Linked data in libraries: From disillusionment to productivity

Andrew K. Pace

data header graphic

I’ve been talking about linked data a lot lately. Before you say, “Oh, that’s so five minutes ago,” let’s frame linked data technologies and principles as a technology trend in libraries that continues to get (and deserves) extra attention. I’m naturally skeptical when libraries try to apply new technologies to long-solved problems, but I am now thoroughly convinced that the library needs linked data platforms. It’s one of our last chances to embark on innovations that we’ve known for a long time are not possible with the increasingly arcane and anachronistic MARC record.

It’s not always easy to see “what’s in it for me?” in linked data, so let me attempt a view from the many rocks we stand on.

Read More


From deplorable to delightful: How to establish a Wikipedia initiative on campus

Samantha Dodd

wikipedia_header

“I think what you are doing is absolutely deplorable.”

This was the reaction I received during a departmental meeting in which I was trying to pitch the libraries’ new initiative to incorporate Wikipedia editing into the classroom. For the most part, I was met with resistance and the same arguments that academics have been using since the inception of Wikipedia: it’s inaccurate, it lacks proper sources, and it encourages plagiarism, vandalism.

So, I changed my approach. Instead of me trying to convince them of why their students should be taught how to edit Wikipedia, I decided to let their colleagues do it for me.

Read More


An “open” discussion

open

What does “open” mean? There’s a general acknowledgment among librarians, publishers, and various funding bodies that the term “open” describes a complex continuum, rather than defining a specific set of criteria when used to describe items in our collections.

What has become entirely unambiguous, though, is that libraries are now expected—by researchers, funders, faculty colleagues, and especially end-users—to provide services that support open materials and workflows as fully as any other kind of content.

OCLC Global Council delegates work on behalf of the OCLC membership to reflect the needs of member institutions. At their meeting this past March, delegates expressed their strong interest in additional focus around this issue. With their advice, we established a cross-organizational work team to benchmark current OCLC activities and investigate new ways to support the library community throughout the Open Access (OA) life cycle.

Read More


Three “people factor” steps for successful change management

Tyler Ferguson

change management

Transformation of any kind starts and ends with people. If you’re implementing a broad change and everyone in your organization isn’t engaged in some way, it will never work to its fullest potential. Period.

I’ve helped hundreds of libraries transform their organizations through technology implementations for ten years, and the people factor is consistently the key to success. But it’s also the hardest, and the most overlooked. What inspires one person may not motivate someone else. But neglecting to apply this lens across how you plan, communicate, and execute leaves so many positive aspects of change on the table.

Read More


Meet your guide for an Amazon journey: a librarian

librarian_guide

This last July, Forbes published an essay that suggested Amazon stores could replace libraries. The piece was pulled down within a couple days, after nearly 8,000 comments on Twitter and a great many response pieces suggesting that this wasn’t even a bad argument, buttwaddle.” These responses emphasized the role that libraries play in providing services (beyond just books) to people who otherwise might not have access to them.

Some recent library user research we conducted in partnership with the Worthington Libraries in Ohio suggests that these criticisms of the Forbes piece don’t go far enough. Not only isn’t Amazon a replacement for libraries, but our statistical models indicate that library use supports commercial book sales as well as other social and retail activities.

In short: if you want to look for more customers for your online book business, look in libraries.

Read More


Brain food in just an hour

Rachel Frick

dss-speaker2

My work with the OCLC Research Library Partnership is rewarding in so many ways. One of them is the continual opportunity to meet fascinating people who do really important work. It creates new learning opportunities for me, and it’s fun to see where some of our pathways intersect.

Like most library professionals, I like to share. Fortunately, I can connect the experts I meet to the OCLC community through our Distinguished Seminar Series. Since 1978, OCLC has hosted dozens of guest speakers who have shared their knowledge and experience on a vast range of topics, initiatives, and movements.

If you can spare an hour once or twice a year, I’d like to invite you to meet with us here in the auditorium at OCLC’s headquarters. You can come in person or join us online for a livestream of an event. I promise that our guests will inform, inspire, and probably even entertain you.

Read More


Think like a “game changer”

Hubert Krekels

change-the-game

I often remember Skip Prichard quoting Jack Welch at our Edinburgh, Scotland, EMEA Regional Council meeting: “If the rate of change on the outside exceeds the rate of change on the inside, the end is near.” As a true librarian and forward thinker, I fully recognize we are in the middle of this, but I prefer to complete the quote this way: “If the rate of change on the outside exceeds the rate of change in your library … change the game!”

In the late 1940s, The Lego Group began producing the building bricks, which we all know so well. For decades, they made popular kits that were described by many, all around the world, as one of the best toys in history. However, as children’s play preferences changed, Lego’s economic fortunes declined.

How do you improve a product that has been a global icon for generations? Many small, incremental improvements may help. But at some point, you may need to make a major adjustment and start thinking like a game changer.

Read More


Invite your community to shape smart spaces

Betha Gutsche

smart_spaces

When 15 small and rural libraries joined the Small Libraries Create Smart Spaces project, they signed on for a journey toward transforming their physical spaces and library services. Their exploration was guided by principles of placemaking, design thinking, and active learning. Along the way, they connected with their communities in refreshing new ways that catalyzed relationships and opened up possibilities.

Transformation is a big, ambitious word, charged with expectation of profound change. It might seem like an oversized challenge for libraries that are defined by small: small town, small building, small budget. But these 15 intrepid libraries, serving populations of 560 to 16,000 people, discovered the key to unlocking true transformation: meaningful connection with the community.

Rather than a more familiar positioning of “the library as the heart of the community,” each sought to put their community at the heart of the library.

Read More



A fresh look at public library marketing

Jenny Johnson

Library-Marketing-Report-Banner

I’ve always been impressed by the incredible creativity and inventiveness public library staff show as they evolve to meet the needs of their local communities. Having spent my career in marketing, more than half working with libraries, I understand the challenges they face in raising awareness of those changes among library users and funders.

A new OCLC report provides a current overview of US public libraries’ approach to marketing and communications. Some of the results are not surprising—like the fact that libraries do a lot of marketing with little money and staff. And as is often the case, some findings simply raised more questions, which led us to talk to some of the public library marketers we know to gain additional perspective.

Read More