Together, we move forward

EMEA Regional Council Meeting

It was great to see everyone in Berlin last month at the EMEA Regional Council meeting. More than 250 guests from 28 countries attended this eighth annual membership meeting, which was held at the European School of Management and Technology (ESMT Berlin). The theme was Libraries at the Crossroads: Resolving Identities, and we explored the trends that are shaping the future of libraries through a rich program of 65 presentations led by 67 thought leaders.

Thank you to all who planned and attended this powerful event. It was a great chance to share knowledge around this important theme while getting to know each other better. A special congratulations goes to the Lightning Talk winner Katrin Kropf from the Public Library of Chemnitz, Germany.

We look forward to seeing you next year on 20–21 February in Edinburgh, Scotland.

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Three ways to engage your faculty using digital collections

2017-02-28 3 Ways To Engage Faculty

Our members’ libraries each have unique, valuable resources. For the past 15 years, I’ve had the pleasure of discovering many of these rich collections firsthand as part of my work in digital collection management.

One of my favorite collections is the Denison University Herbarium, which contains images of more than 600 plant specimens. A poignant note in the collection description states that the original Herbarium collection was destroyed by fire in 1905 but was restored with donations from professors and naturalists soon after. The digital collection is curated by Andrew C. McCall, Assistant Professor of Biology, and preserves access to these plants for future study and makes them accessible beyond the four walls of the library. It is a great example of engaging faculty using digital collections, preserving physical collections with digitization and bringing hidden collections into view.

My passion is to grow the number and usage of unique digital collections like the Herbarium. Each collection has a “back story” and usually an engaged curator. As each new, unique collection comes online, a piece of our shared knowledge becomes visible to a new generation of learners and scholars.

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Visitors and residents: different roads, different maps

2017-02-21 Visitors and Residents Roads and maps1

“The map is not the territory.”

That phrase is probably the best-known quote of Alfred Korzybski, the famous Polish-American semantic scholar. He was making the seemingly obvious point that the words we use to describe something are not the thing itself. Nor does a description change the thing itself. Why does this matter? Well, the more layers of abstraction we put between ourselves and actual things, the harder it becomes to relate them back to the “nonverbal domain” as he called it. We can fall down a rabbit hole of concepts and constructs that, while interesting, may not be, well…useful.

That’s why, as we’ve spread the word about our “Digital Visitors and Residents” work, I’ve been gratified to see librarians and institutions look at our tools not as clever metaphors or abstractions. Instead, they are using them in a variety of ways to make real, valuable changes in how they interact with their library users and potential users at the point-of-need.

In short, as long as you look up from the map often to take in your surroundings, it can function as a useful guide rather than

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Looking at interlibrary loan, 2016 edition

Christa Starck

Christa ILL titles

Everyone likes reading about lists and trends. I guess it’s part of our natural curiosity to wonder who’s in the top ten and to analyze what direction our culture or profession appears to be headed.

In the case of interlibrary loan (ILL), it’s also a lot of fun! To bibliophiles like me, it’s interesting to look at who’s reading what and which books are the most popular based on our ILL transactions.

The ILL community enjoys the data as well. Last year, the most popular post in the Next blog—based on page views and unique visitors—was the one on ILL trends to watch. And in December, a person on Twitter posted about how eager she was to see what new trends might be revealed in this year’s look at ILL statistics.

Well, here are the latest themes in the interlibrary loan world based on our data. Comparing it with last year, it’s more of the same with one new finding.

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How flexible is your future collection?

Katie Birch

FlexibleFutureCollection-A

You can’t predict the future. But together we can prepare for it.

What attribute of your library is most valuable to your community? For a long time, the answer to that question might have been “our collection.” For generations, libraries have spent much of their budgets on acquiring and managing local materials, but that is shifting. These days, what the library owns isn’t as important as how it supports its users and community. Access to materials must keep up with needs that are changing faster than any one institution can manage.

It is nearly impossible for any one library to hit the moving target of comprehensive access to relevant content. Working together, however, libraries can take advantage of a characteristic that may be the most important for collection access going forward: flexibility.

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Why aren’t you asking “Why?”

Drew Bordas

why 2

At home, I get asked “Why?” all the time. I have three young children and their capacity for questioning is nearly endless. Some recent examples: “Why can’t we have a small pig as a pet?”; “Why do we say better instead of gooder?”; and the classic, “Why do I have to take a nap?” As parents, we do our best to answer these questions because we want to encourage curiosity and an understanding of how the world works.

It struck me recently, though, that as adults at work, we sometimes lose this natural curiosity…or it is discouraged to the point where we just quit asking.

And that’s a bad thing.

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Share your library space pictures!

Andy Havens

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Since last October, libraries have been sharing pictures of their spaces with us for us to pass along on Twitter and Facebook. We’ve gotten some great pictures—many thanks to everyone who has been contributing. We’ve seen folks in the community sharing and liking these so we wanted to put them in one place for you to see.

If you’d like to add your picture to our collection and maybe see it featured in the future, send a photo (minimum size 1920 x 1080; JPG, please) to photos@oclc.org. Please also include a brief caption with the name of the library, city and country. By submitting photos this way, you confirm that you own the image rights and agree to OCLC’s use of them in digital and print marketing and communications.

So many great library spaces, so many great pictures. Thanks again, and we look forward to seeing yours!

 

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Koo Chen-Fu Memorial Library at NTU College of Social Sciences in Taipei, Taiwan

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The long tail of library discovery

Chip Nilges

long-tail

One of our first OCLC symposium speakers was Chris Anderson, the technology writer and former editor of Wired. He spoke for us at ALA Annual back in 2005 on the subject of his famous Wired article and soon-to-be published best-seller, The Long Tail. Like many others in our profession, I found the subject to be both interesting and appropriate to libraries, as did others whom we quoted in a NextSpace article at the time.

Libraries have been collecting, preserving and promoting “long tail materials” for centuries, of course. That’s the long tail of content. But we’ve also found that, when it comes to WorldCat, there’s a long tail for discovery.

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Global Council at a crossroads

Peter Sidorko

Global Council Select1I recently attended the OCLC Asia Pacific Regional Council Meeting in Hong Kong where the theme was “Libraries at the Crossroads.” It was a great topic, one that is relevant to us all. As librarians, we continuously face crossroads—changing patron preferences, evolving institutions, new technologies. We had excellent discussions about how we can best move forward, together. It’s the same theme we’ll explore at the upcoming Europe, Middle East and Africa Regional Council Meeting in Germany in February. I’m greatly looking forward to continuing the discussion.

This “crossroads” analogy also has framed recent Global Council discussions and decisions. At our meeting this past November, Delegates agreed to sharpen our focus on member activities, such as OCLC regional meetings and product, user and working groups that advance the interests of our member institutions.

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