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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The needs of one

2016-07-05 DisneyAt ALA in Orlando, we heard a great talk from Amy Rossi from the Disney Institute about Disney’s approach to customer service. I’m glad we’ve had a chance to share some notes from her presentation and some thoughts from a few of the librarians who attended. I’d like, though, to take one final look at some of the insights she shared, this time from the point of view of customer service here at OCLC. As head of our customer operations team, it’s not just a subject that I find fascinating, it’s also my passion and my responsibility.

Star Trek’s Mr. Spock famously tells us that, “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few,” or, as interjected by Captain Kirk, “the one.” That may hold true philosophically, but not when it comes to customer service. While new products or features may be developed to meet the needs of the many, service questions and concerns are almost always about the needs of “the one.” And that’s where we get into the SPOC Paradox.

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The touchpoints of exceptional customer service

2016-07-05 DisneyDuring the OCLC Symposium at ALA Annual this year, we got the opportunity to hear from Disney Institute’s Amy Rossi. Amy talked about how Disney seeks to understand the complete customer experience and “overmanage” the details that contribute to it. You can find a longer summary of the event in my previous post.

During the event, Amy gave us some time to think about and share the touchpoints that visitors to the library (virtual or in person) encounter and what kind of experience they’re likely to have. At my table, we talked mostly about library signage—how do we give people all the information they’ll need without crowding the entrance way with signs? Other people shared concerns about parking lots, the staff members who sit closest to the front door, how users click through the library’s website and many other touchpoints.

We caught a few attendees after the event to capture their immediate thoughts on how Amy’s presentation relates specifically to libraries. Here’s what they had to share.

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What Disney taught us about great service

2016-07-05 Disney

ALA Annual is always a great place to learn and meet people. As the Vice President of Management and Customer Operations at OCLC, I found that one of the highlights of this year’s conference was the OCLC Symposium on how to deliver a great customer experience. Now, if you’re like me, when you think about Disney’s magic you don’t think about parking lots or birds in the Enchanted Tiki Room that look like they’re actually breathing. But it’s exactly those types of details that make the Disney experience so complete, compelling and successful.

Amy Rossi from the Disney Institute—who admitted that she once moved to a new city and got a library card before a new driver’s license—talked to us about how Disney manages its customer experience. She started out by making the great point that Disney and libraries are really in the same industry: the service industry. To Disney, entertainment and hospitality are side effects of great service. Likewise, people come to libraries for a lot of different reasons, but all libraries provide service.

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The Collective Perspective

collective-collections

Collective collection has become part of the librarian argot. Coined by our colleague, Lorcan Dempsey, the term emerged from OCLC Research’s work analyzing library collections at scales above the institutional level—group, consortial, regional, national, and even global.

The best way of understanding collective collections is to start with WorldCat, which is a global registry of library holdings. Taken together, these holdings document the sum total of materials available in library collections worldwide—or at least a close approximation. In this sense, WorldCat represents the collective collection of the global library system as a whole.

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36 tips for making webinars that don’t stink

Sharon Streams

webinar-laptop

 

DINAH: It stinks.

MRS. LORD: Oh, darling, don’t say “stinks”! If necessary, “smells,” but only if absolutely necessary.

Philadelphia Story (1940)*

 

Let’s not mince words, Mrs. Lord: webinars can stink in many ways—disorganized or dull, poor audio, boring slides, ploddingly paced, crowded with content, too commercial, no interaction, presenters running over time, technical glitches. Need I go on?

Even though webinars have been around since the 1990s and it seems that almost every organization does them, there is still significant variation in quality. This inconsistency has not only led to disappointing learning experiences, it has caused consternation among providers of continuing education and professional development that see the potential for webinars as an effective delivery format for learning at scale if used well.

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