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

Brian Lavoie

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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.

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Come on in, the water’s fine

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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!”

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Join your colleagues in the cloud

OCLC

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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 next@oclc.org.

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Wikipedia the WebJunction way

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In the past decade, Wikipedia’s reach has expanded. It’s the fifth most-visited platform globally.[1] 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.[2]

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.

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Recognizing leaders in our library community

Sandy Yee

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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.

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Treat IT projects as library projects, and vice versa

Roy Tennant

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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.

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OCLC at 50 years: a “moonshot” for the world’s libraries

Skip Prichard

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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.

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The problem with data

Don Hamparian

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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.

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Gulliver’s Travels – the most popular Irish work by the most popular Irish author in world literature

Brian Lavoie

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Three hundred and fifty years after his birth, the work of Irish satirist Jonathan Swift continues to enjoy great popularity among contemporary readers. Library data tells us that Swift is the most popular Irish author, and the work for which he is best known, Gulliver’s Travels, is the most popular work by an Irish author, in world literature.

Gulliver’s Travels belongs not just to Irish literature, but to world literature and its relevance only increases over time,” said Dr. Aileen Douglas, Head of the School of English at Trinity College Dublin, in the Irish Times last week. Dublin is marking the 350th anniversary of Swift’s birth with its Swift350 celebration throughout 2017.

Swift, who was born in Dublin in 1667, published Gulliver’s Travels in 1726. The work is now held by more than 40,000 libraries worldwide. Overall, Swift’s works account for nearly 240,000 library holdings worldwide.

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Sharing resource sharing

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Sharing our resource sharing breakthroughs

I’ve been working in interlibrary loan a long time and the collaboration I see within this group of librarians is amazing. Back in March, we held the first OCLC Resource Sharing Conference with the theme of Sharing Breakthroughs. I see this community sharing all the time, whether at an event, via a listserv or just a simple phone call.

A member-driven program committee helped shape the agenda and librarians provided much of the program content. Thank you to all who presented and participated. It was a great example of how well the resource sharing community works together to share and celebrate our breakthroughs.

We’ve posted all presentation recordings, including a wonderful keynote about storytelling from Todd Babiak, on the conference site. I invite you to view them, share them and think about attending or presenting next year. We’re so happy to announce that the conference will take place March 13–15, 2018, at the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront in Jacksonville, Florida, USA.

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