Celebrating the first 500 WMS libraries

Andrew K. Pace

wms-500

A decade of remarkable change

In 2006, four library system vendors dominated the integrated library system market. OCLC partnered with most and was just beginning to consider its own solution. In the intervening decade, we’ve seen a lot of consolidation and rapid innovation.

Fast-forward to 2016. The ILS is now a legacy system, “next-gen” is practically passé, and Marshall Breeding has dubbed a new breed of library management and discovery services the “Library Service Platform.” Today, OCLC’s WorldShare Management Services (WMS) is one of only two offerings in this space—a true multi-tenant, cloud-based suite of services for managing and discovering the purchased and licensed collections of libraries. It took only five years for OCLC to attract 500 libraries to WMS, becoming a leading provider in a space that it didn’t even occupy a decade ago.

That would be a major achievement in any industry, by any company. That it was achieved by a nonprofit library cooperative is credit to the unique power behind that success—our members.

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Multiplying the power of place

Katie Birch

power-of-placeIt’s easy to find digital items online—pictures, videos, maps, etc.—that can connect you to another place, person or library. What may not be as immediately apparent is that physical objects can also connect users to libraries in many different places. As someone who works with our interlibrary loan data, I see fantastic examples of distant libraries establishing relationships that leverage physical collections. In doing so, they improve how local users experience their local library.

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The scholarly record…now on Twitter

Brian Lavoie

scholarly-recordLiterary criticism is not new. Conducting it via Twitter is.

In early 2016, distinguished Shakespearean scholar Brian Vickers published The One King Lear, a volume intended to address, and put to rest, a point of scholarly debate suggesting the play may have been revised after its initial publication. Another scholar, Holger Syme, found Vickers’ book wanting and shared his criticism in a series of 500+ tweets. Vickers, in turn, found Syme’s critique wanting, retorting: “He trivializes literary criticism, reducing it to attention-catching sound bites. Is this the way to go?”

In a print-based world, Syme’s criticism would have appeared as a formal article in a traditional journal.  Not so in the digital, networked world. Yet no academic library is likely to collect these tweets and curate them.

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From branches to roots

genealogy-computerFor a very, very long time, the success of genealogy enthusiasts depended on one key attribute: the ability to travel. If you wanted to get your hands on passenger manifests, family histories, local church records, death certificates, marriage licenses and all other manner of ancestral data, you had to travel to the source—to city halls, churches, local newspaper archives and libraries.

Obviously, that’s not the case today. As a novice genealogist, I was able to trace my family history back to France in the late 15th century, but I certainly didn’t do it via planes, trains and automobiles. Like so many others, I did most of my research online. That’s a fundamental change in how both amateurs and professional historians approach the subject.

What has stayed the same, however, is the importance of libraries in genealogical research. Because libraries, more than many other institutions, have been the ones to put all that great, local, historical content online.

All your users need is a library card, an internet connection and a few lessons. Let me share some of what I’ve found out with you, and with them.

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Celebrating 45 years of WorldCat

Scott Seaman

WC-45-blog-color-green[1]Ohio University’s Alden Library was the first library to use WorldCat to catalog a book online. It was August 26, 1971, the day the OCLC Online Union Catalog and Shared Cataloging System began operation. Catalogers at Ohio University cataloged 133 books online from a single terminal that day.

Our contribution and participation in the creation of WorldCat with the submission of the first record is an incredible legacy and an incredible part of our history. And what WorldCat has become in the 45 years since is just as extraordinary. It speaks to the dedication and the hard work of librarians everywhere.

I know firsthand that sense of dedication.

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Breaking the curse of knowledge

Kathleen Gesinger

knowledge-curseThere are many experts out there—on technology, customer service, management, information science and more. These experts may be deeply immersed in their efforts to explore a subject and push the boundaries of what may be possible. But bringing an expert’s deep knowledge into the context of working professionals can be a challenge.

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Inspiring breakthroughs in global librarianship – hopes, dreams, insights

OCLC IFLA Fellows

One of the most rewarding aspects of my job at OCLC is managing the IFLA/OCLC Early Career Development Fellowship Program each year. This program promotes librarianship globally and champions rising leaders from countries with developing economies.

Since 2001, we’ve welcomed 80 library and information science professionals from 38 countries, many of whom, after completing the program, go on to serve in leadership roles and have a significant impact on those they serve in their home countries.

ifla_videoAs we prepare to name the 17th class of Fellows at the 2016 IFLA World Library and Information Congress, I am remembering so many of the Fellows who participated in the program. We recently re-connected with Rashidah Bolhassan from Malaysia from the very first class for a Skype interview. She is now the CEO of the Sarawak State Library in Malaysia. In the interview, she talks about the challenges of managing the library and how the training she received 15 years ago in the Fellowship program, particularly on the power of collaboration, has served her well in her current role.

Of course the memories that

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3 million knocks on library doors every day

Mary Sauer-Games

API_blogHow do we help information seekers find library resources online? OCLC began asking that question more than 10 years ago. The 2005 Perceptions Report showed that almost nobody began information searches at library websites. Aware of the changes in information seeking behavior, we’d begun the OCLC “Open WorldCat” program in 2003 in order to get library metadata into popular online services. Open WorldCat provided direct access to the data in WorldCat to a variety of search and discovery providers who then linked users back to resources in member libraries.

At the end of the pilot that launched Open WorldCat, we were getting around 4,000 hits per day, which we considered successful enough to warrant moving forward. We have continued to add services that drive users to OCLC services and member libraries. One of our fastest-growing services is our suite of APIs.

Today, we’re seeing more than 3 million hits per day to OCLC APIs.

What makes that possible? One reason is that the diversity of APIs we offer allows a range of partners to tap into the cooperative’s resources for a variety of purposes. A quick look at one of the

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Let’s open library doors to Wikipedia

wiki-librariesWhat if Wikipedia, the sixth most popular website on the planet, and libraries joined forces? The result could be transformative. Deeper, more authoritative content embedded in this internet encyclopedia. Librarians actively helping their communities raise their profiles. And libraries connecting their unique resources with a larger web audience.

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