files. This information feeds into VIAF and other authority databases to give a full picture of a creator across the web.Our commitment to quality
As the number of records continues to grow, OCLC’s investments to improve quality also increase. Our continuous maintenance and improvement of WorldCat records follows the guidelines in Bibliographic Formats and Standards, and is central to that commitment.
Expert OCLC catalogers also review records, add newly cataloged records, merge duplicates, create new records, and correct errors. More than 100 million records are upgraded each year. In addition to manual edits, we also create and run automated processes to merge duplicate records. Since May 2009, our Duplicate Detection and Resolution software has eliminated or merged 28 million duplicate records.
OCLC staff work closely with our members on policy issues and enhancements to bibliographic data. We regularly reach out to groups of libraries to seek feedback on data quality issues. A current project we are working on involves training member libraries to manually merge records as they come across them.Ready for the future
At the current rate of growth, when will we add an eleventh digit to the OCNs? How will library collections change in the next 50 years? What new data will be added to WorldCat in the future?
As our users’ needs evolve, what a library collects will continually change. And as we have for 50 years, OCLC will continue to innovate to keep pace with our user communities, recalibrating both the WorldCat odometer and the programs that serve our members whenever needed.
Those new USB-C cables you might have bought? You know, the ones for your tablets, phones, Bluetooth speakers and probably a large number of other gadgets? Take a deep breath and relax: even though a new USB standard is going to be confirmed next month, it will be some time before devices support the new standard…and your USB-C cables will still work. In fact, the good news is that even older, non-compatible devices will still be able to benefit, some, from the new, faster standard.
From the Ohio Web Library:
As IFLA commences, our thoughts turn to Poland and world literature…
The international library community is gathered in Wrocław, Poland, for the 2017 World Library and Information Congress. This ancient city by the River Oder will offer many attractions to the delegates, including the oldest zoo in Poland, historic Centennial Hall, and the more contemporary Multimedia Fountain. And, as many librarians will especially appreciate, Poland is home to some of the greatest authors and works in world literature.Who is the most popular Polish author?
Who is the greatest Polish author? Literary critics can debate the point, but using WorldCat data, we can say something about the most popular Polish authors, measured by the frequency with which their works appear in library collections worldwide. The answer: Joseph Conrad. Conrad was born in what is now northern Ukraine in 1857, at the time part of the Russian Empire and formerly part of the Kingdom of Poland. His parents were members of the Polish nobility, as well as activists for Polish independence. Conrad spent much of his childhood in Poland, before becoming a sailor and later a British citizen. Conrad keeps august company in the pantheon of popular Polish authors, with recently canonized Pope John Paul II and the Nobel Prize-winning writer Isaac Bashevis Singer (born Icek Zynger) taking second and third place.
As librarians gather in Wrocław for #ifla2017 we ask: Who is the most popular Polish author in WorldCat?
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Given that Joseph Conrad is the most popular Polish author, it is no surprise that he also claims the most popular work by a Polish author, where we again measure popularity in terms of global library holdings. Lord Jim, originally published in serialized form in 1899–1900, is held more widely than any other work by a Polish author. Conrad’s Heart of Darkness and Nostromo capture second and third place on the list, cementing the novelist’s status as the world’s most popular Polish author.
While Joseph Conrad is of Polish heritage, his reputation as a writer was formed outside of Poland, and he wrote in the English language. We can sharpen our view of the Polish presence in world literature by posing another question: who is the most popular Polish author writing in the Polish language? And what is the most popular work originally written in Polish? The answers: Henryk Sienkiewicz and his internationally acclaimed work, Quo Vadis. Despite its Latin title, Sienkiewicz’s epic tale of early Christianity was originally composed and published in the Polish language.
The composer Frederic Chopin takes top honors as the most popular musician of Polish heritage, while director Billy Wilder (born Samuel Wilder in Sucha, Poland) is the most popular Pole in movies.Polish-language materials around the world
WorldCat data also reveals the diffusion of Polish-language materials around the world. For example, the largest concentration of Polish-language materials outside of Poland can be found at the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (Bavarian State Library) in Munich, Germany. Harvard University has the second largest concentration of Polish-language materials, followed by the Herder Institut (a German center for historical research on East Central Europe), New York Public Library, and Stanford University.
Recent work by OCLC Research also found that Polish was the most common language after English and Spanish found on the shelves of Illinois public libraries. Illinois, and especially the city of Chicago, is the home of a large and vibrant Polish community, as well as the Polish Museum of America, celebrated examples of Polish cathedral-style architecture, and the annual Taste of Polonia Festival.
From Conrad to Sienkiewicz to Chopin; from Lord Jim to Quo Vadis to the Minute Waltz—Polish authors, composers, and other creative lights have made timeless contributions to world literature and the arts. The enduring popularity of these authors and works is revealed by exploring the global library collective collection, represented by WorldCat. The combined collections of libraries everywhere is the best approximation available of the published record, and as such, offers a unique window into world literature and other forms of creative expression. Using WorldCat, we can ask interesting questions and discover fascinating answers regarding the world’s published output.
Check out our series of reports on characterizing national presences in the published record; reports on Scotland and New Zealand are available, with a report on Ireland coming soon. See this recent Irish Times piece by Lorcan Dempsey for a preview of some of our Irish findings.
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