Posts in: August, 2016

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 Because libraries, more than many other institutions, have been the ones to put all that great, local, historical content online.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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