How OCLC transformed a library … and one student’s life

2017-10-16-How-OCLC-Transformed-A-Library

Throw down the gauntlet

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.

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.

Read More


It’s time to reinvent the collective collection

2017-10-10-It's-Time-to-Reinvent-the-Collective-Collection

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.

Read More


Customer Service Week: three opportunities to build, maintain, or break trust

Trust

Trust is emotional, and is built transactionally

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.

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.

Read More


Three things I learned about successful internships

Janelle Wilcox

interns

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.

Read More


The greatest coincidence in library employment history?

Jennifer Vinopal

kilgour-house

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.

Read More


LCSH, FAST, and the governance of subject terms

Andrew K. Pace

bookshelf

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).

Read More


Hitting the sweet spot in leadership training

Kyle Willis

2017-09-12-SweetSpot2

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:

  • Hands-on activities as well as theory
  • Access to engaged peers on a similar journey
  • Respect for the experience of participants

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.

Read More


The “audacity and humility” of getting smarter

Ginny Steel

blog_hero_rc1718

Can things really be smart?

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 Forbes17 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.

Read More


Recalibrating the WorldCat odometer

2017-08-16-Recalibrating-odometer

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.

Read More


From Wrocław to Munich to Chicago—how Polish materials are reflected in the world’s libraries

Brian Lavoie

wroclaw-poland

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.

Read More