The greatest coincidence in library employment history?

Jennifer Vinopal

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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.

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LCSH, FAST, and the governance of subject terms

Andrew K. Pace

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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).

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Hitting the sweet spot in leadership training

Kyle Willis

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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.

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The “audacity and humility” of getting smarter

Ginny Steel

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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.

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Recalibrating the WorldCat odometer

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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.

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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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