Open content: where we are and where we’re going

Rachel Frick

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Last year during Open Access Week, I wrote to you to encourage your participation in our Open Content Survey. The timing was fortuitous, as there was (and is) a great appetite for understanding the evolving open content landscape and what it means for libraries. At OCLC, we were forging ahead with research, product development, MARC proposals, publisher agreements, and more. All with the goal of enhancing the visibility and accessibility of open content for library users. You can learn more about responses to the Open Content Survey in this results summary, and watch a recording of our “Works in Progress” webinar, “The Shift to Open at University and Research Libraries Worldwide.” In this webinar, my colleague Titia van der Werf (Senior Program Officer, OCLC Research) shares more results from the study.

Now it’s Open Access Week 2019, and over the last year we’ve made some excellent progress.

Through the cooperative, we’ve added more than 100 open collections to the WorldCat knowledge base (a 31.5% increase), bringing the total number to 421. We’ve partnered with new open content providers, such as the Open Textbook Network and digital cultural heritage experts like Europeana, to add metadata to WorldCat for tens of millions of open resources, discoverable through our open access filter in WorldCat Discovery and WorldCat.org. And perhaps, most importantly, we’ve engaged in countless conversations with library workers, scholars, students, partners, and other learners who share our vision and enthusiasm.

Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to present an “Open Content Update” at the Americas Regional Council 2019 Conference in Phoenix, Arizona, USA, alongside my OCLC colleagues Chip Nilges and Cathy King. With so much going on across the organization, we wanted to take a moment to provide a quick overview on our progress and strategy as it relates to open content. While we’ve come a long way, we know that we have further to go, and remain committed to supporting all of you along your open content journey.

I invite you to view a video of our ARC19 presentation, below. And I hope you’ll continue to engage with us throughout this week—and the coming year—on issues related to open content.