OCLC Global Council: going after the big questions

Helene Blowers

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I’ve gotten to the point where I feel as if almost any question should have an easily findable answer. Maybe the question will require some research time and effort … or (of course) the help of one or more librarians to uncover. But the answer has to be “out there” somewhere.

Sometimes, though, it just isn’t. And sometimes it’s about something important, like libraries’ efforts around open content resources. What do you do when the information you need simply doesn’t exist? If you’re OCLC’s Global Council, you find a way to get answers to the big questions, especially those that impact libraries globally.

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OCLC and the PCC: changing standards to support changing times

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Over the course of my library career, I’ve seen librarianship and cataloging practices evolve significantly in both small and large ways. When you’re talking about shared cataloging standards, even a tiny change can impact thousands of institutions and millions of records.

That’s one reason why it’s so important to have organizations like the Program for Cooperative Cataloging (PCC).  Lori Robare, Monographic Team Leader at University of Oregon, and PCC Past Chair stated, “The PCC has a strong tradition of cooperative work, standards, metadata expertise, and training. This is an exciting time for the PCC as we consider how to build upon those strengths in the transition to a linked data environment.”

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2019 award recipients inspire with ideas and achievements

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OCLC connects 18,000 member institutions around the world. That unique network is powered by both cooperation, and the individual talent and commitment of people whose contributions make an important difference in the communities they serve.

Each year, OCLC honors six librarians who bring innovation and creativity to their work in the global library community. All of them were recognized at the ALA Annual Conference in Washington, DC, recently. We had the pleasure of hosting three of the 2019 award recipients at an OCLC reception at ALA.

Please join me in congratulating and thanking these six accomplished colleagues for all they have contributed to our community.

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The owned and the loaned—comparing top novels by holdings vs. ILL

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Recently, OCLC rolled out The Library 100, a list of the top print novels held by the world’s libraries. OCLC Research generated this list using data from WorldCat.

For most people, a list of 100 is fine. But for those of us who are bibliophiles and want to dig deeper, a list of the top 500 novels held in libraries also is available at the website. The list of 500 is marvelously rich and lets you explore even more titles, authors, and genres.

As I read over the longer list, I wondered how it would match up against a list of the most-requested novels on the OCLC system, WorldShare ILL. Would there be any overlap? Would the two lists be mutually exclusive? What about authors? Who would be on both lists? Any other similarities and differences?

Using ILL data from the last five years, I pulled a list of the top 100 novels requested on WorldShare ILL and compared it to The Library 500. Six titles and 11 authors were on both lists.

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Exploring Canadian connections to the published record

Brian Lavoie

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At OCLC, we emphasize the importance of connection. Connecting a reader to a book. Connecting a librarian to other librarians. Connecting all libraries, period. In our latest OCLC Research report, we illustrate another kind of connection: connecting creative works to nations.

Maple Leaves: Discovering Canada through the Published Record explores the presence of Canadiana in the collections of libraries around the world. This presence is significant—10.9 million distinct publications all told, rolling up to 6.9 million distinct works, and including materials published in Canada, by Canadians, and/or about Canada.

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14 fun, specific, and surprising libraries to visit in DC during ALA Annual

Violet Fox

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Since 2000, Washington, DC, has been one of the most selected cities for ALA Annual and Midwinter, having been the conference site three times. Chicago has hosted the most, of course, with six. New Orleans has had four in the past 20 years. Boston, Philadelphia, and Seattle have had three each. But considering that DC has more than 20 million visitors every year—and that many of us visited as students—I’m betting you’ve been to the nation’s capital before.

If you haven’t, there are some major attractions that I’m sure you’re interested in, and all kinds of tourist guides and lists to get you started. But if you’ve been before—or are looking for some library-specific ideas a bit off the beaten path—we’ve put together an “insiders’ guide” to some unique, lesser-known libraries in the capital area for you to visit during ALA Annual 2019, June 20–25.

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Planning to be community catalysts

Debbie Schachter

nextbanner_libraryfuturesLike many institutions, my university kicked off a 2030 “visioning process” last year and I was asked to present on how the library fits in. Activities like that are often interesting, sometimes fun, and always a bit daunting. Knowing that any one person’s vision for the future is going to be limited, my first thought was, “I need to start talking to some colleagues.”

The timing for that need was remarkable, because the 2018 OCLC Americas Regional Council (ARC) conference was just around the corner. I was able to attend sessions in Chicago with a “visioning mindset” and use the conference to discuss ideas with great colleagues, and even chat with OCLC researchers about related work.

That’s one of the great benefits of our OCLC community—the opportunity to connect with fellow leaders and share the knowledge and insights that help us better prepare for our libraries’ best future.

And that’s exactly the theme for this year’s Library Futures regional council meetings.

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The Dewey Decimal Classification needs you!

Violet Fox

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The editors of the Dewey Decimal Classification system have always collaborated with librarians to ensure the classification is up to date. Today, we’re excited to share changes that are making the editorial work on Dewey more transparent, inclusive, and responsive to community needs—and we need your help!

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Community engagement: Redefining the library as town square

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Libraries are evolving, leaning outside of our walls, connecting with our communities in new and powerful ways. Defining our “why” requires understanding how to shift our focus from books to people. Our purpose is to support people and their quality of life. While there may be many definitions, community engagement isn’t just about awareness, marketing, and sending staff out into the community. Community is at the center of everything. At Anythink, the public library system for Adams County, Colorado, it is at the heart of everything we do.

Like many libraries, our recent strategic planning research included a purposeful listening tour. We found that our community sees the library as its center, its connector. They asked for the library to become even more focused on creating community. As a result, we have adopted the concept of library as town square.

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Resources to encourage reading with The Library 100 list

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Last month, OCLC published a great list based on our own original research: The Library 100—Top Novels of All Time. It’s a list of the novels that more libraries have on their shelves than any others.

The research was based on holdings information in WorldCat, which lets you search the collections of thousands of libraries around the world. The hard part of the research wasn’t counting the libraries that had a copy … it was “clustering” lots of variations, editions, and translations of books. That way, a 1964 French translation of Pride and Prejudice counts the same as an English version from 2006. The important part isn’t the specific edition or version—it’s the fact that this is a novel that thousands of libraries have decided to keep in their collections.

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