It was great to see everyone in Baltimore at the inaugural meeting of the Americas Regional Council. It was a phenomenal experience—from the inspiring keynote speakers to many in-depth, informative breakout sessions.
Nearly 200 attendees from 120 institutions, 36 US states, and four countries joined this membership meeting where the theme was, “The Smarter Library.” We shared ideas, questions, and insights about what it takes to become smarter and innovate continuously around the needs of the communities we serve.
Our keynote speakers, Dr. Carla D. Hayden, Librarian of Congress; Skip Prichard, President and CEO of OCLC; and Katherine Maher, Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation, inspired us all with their keen insights on how libraries can continue their track record of innovation in pursuit of new and better ways to support their communities and better serve their users.
#OCLCARC17: What does it take to become smarter and innovate continuously around the needs of our communities?
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Members themselves provided most of the breakout content—a rich program of more than 60 leading speakers and panelists from within and outside the library community. These breakout sessions, where we came together in small groups to brainstorm and reflect, were a valuable part of the two-day meeting. Through our use of a “smarter conference” app, Scavify, we heard what attendees will be taking home to make their libraries smarter. Here is a sampling:
Those are just a few of the practical ideas shared. For more inspiration, the presentation materials from the event are available here, and we encourage you to review and share them with colleagues who were unable to attend this year’s conference. Conference attendees shared a lot of thoughts (and some great pictures!) on OCLC’s Twitter and Instagram accounts, too. We encourage you to continue to share the memories via your own social media accounts using #OCLCARC17.
Take a look at the ARC17 highlight video below, which will give you a quick glimpse into the camaraderie and excitement of the meeting.
Thank you to all who planned and attended this powerful event. The rooms were filled with great energy, interesting conversations, and new connections. We all came away with new ideas and a new spirit to innovate, which will keep our libraries relevant and fresh.
We look forward to seeing you next year in Chicago, Illinois, where we will continue to advance smarter libraries together.
Resource sharing is the heart of librarianship. And the heart of OCLC. Whether it’s metadata, workflows, infrastructure, or library materials, sharing is embedded deep in a librarian’s psyche and powered by our technology platform.
It’s no surprise, then, that resource sharing is one of the topics on our blog that always gets the most traffic—this year and last year. This year, our posts on Tipasa, interlibrary loan trends, and shared print collections are among the most popular based on views and visits. Last year, it was interlibrary loan trends as well, along with a contest to name our new ILL management system.
Clearly, after 50 years of the cooperative, the community continues to reinvent resource sharing—making it even easier for more types of libraries and groups to support one another. I invite you to enjoy these posts once again. And to keep on caring about resource sharing.
Resource Sharing is the top #OCLCnext blog topic for 2017.
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By Christa Starck, OCLC Senior Product Manager, Resource Sharing
Everyone likes reading about lists and trends. I guess it’s part of our natural curiosity to wonder who’s in the top ten and to analyze what direction our culture or profession appears to be headed.
In the case of interlibrary loan (ILL), it’s also a lot of fun! The ILL community enjoys the data as well. Here are the latest themes in the interlibrary loan world based on our data. Read more…
Come on in, the water’s fine
By Carla G. Sands, Interlibrary Loan Specialist, Gabriele Library, Immaculata University
In the summer of 2016, I received a phone call from OCLC asking if I’d be interested in becoming one of the first early adopters for a service that would be replacing ILLiad. It would be an enhanced WorldShare ILL system that would include many of the unique features of ILLiad. Move away from ILLiad? And do so at the “bleeding edge” of a new service? And being not much of a techie, the idea of changing any computer-based system always seems like a challenge. At that very moment, the idea seemed overwhelming and, frankly, hugely unsettling. Read more…
Sharing resource sharing
By Katie Birch, Executive Director, OCLC Resource Sharing
I’ve been working in interlibrary loan a long time and the collaboration I see within this group of librarians is amazing. Our resource sharing community has nearly 50 years of shared experience, and that is a critical resource for our future. Our membership is also a passionate and engaged worldwide community that, together, fills an ILL request every two seconds. We will take that experience and passion and use it to build cooperative services and resources that better meet the challenges of an increasingly connected, worldwide audience. Read more…
A change in focus on library collections and spaces
By Rick Lugg, Executive Director, Sustainable Collection Services
As a library community, we face a large task: to understand and manage print book collections in new ways. Librarians first need to guarantee that nothing disappears from the collective collection—that the scholarly and cultural record remains intact. We also need to assure that material in shared collections remains available to users quickly when needed. Only then can we responsibly consider sharing, storage, or withdrawal. Good data about collections can help establish priorities and focus. Read more…Registration open for 2018 OCLC Resource Sharing Conference
OCLC invites all ILL professionals to Jacksonville, Florida, USA, to share the latest in resource sharing, including innovative approaches to patron service and interlibrary loan workflows. At next year’s conference, you’ll find ways to improve operational efficiency, save time, and better connect end users to the information they need. Register today for this unique opportunity to interact with a very knowledgeable community of resource sharing professionals.
Back in 1988, one of my OCLC colleagues worked at The Ohio State University Law Library as a work-study student. Recently, he told me a story about going deep into the basement to the compact storage units to retrieve an 1870s law book to photocopy some Ohio municipal codes for a library in Japan. He mailed the document to the library the next day using the US Postal Service.
Today, almost 30 years later, the world of international interlibrary loan is alive and well but with fewer trips to the ‘dungeon’ and the post office, thanks to digitization, electronic publications, and advances in scanning technology. These advances, along with the web and the emerging global library data network, are making international borrowing and lending easier and more commonplace.
But it’s the stories behind these international transactions that make them memorable, inspiring, and fun.
What's your international ILL story?
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As I prepared to attend IFLA’s International Interlending and Document Supply Conference this month to moderate a panel discussion, I sent out a request for international ILL stories from OCLC members. Here is a sampling. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.Digging into the secret student archives at the Universidad de Chile
Submitted by Dana Von Berg, University of Arizona
“Two years ago, a graduate student needed the first edition of a Chilean publication entitled La Ciruela from 1979. I tried contacting the National Library of Chile since they had some issues of this publication in their collection. They weren’t able to supply so I tried the Universidad de Chile using an ALA request. A librarian from there contacted me to let me know that this was a clandestine publication of the Federation of Students of the University of Chile that is not held in any Chilean libraries but it’s held in-house! She asked the student federation if she could get a digitized copy of this publication and they agreed to provide her with one. It took over a month to arrive but I received a PDF of the issue from the librarian that I was able to send to the customer.”Chasing a Honduran tsunami with the University of Tegucigalpa
Submitted by Kurt I. Munson, Northwestern University
“We have a faculty member who studies tsunamis and earthquakes. In June 2015, he needed a newspaper article about a tsunami that hit the east coast of Honduras in the mid-1860s. We had to track down the newspaper to see if it even existed since it was Honduran. We emailed the University of Tegucigalpa, which was the only library that owned the title. They found it, took a cell phone picture of the article, and emailed that to us.”Learning the Korean language with the help of a web browser
Submitted by Graham Fredrick, Indiana University – Purdue University
“Technology has made foreign-language articles easier to obtain. A few years ago, one of my faculty members requested several Korean-language journal articles. I have no Korean language experience, so I used in-browser translation to help me search several sites and verify citations. The articles were not freely available from publishers, so I then requested them from the National Library of Korea. Fortunately, they could supply several of the born-digital articles for free as PDFs.”The thrill of reaching lands far away with a crusty old microfilm article
Submitted by Andi Wall, Cleveland University-Kansas City
“I have worked in ILL in two different libraries and both libraries stopped lending to international libraries, with the exception of Canada, Guam, and Puerto Rico, soon after I arrived due to publisher contracts or copyright concerns. However, just a week ago, I sent an old article—like crusty microfilm old—to Australia. For some reason, it felt great to supply information to another country again. I guess I’m still amazed at the ease of exchange to far-off lands.”What’s your international ILL story?
The 15th IFLA International Interlending and Document Supply Conference was held in Paris October 4–6. Attendees shared their challenges and experiences in extending the reach of their libraries. Librarians in attendance were interested in such topics as open access articles, IFLA vouchers, license management of e-collections, and storage and retrieval of physical collections.
Does your library have a story of pain or joy in one of these topics? How does international ILL look different in your library today than it did five, ten, or 20 years ago? What do you want it took look like in another five, ten, or 20 years?
Send your story to email@example.com and I will be happy to share with the community.Registration open for 2018 OCLC Resource Sharing Conference
OCLC invites all ILL professionals to Jacksonville, Florida, USA, to share the latest in resource sharing, including innovative approaches to patron service and interlibrary loan workflows. At this year’s conference, you’ll find ways to improve operational efficiency, save time, and better connect end users to the information they need. Register today for this unique opportunity to interact with a very knowledgeable community of resource sharing professionals.
The post From secret student archives to crusty old microfilm: Tales from the international ILL world appeared first on OCLC Next.
At the beginning of the 1992–1993 school year, I issued a challenge to teachers, students, administrators, and community members around the Ovid-Elise Area Schools in Michigan. Our small, rural library, which supported two elementary schools, a middle school, and a high school, had recently joined OCLC and for the first time had access to libraries worldwide through WorldCat. Even though our materials budget was tiny, I stood up in the first district staff meeting of the year and promised them all I would get any book that anyone needed for any reason.
Access to the world’s knowledge transforms lives.
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The teachers whispered and even snickered. Our library had never been very relevant to them. We weren’t included in their lesson plans, and they rarely sent students to find resources. After a couple weeks, I got my first request: a 17-book bibliography. And that changed everything.Make the library relevant
Through WorldCat, I was able to supply all 17 books with interlibrary loan, to that teacher’s great surprise. And she told everyone. Pretty soon, we were getting all sorts of requests. I was borrowing and supplying books for student research papers, of course, but also to support hobbies, leisure reading, and even the graduate work that some teachers and other community members were doing. Through OCLC, I had access to the collections of major research universities, which we’d never imagined before. This was before the internet, of course.
Once I showed what the library was capable of, attitudes about it were transformed. Teachers invited me to their classrooms to talk about databases and research skills—and I could tell that they were learning along with the students. And since they recognized the library’s value, they started sticking up for the library budget. We went from a materials budget of $4,000 in 1992 to more than $100,000 in a few years. I didn’t have to fight for it—others saw how important the library was, and they fought for me.Impact one life
Although it was great to see the library gain such credibility throughout the region, I’ll always remember the personal effect it had on one student. This young man went to the Assistant Principal’s office to tell him that he was quitting school. The Assistant Principal asked him, “What could we do to keep you in school?”
The young man thought for a bit, and then answered, “I’ll stay in school if I can build a kayak.”
So, the Assistant Principal took him down to see the shop teacher. Although happy to help, the shop teacher didn’t have any plans for building a kayak. So then, they headed to the library.
I opened WorldCat on the computer—it was the old black screen with the green text, and this young man was fascinated by it. We looked together and found some books on building kayaks, which I requested through interlibrary loan. When they arrived, he started building his kayak in shop and finished the rest of his classes. Honestly, I’m not sure he would have a high school diploma today if it wasn’t for those books we got though WorldCat, which transformed his future.
George Bishop won the grand prize in OCLC’s 1997 essay contest, “What the OCLC Online Union Catalog Means to Me.” This video was played during the awards ceremony.
OCLC opened up the world to the people in my little school district. It made me realize that the smaller your library, the more you need OCLC. You simply don’t have the budget or the staff to provide everything people are going to need without using WorldCat as an interlibrary loan resource.
But I also realized that it wasn’t enough to simply provide library services and resources—I had to sell it to the people I wanted to use the library. Once I convinced them that the library could be valuable to them, though, they helped spread the word. We had all sorts of local people relying on our small library because of OCLC.
As OCLC celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, I just can’t imagine how many other lives have been transformed by this access to the world’s knowledge. And how many librarians have improved the lives of library users by providing the right resources at the right time—be they graduate-level text books or plans for building a simple kayak.
The post How OCLC transformed a library … and one student’s life appeared first on OCLC Next.
This year, we are celebrating the cooperative’s 50th anniversary. In 1967, the Ohio library community changed the way they worked together to share their catalogs. It was truly a reinvention of cataloging, resource sharing and library discovery.
Today, as we begin our next 50 years, we are at another turning point that requires a new, even bolder vision. We are building on WorldCat, now the definitive global library collection, to provide library members, groups and regional and national partners even greater capacity to build, manage, and curate the collective collection.The biggest picture
For years, OCLC Research has been at the center of industry-wide work that seeks to understand and plan for the evolution of library collections. We’ve been exploring trends such as the shift from locally owned to jointly managed print library collections. Several recent reports delve deeply into the subject, including Right-scaling Stewardship and Understanding the Collective Collection.
The conclusion? We anticipate that a large part of existing US print collections, distributed across many libraries, will move into coordinated or shared management in the near future. Interest in shared print management reflects a growing awareness that long-term preservation of the published record can be organized as a collective effort.
As print collections move into a shared environment, stacks are giving way to reimagined library spaces. These historic transformations require new methods for thinking about and managing collections.A global approach to print management
To meet these needs, OCLC is bringing together the best tools, technology, and talent to provide a new approach for building and managing libraries’ collective collection. Our strategy encompasses all elements of shared print workflows—cooperative infrastructure, collection analysis, retention commitments, and quick and efficient resource sharing. It will enable regional, statewide, and even national holdings management for monographs.
This new approach starts with the global WorldCat data network, which already provides a comprehensive view of many regional and national collections. It is the only set of library data really able to manage and secure libraries’ record of human knowledge for future generations.
From a technical standpoint, we will build on the capabilities of Sustainable Collection Services to further analyze WorldCat and help libraries make the decisions needed on where and what print to keep for a national collection. Capabilities from our resource sharing services will be leveraged to allow for new resource sharing practices that reflect network-level commitments and resources. OCLC’s recent investments in state-of-the-art analytics capabilities helps guide us as we build new services so libraries can make decisions for cooperative collection development. And this will all happen on the WorldShare platform, which is already used by hundreds of libraries for cataloging and ILL services.
OCLC is providing a new approach for building and managing libraries’ collective collection.
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One such innovation we have recently announced is a shared print registration service that expands our shared print capabilities and enables libraries to preserve unique content by identifying protected monograph titles in shared print initiatives using WorldCat. A streamlined process of registering retention commitments will make the shared collection available and help it grow much more quickly.
This new capability will be included in a full OCLC cataloging subscription at no extra charge.Continually reinventing the collective collection
For five decades, WorldCat supported libraries as they built their print collections … and it’s now becoming a vital tool as we begin to reconfigure these print collections and operationalize a new collective collection across consortia, across regions, and ultimately across countries.
We are excited about this vision and I invite you to view a short video with more details about our plans. Working together, we can significantly accelerate our efforts in collection management and shared print projects.
In the coming months, we will reach out to involve the community in a dialogue to help build this future. Together, we can make sure that the collective collection grows and changes to support libraries and the communities they serve over the next fifty years.
Customer Service Week is being celebrated around the world this week, and the theme is “Building Trust.” And while trust is certainly an emotional concept, it isn’t completely immune to training, practice, review, and reward.
It's Customer Service Week: Are you building, maintaining, or breaking trust?
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How do you measure and improve in a nebulous area like trust? I’d like to go through three opportunities that are typical “trust points” for most service-oriented organizations. In each case, I’ll suggest how this moment can either build, maintain, or break down trust between you and the people you serve.1. Simple questions and concerns
This is the kind of everyday customer service interaction that we all know so well. You don’t know how to use a particular feature of a product. You need to ask about the status of an order. Maybe something went wrong and you want to know why.
We manage hundreds of these calls a day at OCLC. We have metrics about call times and satisfaction. But we also remember that each is a chance to build, maintain, or break trust.2. Times of crisis
By “crisis,” I don’t necessarily mean a hurricane or other life-threatening event, but where your core service or product fails. This isn’t a minor issue or a concern. This is more like your electricity is out, your flight was cancelled, the “waterproof” item isn’t.
How you respond during a negative experience can greatly improve a customer’s view of you. Look at problems as an opportunity to really improve trust.3. Inside your team
A large percentage of service calls and emails are questions and complaints, not compliments, right? And that can take a toll on staff. Customer service is a tough gig, as librarians certainly know. What can be done to increase trust between employers and customer service professionals?
As you go through Customer Service Week, think about trust and what you’re doing to build more and break less.
The post Customer Service Week: three opportunities to build, maintain, or break trust appeared first on OCLC Next.
As part of the 2017 summer internship program at OCLC, one of the first things I learned was that many long-term employees really appreciate its culture. They told me they like working somewhere with a service focus, and where work-life balance is really encouraged. But for new student interns, it’s a whole new environment, and one that we have only a short time to experience. And while we came from many backgrounds and schools, our program’s focus on group learning is one of three things I’d recommend to anyone looking to make an internship program successful.1. Two kinds of teams: functional and relationship
Each of our 25 interns worked in a different part of the company, and so we brought a diverse blend of talents. We also worked with OCLC staff with very different backgrounds, some new to the company and some who’d been here decades. That made our individual experiences very different. Which made group learning for us even more important. As Sungtaek Jun, an intern in the Legal department, said, “It was great that, as interns, we were in a group together, because OCLC built up a team spirit in us that united us together.”
If your library is hosting interns, consider doing something like that: give your interns a chance to go through the process together, or in a group that’s dedicated to professional development, not just a functional area. In our case, we got together several times during the summer for both fun and learning activities. And group lunches in the OCLC cafeteria were a time for us to share stories and get to know one another better.2. Make as many introductions as possible
While at OCLC, we were given a tour of the Columbus Metropolitan Library and saw how OCLC directly impacts their daily work. The guide continuously emphasized that online cataloging is essential to the future of libraries. Graphic Design Intern Katria Judkins expressed that, “Seeing all of the information the library has access to was amazing.” Personally, I was amazed to learn how much library technology has evolved in the past decades. The history of how libraries moved from print-only materials and card catalogs to online systems, digital access, and interactive media was fascinating.
We also had “Lunch and Learns” with OCLC leadership. The meetings were led by Skip Prichard (President and CEO), Tammi Spayde (VP of HR, Marketing and Facilities), and Andrew Pace (Executive Director, Technical Research). These were very open, conversational experiences. Global Website Management Intern Nora Nguyen said that it was her favorite part of her experience and that she was thankful that we were being taught about libraries by leaders within the industry.
That’s my second recommendation: expose interns to as many situations as possible. You never know what might spark their interest.3. Share your passion
Our managers at OCLC gave us meaningful work and shared why they’re passionate about working with libraries, no matter what department we were in. If you’ve got interns in your library, I’d suggest exposing them not just to the work, but to people in different areas and who are in different stages of their careers.
For example, in working with WebJunction, I found out about the collaboration between Wikipedia and libraries. I’ve heard from some teachers in the past that Wikipedia isn’t a reliable source—I think it’s great that OCLC is working with librarians to improve the credibility of Wikipedia entries. That’s personally very interesting to me, and something I wouldn’t have learned if I’d done work only in the marketing department.
Focus on team building and group learning to make an internship program successful.
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A personal work milestone
To the OCLC staff who encouraged us throughout this summer—thank you!!! This was my first internship experience, and my first time in a professional work environment. It has given me more confidence for when I’ll enter the workplace next year (hopefully!).
To librarians hosting interns, I’ll close with one more thought: you may be the first real mentor your interns ever have. If it’s a great experience, they’ll feel the same sense of lasting gratitude toward you, your library, and the profession that many of us in the “Summer Class of 2017” feel toward OCLC and the whole library community. You made us feel welcome and appreciated. That will stick with me for the rest of my career.
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Although I spent the first 20 years of my library career in New York, I had, of course, heard of Columbus, Ohio. The Columbus Metropolitan Library being such an innovative system and winning so many awards. OCLC having its headquarters in Dublin, Ohio (a suburb of Columbus). And, of course, the fantastic libraries at The Ohio State University. If there was ever a list of “great cities to be a librarian in,” Columbus would certainly be at the top.
So, in 2016, I excitedly started my current role as Associate Director for Information Technology at OSU. Now, while I’m not a superstitious person, it really felt like the signs all pointed to the fact that I had made a wonderful career choice—IFLA WLIC 2016 was even held in Columbus that year. What are the odds of that timing?
But then I received the biggest sign of all, from OCLC’s founder and first President, Fred Kilgour. And I wasn’t quite prepared for how “close to home” that sign would be…
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Librarians are the most proactive professionals I have ever witnessed when it comes to identifying an opportunity for positive change and aggressively seeking a solution. That is just one reason out of many why I am proud to be a part of this community. Bibliographic authority, and the opportunities for the language to evolve and better reflect contemporary thinking, is continuously under such scrutiny. To point to a current example, there is an active discussion by a group within the library community about the opportunity to change the category term “Illegal Aliens” in OCLC’s Faceted Access to Subject Terminology (FAST).
OCLC fully supports changing the “Illegal Aliens” terminology in FAST, and wherever else it may appear. The phrase “Illegal Aliens” is pejorative at worst, and confusing and misleading at best. However, we are committed to the work and processes of our colleagues at the Library of Congress (LC) and the Program for Cooperative Cataloging (PCC), as well as to the technical processing that facets Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) into the simpler FAST headings. FAST has no history of sweeping editorial changes in headings based on pervasive cultural change without first seeing those changes in the LCSH headings from which FAST is derived.
FAST is a simplified indexing schema that facilitates assignment and management of subject headings, and is derived from the LCSH. It was developed as a collaboration between OCLC Research and the Library of Congress in 1998, designed to support library workers with a lighter knowledge of extensive cataloging rules. OCLC provides the technical infrastructure to create, manage, and discover FAST headings; LC provides support for the LCSH vocabulary.
FAST has always been downstream of LCSH changes and the governance of headings that occurs through the PCC Subject Authority Cooperative Program (SACO). OCLC is transitioning the internal management of FAST headings from OCLC Research to the Metadata Operations Team in Global Product Management, and will continue to support the service. We have no plans to establish a FAST governance model similar to SACO, nor an independent editorial group similar to that at the Library of Congress. FAST will follow LC’s lead.
We will continue to work closely with members of the OCLC Research Library Partnership’s (RLP) Metadata Managers group, who are interested in how FAST becomes a production service. They have provided invaluable feedback and are also working to understand RLP libraries’ usage of and expectations for a FAST service.Looking forward
The library community discussion around the phrase “Illegal Aliens” isn’t new, and it exemplifies the tenacity and values of the library community. The opportunity to evolve this language was initially raised by Dartmouth College student Melissa Padilla, who in 2013 led an effort to petition the Library of Congress to change the term. The Library of Congress initially rejected the proposal to change the heading in 2014, but reviewed and reversed its decision in March 2016 following the urging and resolution of the American Library Association (ALA) Council earlier in the year. The US Congress attempted to restrict the Library of Congress from this proposed language change in June 2016. That restriction, however, did not appear in the final funding bill passed by the Senate. As of September 2017, the heading remains unchanged. But, the discussion and drive for change continue. *
OCLC agrees with the voices requesting that the LCSH term be changed. And, we also believe that subject-term governance should follow the guidance of the PCC, SACO, and the Library of Congress. OCLC looks forward to working closely with the Library of Congress and supporting their efforts as they make a final determination regarding the ‘Illegal Aliens’ subject term. We have been in contact on this opportunity, and they are appropriately reviewing this matter according their procedures. When the review is finalized, they will let the community and OCLC know their decision on the use of this term. At that time, OCLC will ensure that the FAST heading reflects the decision of the Library of Congress Subject Heading.
In the meantime, we hope—and expect—that the library community will continue to advocate for these types of changes that will better serve and reflect library users around the globe.
* The post was updated on 14 September 2017 at 4:40 pm US EST to more accurately reflect that the US Congress attempted to restrict the Library of Congress from this proposed language change in June 2016. That restriction, however, did not appear in the final funding bill passed by the Senate. Our editorial team regrets the initial error.
In my career, I’ve been through several leadership training programs and have read many articles on career development. Some were great … some not so much. What I’ve noticed, though, is that the successful ones always seemed to feature the following:
With so many training options to choose from, it’s satisfying when you participate in a program that has the right combination of factors and qualities to give you a rewarding experience and an arsenal of skills—the leadership training sweet spot.
Like other learning, leadership development happens in the 70/20/10 framework: 70% experiential—learning by doing; 20% social—learning from others; 10% classroom—formal learning. OCLC’s leadership programs follow this model and include management development, emerging and new leader programs, online learning, stretch assignments, and learning in place.
Exposure to these programs—as well as our CEO, Skip Prichard’s interest in cultivating more servant leaders—helped me identify what I really appreciated about the American Library Association’s Emerging Leaders Program. And how it managed to avoid the pitfalls of so many similar offerings.Make it real
It’s essential to tie leadership development to real projects that improve learning and create change. Adults typically remember just 10% of what they hear in the classroom versus nearly two-thirds when they learn by doing. Virtual engagement is what I do for OCLC as a Community Product Manager in the Online Community Center. My Emerging Leaders assignment—develop a toolkit to help leaders improve engagement for LITA’s growing base of virtual teams—is a natural fit for me. In developing our best practices, we tested tools and tactics that I can apply in my day job, like project management software, virtual meeting tools, and scheduling applications. I now know which tools and tactics I can use to engage with OCLC members in the Community Center (and which I can safely avoid or use elsewhere) and we’re sharing what we’ve learned with our colleagues.
Tie leadership development to real projects that improve learning and create change.
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Make it personal
Th Emerging Leaders Program placed me in a group of professionals with differing values and interests and skills, but we’re all librarians and we’ll all probably be seeing more of each other and working together for years to come. Within this context, our differences are a plus rather than a minus. My Emerging Leaders group, Project Team D—”Tenacious D”—is distinct and talented. One of my teammates has expertise in accessibility standards, another in project management with a PMP certification. Team members represent large and small academic libraries, a government library, and a graduate school library. They come from Canada, New York City, the Southwest, and the Midwest. This diversity provides outlooks and approaches that are very different from mine but also very insightful and refreshing.Make it stick
My team’s work followed up on a project that had been completed by an Emerging Leaders team from 2013. They had done an excellent job and created some great materials, and one of their team members served in an advisory role for our team. We leaned on them for advice and counsel and our work is building on the foundation they laid. Part of becoming a leader is working with those who went before you and giving them a chance to practice what they learned. This kind of continuity produces not only a steadier flow of potential leaders, but ongoing benefits to the community.Planning for your personal and professional future
One of my favorite posts from Skip Prichard is about “the leadership gap.” In it, he reminds us that “understanding yourself is the beginning of influence.” I agree, and I also think that understanding why you want to get into a leadership role is hugely important. In my case, it was because I want to help move my chosen profession forward.
I think that’s why the ALA’s Emerging Leaders was a good fit for me and hit my sweet spot. By using real-world challenges and personal connections, and building on past success, it goes way beyond training. We’re actually given a chance to start acting like the leaders we want to become.
Is a thermostat programmed to change based on time of day and weather conditions “smarter”? How about a chat-bot that answers your customer service questions? What about an email feature that automatically sorts messages based on your past activities?
In many cases when we hear “smart [thing],” it’s a synonym for some kind of software automation based on sensors, data collection, or connected devices. Nearly half of Forbes “17 Top Enterprise Tech Trends for 2017” relate to ideas of “smarter” services, apps, products, infrastructure, and lifestyles. The assumption is that by automating as many aspects of a process as possible, we’ll get better results.
I’m not convinced that’s the case.Is “smart” more than a metaphor?
I understand—as I’m sure you do—that to say that an appliance or car or work process is “smart” is a metaphor. We know it’s simply an object built with some additional level of computer processing and/or connectivity. A “smart thermostat” can’t tell that you’ve put on a blanket because you were cold. It’s just reacting to preprogrammed instructions. It’s no “smarter” than a DVR that you’ve set up to record Game of Thrones.
But the metaphors we use—especially as they relate to the work of libraries—are important. Our users look to us to help them actually become smarter people. That’s a core function of librarianship. So when we say something is “smarter,” we need to be sure we don’t just mean “automated” or “computerized.” If we think we’re being smarter just by adding some technology and automating a task or two, we’re selling our users short.
The question of “what is a smarter library?” is an important and exciting one, and that’s why I’m delighted “The Smarter Library” is the theme we’ve adopted for all three upcoming OCLC Regional Council Meetings.What makes a library “smarter”?
As we prepared to plan for these events, we wanted to really dig down into what we think we need to do to make libraries truly smarter…not just “more automated.” This isn’t about technology for technology’s sake. It’s about focusing on the unique value propositions that libraries provide and working to be even better at those things that motivate us as librarians and set our institutions apart.
What makes a library 'smarter'?
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We narrowed down a wide field of possible themes to the following:
You’ll notice two things right off the bat, I hope.
First, each of the themes has both a “what” and a “why.” It’s important that any changes we make are goal-oriented, or we won’t be doing smarter things, we’ll just be doing different things.
Second, only one of the four topics—“leverage data”—is explicitly about technology. And even then…not really. We’ve had data in libraries for centuries. We used the term “metadata” before it became a popular buzzword. The point is that while technology will certainly be important to the “how” of these efforts, it’s not at the heart of what we do as librarians and in our libraries.Audacity and humility
I really like what Margaret Stewart, Vice President of Design at Facebook, has to say about designing user experiences for groups of people:
[It] requires a bizarre combination of two things, audacity and humility. Audacity to believe that what you’re doing is important, and humility because it’s not about the designer’s portfolio, but about the people they are designing for.
It feels to me as though Stewart is talking directly to those of us who work in libraries as well as those working on user interface design for software.
I want us to be audacious. That’s why I became a librarian—to help people improve their lives. How audacious is that? But it’s also a humble calling when we “confirm our professional values.” Because no matter how good we get at creating great new services (or automating old ones), it doesn’t count as “smarter” if it doesn’t help move the ball forward for the communities we serve.
I’m excited to hear what my colleagues have to share on this subject. It reaches right into the heart of OCLC’s mission as well as that of libraries.
I hope you can join us in Baltimore, Tokyo, or Edinburgh for the beginning of this important conversation.
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.
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.
The post From Wrocław to Munich to Chicago—how Polish materials are reflected in the world’s libraries appeared first on OCLC Next.
In the summer of 2016, I received a phone call from OCLC asking if I’d be interested in becoming one of the first early adopters for a service that would be replacing ILLiad. It would be an enhanced WorldShare ILL system that would include many of the unique features of ILLiad.
Move away from ILLiad? And do so at the “bleeding edge” of a new service? And being not much of a techie, the idea of changing any computer-based system always seems like a challenge. At that very moment, the idea seemed overwhelming and, frankly, hugely unsettling.
After giving it some thought, though, I considered that I actually like new challenges. The Interlibrary Loan office was slowing down a bit as the summer wore on, too. And it occurred to me that if all ILLiad libraries would eventually need to change, I’d rather be part of the first cohort with all the OCLC tech support behind me. I also thought that being involved in an early adopter program like this might be both professionally challenging and fun. So I said, “Yes!”Diving in
On September 1, 2016, the first cohort began their implementation of Tipasa. It has been a journey of fits-and-starts (remember my lack of tech skills), but we emerged with a new platform that features a clean, simple interface that can easily be shared by all interlibrary loan workers in our library.
Many of our workflows have been simplified, too. We used this migration opportunity to finally implement patron Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) authentication, which caused some delays, as both Immaculata and OCLC needed to work out some wrinkles. We could have kept our manual authentication, but with great IT support on our campus, I believed the time had come to upgrade that function.One lap at a time
Through the use of interactive webinars, emails and phone calls, we learned all about the new system. It was surprising to me how the six libraries in our cohort had such divergent workflows. That we all were using ILLiad in such different ways meant that Tipasa had to be just as adaptable. The OCLC team listened as we objected to a missing function here, protested a change there or recommended a brand new idea. OCLC also set up a Community Center page so that we could interact with and support each other. We also used an “Enhancement page” where we could post our desires for future improvements.
Being involved in an early adopter program was both professionally challenging and fun.
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We are finished with our migration and things are running smoothly in Tipasa. The change was seamless for our patrons, even though we launched during a very busy time in the new spring semester.
While there are several functions we need that are not yet available in Tipasa, OCLC has committed to listening to us as we lobby for missing items. Some of those were delivered in the first big upgrade in May, I’m pleased to say.Calming the waters
As a past chairperson of the Interlibrary Loan committee of our library consortium, I brought ILLiad to 11 of our libraries through consortia pricing and a Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grant. For that reason, I felt a responsibility to those libraries to help them through the transition to a new product.
Once we were fully operational, we held a video conference meeting on our campus, which we recorded for future reference. My objective was to calm any fears and encourage others to embrace this change. The event even attracted libraries from beyond our consortium. Clearly, Tipasa is a hot topic!
I gave a brief overview of how Tipasa works by actually using it. I pulled up my account, opened some requests, spent some time in the configuration pages (which are so much easier and customizable than ILLiad!) and fielded lots of questions.
I believe I accomplished my objective. And I also made myself available to those other libraries as they begin their own transitions.Smooth sailing
ILLiad is now a distant memory for my library as we have become comfortably settled with Tipasa. It certainly had challenging moments, but I always felt supported by OCLC. With lots of humor and good communication, we did it! I learned so much from other libraries’ workflows, presented at a web conference for the first time and I now know more than I’d ever thought possible about authentication.
Being part of an OCLC early adopter program was a voyage of discovery for me. Challenging at times, yes, but in a good way. I’d recommend the experience to anyone looking for ways to learn more about how OCLC staff and members work together on new products and services. And, it was gratifying to know that our library could make a broader contribution to the library community; our feedback has resulted in a stronger product for our peers, both today and into the future.
Compelling stories are engaging, thought-provoking and informative. And they often inspire us to take action.
Our latest round of member stories shows the excitement—and the rewards—of moving library services to the cloud. Working together using a shared platform streamlines routine, repetitive workflows and frees up time for high-impact efforts that demonstrate relevance, which is more important than ever as we keep pace with users’ expectations.
If you have a story about your library you’d like to share, please drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Share resources with fewer clicks: University of Saint Francis, Fort Wayne, Indiana, USA
Today’s students expect to get documents and articles for their research projects quickly and easily. At the University of Saint Francis, the staff was eager to move to the cloud where upgrades are seamless and workflows are simplified. Now, staff and student workers fulfill requests with fewer steps from wherever it’s convenient to work. And loans from students that request something owned in their collection automatically go to document delivery, a dramatic improvement in productivity and customer service.
Improve discovery of your entire collection: Hillsdale College, Hillsdale, Michigan, USA
Hillsdale College had a long-term goal of making its electronic holdings as discoverable and accessible as its print collection. Today, reference librarians and students easily find the library’s open-access and licensed e-collections right in the library’s catalog thanks to high-quality records with reliable metadata and subject headings for their electronic packages. These records are loaded and updated automatically, saving the library time and money and drastically improving discovery for reference librarians and library users—they are finding things they never would have found before.
Dedicate more time to sharing research globally: Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Liverpool, UK
Staff at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine decided that they wanted to take a new direction by becoming a Higher Education Institution, which had a direct impact on their library. Library leadership decided to pursue a move to the cloud, allowing staff to focus on realizing the best student experience rather than only improving back-office workflows. That decision helped the library build deeper relationships with students and enhance research support activities for faculty.
Focus your time on your library strengths: College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University, St. Joseph and Collegeville, Minnesota, USA
The College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University Libraries wanted to be more responsive to student and faculty needs, both in the library and in the classroom. Once the staff streamlined their collection management workflows by moving to the cloud, they had more time to spend bringing library services to users. Now their technology and content expertise supports learning and teaching in classrooms all over the campus, and they are collaborating with faculty through personalized research services and consultation.
Deliver library resources from around the world as if it’s easy: Seaside Public Library, Seaside, Oregon, USA
The Seaside Public Library has an impressive 68% interlibrary loan fill rate and an average 20-hour turnaround time. How? Partly it’s an attitude—making the “detective work” of finding the right materials fun. And partly it’s innovative ideas like keeping track of which book in a series a patron has requested and requesting the next one so that it arrives as they finish the previous one.
Support changing roles with reduced workloads: Tulsa Community College, Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA
When Tulsa Community College migrated to a cloud-based library management system, staff members found that they were able to eliminate many routine tasks and perform new roles due to their more efficient workflows. Now, they finish their regular work more quickly and can take on new projects, like building a digital archive for the college and creating custom usage reports of library resources.Tell the community your story
What’s your story? Every library has one. Share it to advance our profession, and watch how it influences and drives other libraries toward new achievements and success.
In the past decade, Wikipedia’s reach has expanded. It’s the fifth most-visited platform globally. And the quality has stabilized. A 2012 Oxford University study comparing Encyclopedia Britannica to Wikipedia found no significant difference in quality or reliability between the articles they compared. However, research suggests that asymmetries in the demographic profile of the existing pool of editors, which are 80–90% white males, has led to biases and underdeveloped content areas.
To improve the encyclopedia and address these gaps, volunteers and Wikimedia Foundation staff have collaborated to host outreach programs and editing events. These have seen successes, but there’s still room for improvement. Only some of these programs have focused on galleries, libraries, archives and museums (GLAM, in Wikimedia terminology), and none of the outreach has been specifically geared to public libraries and their important role as champions of information access and mainstays in serving their local communities.
The time has come for an effective, focused training program that brings Wikipedia to US public libraries.
WebJunction will be filling this gap by spearheading an online training program for up to 500 US public library staff to learn Wikipedia from September to November 2017. The program addresses the need for training tools that are specific to the learning needs of public library staff, which is what WebJunction does best. This training program will bring public libraries into the Wikipedia community so that library staff can dovetail their service goals and skills with the Wikipedia vision of building a comprehensive information reference source that’s freely and widely accessible on the open web.
And with US public library staff learning Wikipedia, information seekers everywhere are bound to be better informed, more digitally literate and able to access more library services and materials.A bridge to Wikipedia for public libraries
In 2016, OCLC launched the Wikipedia + Libraries: Better Together project, funded by a Knight Foundation News Challenge grant and the Wikimedia Foundation. The project’s purpose? To build bridges between public librarians and Wikipedians.
Wikipedia + Libraries is different from other Wikipedia editing tutorials; it’s specific to the service goals and professional development needs of 21st-century US public libraries.
Starting 13 September 2017, WebJunction will host a ten-week online training program covering Wikipedia editing literacies and programming best practices. The course will champion, and build upon, the range of ways that librarians are already engaging Wikipedia—you can read about some of these activities in WebJunction’s Librarians Who Wikipedia interview series.
There will be a preview webinar about the program on 19 July from 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm. US EDT.How WebJunction fits in and how YOU can fit in
WebJunction brings the best of adult learning and online education to public libraries. It makes sense for library staff to learn deliberately and actively, in ways that benefit their community members.
Participants in the online training program will learn how to edit in a supportive cohort of peers familiar with the demands of public library work. Course materials will include sessions and activities that are fresh and relevant to their work as information professionals serving the public.
How can public library participation help improve Wikipedia?
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Please spread the word to public library staff about the Wikipedia + Libraries: Better Together project:
Learning to Wikipedia isn’t only about boldly editing. It’s a way for public librarians—you!—to contribute to a dynamic community in practical ways, among your library contemporaries with WebJunction.
By the end of the Wikipedia + Libraries online training program, public librarians will have learned how to bring best practices in public librarianship to the open web, and have added a few pages to the Wikipedia instructional playbook in doing so.
 Hill and Shaw, “The Wikipedia Gender Gap Revisited”; Ross, “Wikipedia’s Gender Gap”; “2011 Editor’s Survey.”
“2011 Editor’s Survey.” Wikimedia Foundation, 2011. https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Editor_Survey_2011/Women_Editors.
Hill, Benjamin Mako, and Aaron Shaw. “The Wikipedia Gender Gap Revisited: Characterizing Survey Response Bias with Propensity Score Estimation.” Edited by Angel Sánchez. PLoS ONE 8, no. 6 (June 26, 2013): e65782. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0065782.
Ross, Sage. “Wikipedia’s Gender Gap.” Wikimedia Blog, February 1, 2011. http://blog.wikimedia.org/2011/02/01/wikipedias-gender-gap/.
Wagner, Claudia, Eduardo Graells-Garrido, David Garcia, and Filippo Menczer. “Women through the Glass Ceiling: Gender Asymmetries in Wikipedia.” EPJ Data Science 5, no. 1 (December 2016). doi:10.1140/epjds/s13688-016-0066-4.
During this year of OCLC’s 50th anniversary, it has been fun to remember all the ways in which OCLC has come together and grown as a global library cooperative. The OCLC staff have been collecting and sharing many images from the archives over the past few months, giving us all the chance to join in this celebratory journey. The photos are truly fabulous, representing many artifacts that are near and dear to my heart, including the beehive terminal and the catalog cards. BUT, the photos that are the most meaningful, and the most telling of our story as a cooperative, are the many photos of member librarians over the years.
OCLC has more than 16,000 member libraries in more than 120 countries around the world. If you consider the number of library staff working collectively across those member institutions, you can imagine what a powerful network that is. And we all know that librarians can make things happen. When we harness that creativity, commitment and passion, achievements like those that OCLC has had over the years become too many to count.
That’s why, each year, OCLC supports several community awards to recognize librarians who excel in their profession. We had the opportunity to recognize these community leaders at the ALA Annual Conference in Chicago this past June.
I hope you’ll join me in congratulating them and reflecting on all the other colleagues in your professional life who have made a difference in your library and our larger community.
OCLC is pleased to support these community programs that advance and recognize excellence in librarianship. It is my honor to spotlight these five community leaders and their noteworthy accomplishments:Virginia Boucher/OCLC Distinguished ILL Librarian Award
Peter Bae, Circulation Services Director at Princeton University’s Firestone Library, is this year’s recipient. This award recognizes outstanding professional achievement and leadership in interlibrary loan and document delivery. And, as most know, we at OCLC have a special place in our hearts for interlibrary loan and international cooperation and sharing. Peter’s ongoing research, presentations and publications as a member of IFLA’s Document Delivery and Resource Sharing Section and the STARS Section of RUSA have fostered communication and collaboration across the global resource sharing community.Frederick G. Kilgour Award for Research in Library and Information Technology
Named after the founder and first president of OCLC, this award is particularly meaningful to us at OCLC because it represents Mr. Kilgour’s commitment to library innovation through outstanding research and development. Timothy Cole is this year’s recipient. Timothy is head of the Mathematics Library and Professor of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign. His research in digital libraries, metadata and linked data frameworks has significantly enhanced discovery and access of scholarly content. Timothy is also recognized for his significant contributions to the World Wide Web Consortium, the Digital Library Federation and the Open Archives Initiative.John Ames Humphry/OCLC Forest Press Award
Amed Demirhan is the 2017 recipient of this award, which honors exceptional contributions to international librarianship. Amed is General Manager Director at the Barzani National Memorial in Erbil, Iraq, where he is building a library and museum to collect and share resources on Kurdistan and modern Kurdish history. His earlier endeavors include revitalizing the library at the American University of Nigeria into a 21st century facility and establishing the Hawler Library at the University of Kurdistan, Iraq’s first independent English-language university, in 2006. We at OCLC share his passion for international library cooperation.Melvil Dewey Medal
Carla D. Hayden, the United States’ Librarian of Congress, is being honored with the Dewey Medal, which recognizes creative leadership in library management, training, cataloging and classification. Her two decades of exemplary leadership of the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore, Maryland, set an example of the role that librarians play in the community, opening the system’s libraries for refuge during a time of civic strife. She is also recognized for her inspiring leadership while President of the American Library Association in 2003–2004, and very significantly, her historic appointment in September 2016 as the first woman and first African-American to be named Librarian of Congress.Margaret Mann Citation
Hope Olson is being honored for outstanding professional achievement in cataloging. Hope is Professor Emerita at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, where she served as Professor, Associate Dean and Interim Dean before her retirement in 2013. She also taught in the School of Library and Information Studies at the University of Alberta from 1990 to 2003. She is active in professional organizations and editorial boards, and published a book in 2002. The Margaret Mann Citation includes a scholarship donation to a library school chosen by the award recipient; Hope has chosen the University of Alberta.
Congratulations to the 2017 OCLC Award Winners!
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Congratulations to Peter, Timothy, Amed, Carla and Hope, and thank you for all that you have contributed to the community.
I’d also like to say congratulations and thank you to all staff at OCLC member libraries, for supporting the cooperative in meeting this significant 50-year milestone. Happy anniversary OCLC!
Last month, 40 library software developers from the United States, Canada, South Africa and the Netherlands came to Dublin, Ohio, to participate in a two-day conference focused on OCLC’s machine services. Designed to be used by computers, machine services are also called “application program interfaces” or APIs. They enable library developers to write software that can use these services while retaining control over the user interface.
Over the two days of this inaugural DEVCONNECT meeting, developers heard from both OCLC staff and staff from member libraries about our APIs and how to use them to create effective services. Karen Coombs also taught a half-day workshop on tips for developers using APIs.
Jennifer Vinopal, Associate Director for Information Technology for University Libraries at Ohio State University, was the keynote speaker, and you can view her presentation in the video below.Let’s rethink the mental modes that prevent change
In her wide-ranging talk, she began by looking back at the early 1990s when the web was new and how librarians were “freaking out” about the impact that web technology would have on the library profession. She compared and contrasted the feminized library profession, where the work has been denigrated in popular culture by using words like “musty,” “dusty” and “shushing,” with the masculinized IT profession, which is a highly valued profession and activity. She concluded with thoughts about how IT is often considered separate from the rest of the library and organization, and offered some specific strategies for IT staff to help change that dynamic.
Her point was that we need to explore the possibilities of rethinking IT and library initiatives to advance a more holistic, systemic way of understanding, envisioning and accomplishing our work together.
How can we better integrate IT and library initiatives to advance our work together?
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This theme resonates as well with a recently released Ithaka S+R Issue Brief: Finding a Way from the Margins to the Middle: Library Information Technology, Leadership, and Culture, by Dale Askey and Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe, which also asserts that IT has been separated within the institution. They frame their suggested solutions within the three areas of leadership, structure and culture.
An ACRL TechConnect blog post by Lauren Magnuson, “Decentralizing Library IT,” also discusses issues pertinent to this discussion.
If these issues resonate with you, I highly recommend that you review these resources and discuss the themes and potential solutions they raise within your own institution.
The post Treat IT projects as library projects, and vice versa appeared first on OCLC Next.
As we’ve prepared for our 50th anniversary celebrations, I’ve been thinking about the time of our founding in the late 1960s and what it meant for our cultural ideals of technology and progress. OCLC was born in 1967, between the time of John F. Kennedy’s 1961 speech in which he set the goal of landing a man on the moon, and the fulfillment of that dream in 1969.
I think there are exciting parallels between that dream, its completion and the incredible journey that OCLC libraries have undertaken together over the past five decades.One small step for 54 Ohio libraries
OCLC was a similar dream. Fred Kilgour and his colleagues believed that libraries could be connected in new ways, using new technology, because that would lead to improved access to all that they had to offer.
A small group of representatives from Ohio academic libraries understood that the big, clunky mainframe computers of the day were the key to making this dream a reality. They took a small step on 6 July 1967 and OCLC was created. And by 1971, 54 Ohio academic libraries had begun to do something never before attempted: cooperative, computerized, networked cataloging of library resources.
That must have felt like a “small step” back then. We know, now, that it led to so much more. Those initial Ohio librarians could never have imagined that 50 years later, OCLC would include more than 16,000 members in 120 countries, serving libraries of every type, processing over 40 million search requests every day.What is cataloged must be shared
That one idea has saved libraries an enormous amount of time. Each record curated and hosted by OCLC is discoverable globally. And librarians save about 10 minutes every time they copy catalog a record rather than create a new one. By May 2017, WorldCat exceeded 395 million records and 2.5 billion holdings. Conservatively, that works out to more than 350 million hours saved over the past 50 years. But saving time by using big, centralized computers was only the beginning.
Cooperative cataloging is, in many ways, the foundation of everything that came next for OCLC and for libraries working together around the globe. When holdings information was added to records, it enabled sharing of materials as well as metadata. You can trace the development of OCLC systems and services as they moved in parallel to innovations in technology:
At every stage, we can see OCLC and libraries acting together to help make technology work harder for their communities.Applauding libraries’ role in an era of constant change
I think it’s also important to acknowledge and celebrate how challenging and rewarding this time has been for those who work in libraries. For many people, the library is the first place they go to use new technology and get access to information. To meet this need, librarians have had to be out ahead of each new innovation. That’s another way in which cooperation has benefited our members—the chance to share these challenges, do cutting-edge research and create solutions together.
Libraries never stop thinking about taking the next moon shot to improve lives.
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For five decades, OCLC has created technology and systems to facilitate worldwide discovery and sharing. Because of your hard work, the people you serve have experienced breakthroughs in every area of their lives. Together, we’ve had a 50-year track record of success. And while we will continue to adapt and evolve, we have proven we’ve got what it takes to tackle anything the future brings.
Or to quote one of my favorite astronauts, “To infinity—and beyond!”
Whether you’ve been involved with OCLC for more than 30 years or fewer than 30 days, you can rightfully claim a contribution to OCLC’s ongoing success.
Thank you, and happy 50th anniversary!
The post OCLC at 50 years: a “moonshot” for the world’s libraries appeared first on OCLC Next.
We’re being inundated with data. That’s what we’re told, right? We hear all the time how many exabytes of new data are being created every day. There’s just one problem: maybe none of it is the data we actually need.
I recently had the opportunity, along with several of my OCLC colleagues, to attend the Electronic Resources and Libraries (ER&L) Conference. I’ve been going to this great conference for the last two years, and each year it offers a really valuable look into how libraries manage e-resources. This year, several topics across multiple presentations led me to the conclusion that actionable data is actually pretty hard to find and even harder to wrangle successfully.You will never “have it all”
An important element of any successful data analysis strategy is to first realize that you’ll never have all of the data you need. At some point, you have to take what you’ve got, come to some conclusions and move on. But we should also be looking for ways to start by collecting data that is more actionable from the get-go.
As I thought through the ER&L presentations and listened to librarians talk about their “wish lists” for data, I found that three themes seemed to resonate around this idea of “good data” as opposed to “more data.”
If you’re not planning on making changes based on the data you’re collecting and analyzing, just stop. I heard from folks who’d been collecting all kinds of statistics that, at the end of the day, weren’t useful in terms of supporting actual strategy or tactics.
What changes are you willing to make based on how you analyze data?
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The exact opposite of that is the demand-driven acquisition (DDA) and evidence-based acquisition (EBA) models, which we heard quite a lot about at ER&L. In these programs, libraries partner with publishers to make e-resources available for purchase or access after crossing some usage threshold. It’s a great example of using just-in-time data to make specific collection development decisions.2. Be an anthropologist, not a number cruncher
In the absence of readily available (or useful) data, it seems that more libraries are investing in user surveys and usability tests, especially involving students. Librarians from CUNY spoke about watching their student testers locate an electronic article on a specific topic. The staff watched where the students navigated online, what they typed into search boxes and how they sorted results.
Some libraries, like Montana State University, are working to optimize their e-resources for search engines and social media. Their Open SESMO project incorporates linked data terms and social media-friendly images into e-resource records to help online information seekers find their resources. The “data” in this case is based on observations of students in order for the library to “be in the right place at the right time.”
Smart, simple glimpses into the “life of the user” can inform your strategy as much as pages of gate stats.3. All together now
Most librarians I talked to are trying to manage whatever data they can collect in Excel, which has limitations. Library staff who want to engage in data-driven collection development are still sometimes forced to make guesses about what their users want or compare “apples and oranges” when data comes in different formats from different sources.
This is where a conference like ER&L really helps. When we can get together and agree on formats and standards that work well, we can develop better, shared tools for analysis and implementation. For example, when vendors and publishers use COUNTER-compliant statistics, libraries can compare data from across multiple sources much more easily. Some folks I spoke with were a bit frustrated that they weren’t able to get COUNTER reports for streaming video services.
Using data standards also allows us to do wider-ranging, even global analysis and research. It’s handy for any one library to have access to standardized reports. But when thousands of libraries get together?Data is a means, not the end
Collectively—when we are thoughtful about how and why we collect and share data—libraries can make an impact not just on their own institutions, but across the entire information landscape. The trick is to always think of data in terms of what it can do for us, not just what we need to do to get more.
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