Mind the gap: Bridging the divide between discovery and delivery

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I wrote in OCLC Next last year about “container collapse” and how many people are having a hard time evaluating the value of online research results. Students think that being able to identify high-quality materials is important. They also believe they are good at it—though our findings suggest they actually aren’t.

Some more recent research, though, indicates that librarians can make a difference. Somewhere between discovery and delivery, there is a gap that needs to be filled. As librarians, we can provide the training and assistance necessary to connect people to high-quality information.

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Are you managing the emotional side of change?

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When you’re leading any kind of change, maneuvering to get an ideal outcome can be tricky. I’m often asked by leaders in the throes of change management efforts, “What’s the one thing that can’t be missed?” The one element that could deter all the work to build awareness, acceptance, and action. My response is pretty much always the same: Never underestimate the emotional side of change.

Did I just get all warm and fuzzy on you? Yes, I did. And it’s important, especially because this aspect of change is often overlooked. The reality is that all change begins and ends with human beings—and humans are driven by emotions.

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Continuing the legacy of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Global Libraries program

Sharon Streams

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By Lorcan Dempsey, Vice President, Membership and Research, Chief Strategist, OCLC; and,
Sharon Streams, Director, WebJunction

The first initiative launched by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Global Libraries program was one to improve computer technology and internet connectivity in US public libraries. And it was a total game changer for thousands of small, rural communities across the United States.

That initiative then spurred the idea for an “online portal” that would connect isolated library staff to ongoing support and resources. From there, a 2002 foundation grant to OCLC led to the launch of WebJunction on May 12, 2003, at a celebration at the Library of Congress.

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Too much metadata?

Stephen Hearn

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As a metadata manager, much of my career has been focused on catalog management and authority control. Or, to put it another way, on the connections and commonalities that records share. I’ve observed the slow emergence of standards for describing authority control entities—topics, places, persons, bodies, works, etc.—as entities in their own right, with their own descriptions and their own connections to other entities.

Part of what makes my job interesting—and challenging—is that it’s not something I can do in a vacuum, on my own. Metadata without good standards is almost useless. And standards require cooperation.

That’s what I love about the Metadata Managers Focus Group of OCLC’s Research Library Partnership. I get a chance to meet with others excited by metadata challenges and really dive deep into the issues that are at the forefront of our daily working lives.

For example, while one problem that we often face is a lack of good metadata, sometimes—just like with holiday eggnog or Halloween candy—we can get too much of a good thing. So how much is “too much” when it comes to metadata?

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Discover Seattle during your ALA Midwinter visit

Jennifer Peterson

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In just a couple weeks, thousands of librarians from across the US, Canada, and other locations will descend on Seattle for ALA Midwinter. It’s great to have a chance to meet with OCLC members and hear about what they’re doing within their communities. And doing so on WebJunction’s home turf is particularly exciting.

My colleagues and I want to help make sure that you enjoy your visit to our part of the Pacific Northwest, so we’d like to offer some recommendations for your upcoming visit.

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Supercharge your storytimes to make a real impact on early childhood literacy

Saroj Ghoting

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To an outsider, a library storytime can seem deceptively simple—grab a favorite book and ham it up. Use a puppet, silly voices, and everyone will have fun.

Storytimes are entertaining! But libraries are in a unique position to connect with families and their children from birth. Skillful, thoughtful storytime practitioners are key to the role libraries can play as anchor institutions within a broader community learning infrastructure.

When storytime providers are intentional in supporting early literacy, interact with participants, and take time to assess their programs, then early literacy behaviors increase.

It’s what we call supercharging your storytimes.

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Top posts for 2018: Wikipedia, Linked Data, Container Collapse, and … the Blues?

OCLC

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The Blues? Yes, the Blues. Along with the library/Wikipedia connection, the promise of linked data, and the collapse of information containers, our “Three Cures for the Humdrum ILL Blues” post was one of the topics that got the most traffic in 2018.

Overall, the OCLC Next blog continued to grow in 2018. About 55,000 readers stopped by nearly 70,000 times this year to check out our posts. From those, we’ve chosen five of the most popular to share with you again.

From all of our authors and editors, thank you for reading and sharing our work and making the blog successful! We hope you’ll continue reading. Have a happy holiday season and joyful new year!

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Preserving Research Data: Are you ready for a long-term commitment?

Brian Lavoie

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The scholarly record is evolving to incorporate a broader range of research outputs, moving beyond traditional publications like journal articles and monographs. Research data is a salient and well-documented example of this shift, and many universities are now investing considerable resources in developing RDM services for their campuses, as we document in our recent Realities of Research Data Management report series.

These services sit alongside much of the research life cycle, from support in developing data management plans prior to commencing research (think of DMPOnline or DMPTool), to computing and storage resources for storing, working with, and sharing data during the research process (often called active data management; for example, the DataStore service at the University of Edinburgh), to data repository services for storage, discovery, and access to final data sets (like the University of Illinois Data Bank).

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ARC 2018: Changing the game for libraries with vision, courage, and persistence

Helene Blowers

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In October, I had the privilege of joining around 220 members and colleagues at the OCLC Americas Regional Council Conference in Chicago, Illinois, USA. Our theme, “Change the Game,” was developed with input from the OCLC Global Council, who were integral to driving the agenda as well as participating in the event.

Despite all the unique institutions and situations among attendees, we found that many of our challenges—and many of our responses—had a lot of overlap. When “changing the game” is difficult, the support and confirmation of your peers can make all the difference.

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Linked data in libraries: From disillusionment to productivity

Andrew K. Pace

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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.

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