A cooperative approach to naming: help name our new ILL service

Katie Birch

hello my name is

Names are important. And naming things can be a lot of fun. Names conjure up feelings and emotions and even expectations. Here at OCLC we’re excited about a new ILL product that we’re developing with the help of the OCLC resource sharing community. And we want a name that captures the energy and teamwork that you, our members, bring to the cooperative.

As a unique membership cooperative, OCLC relies on your input for all kinds of things. Members provide feedback on product development, plans, road maps and features—as is the case for this new service. We also solicit ideas for events and programs. Our research depends on feedback from many libraries all over the world. And so we thought, let’s ask the community: what do YOU think we should name the product?

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“We are stronger when we can solve problems collaboratively.”

Helene Blowers

solve-collaboratively

As Community Program Manager for the OCLC Community Center, I have many conversations with our members that fall under a few simple categories. Most often we talk about insights and ideas that they have to increase collaboration around OCLC technology and services. But occasionally our conversations turn to talking about their organizations’ goals or their own personal goals for professional growth. Regardless of the conversation, I’ve learned that one of the most important things I can do is get out of the way and let other members lead the discussion, providing their own perspective and insight.

That final step is an important one. We’re always on the lookout for ways to create a culture of support and collaboration, which is why I’m so excited about the growth of the OCLC Online Community Center over the past year. A growth that’s measured entirely in member-to-member engagement.

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A library collection of mysteries, murder and mayhem

Mary Sauer-Games

murder-mysteries

This Halloween, let’s take a peek into the Douglas County Historic Research Center (DCHRC) and try to uncover the mysterious connection between these seemingly unrelated yet terrifying clues:

  • A high-profile murder and kidnapping attempt in 1960
  • The burning down of a county courthouse in 1978 during a jail break
  • The near disappearance of local sheriff’s records in 2000
  • A list of every grave marker in town
  • Attics with mysterious, forgotten books

The common thread?

[Cue spooky music] Digital content management!!!

[Cue maniacal laughter]

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Are you too comfortable in your culture?

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Culture matters

A lot has been written about organizational culture, but there is little consensus on what it actually is and how to change it. Two things we know for sure: organizational culture exists and it plays a crucial role in shaping behavior.

Why should we think about culture? Because your culture is how your organization does things. And how you do things is critical to your performance and success.

According to the Katzenbach Center, 96% of employees say some change to their organizational culture is needed, and 51% think their culture requires a major overhaul. So even if you’re comfortable, you probably should be thinking about how your organization’s culture impacts both goals and the quality-of-life for your employees.

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Beating Watson at a different game

Eric van Lubeek

robot handshake


Recently I attended a meeting of the Dutch Association of Information Professionals (KNVI) where an IBM representative demonstrated Watson, the company’s famed supercomputer. Watson uses natural language processing and machine learning to reveal insights from large amounts of data. The system can be fed an enormous collection of information and used to support complete knowledge domains or industries.

The demonstration was fascinating as I watched Watson receive and answer questions in natural language about cancer treatment and diagnosis.

As I left the meeting, I wondered what the impact of technology platforms like Watson will have on libraries. Clearly, the use of Watson, with its incredible ability to organize and analyze data, offers endless possibilities that will result in further automation of the information profession. What place will libraries have in a world of Watsons?

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Happy Customer Service Week: Hitting the mark

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What’s the best customer service you’ve ever helped provide?

The first week of October is Customer Service Week, an international celebration of the importance of customer service and of the people who serve and support customers on a daily basis. Librarians understand customer service as well as anyone. They wear their customer service hats every day in addition to all of the others they wear. So to celebrate Customer Service Week, we asked some of the folks at OCLC to share the service they’re most proud of having provided.

It was a hard question to get answers to because, like most good support staff, they want every interaction to be the best from the customer’s standpoint. But I think it’s important to share the stories we’re proud of. They inspire us to do more every day in hopes of hitting that mark again and again.

I hope you enjoy these stories as much as I do. If you have any suggestions or ideas for how your experience as an OCLC member could be improved, please don’t hesitate to email me directly at bordasd@oclc.org.

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Happy Customer Service Week: Wow Moments!

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What’s the best customer service you’ve ever received?

At OCLC, the goal of our customer service team—and all of our staff—is to support libraries better than anyone in the world. One way we do this is by focusing on “Wow!” support moments. Not every support interaction is going to be a “Wow!” moment, but when you have one, you remember it for a long time. We know that many librarians wear the “Customer Service Representative” hat in addition to all the others they wear, and that it’s a challenging and rewarding role. So to celebrate Customer Service Week here at OCLC, we thought it would be fun to ask our own staff around the world for their “Wow!” moments on the receiving end of customer service.

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Celebrating the first 500 WMS libraries

Andrew K. Pace

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A decade of remarkable change

In 2006, four library system vendors dominated the integrated library system market. OCLC partnered with most and was just beginning to consider its own solution. In the intervening decade, we’ve seen a lot of consolidation and rapid innovation.

Fast-forward to 2016. The ILS is now a legacy system, “next-gen” is practically passé, and Marshall Breeding has dubbed a new breed of library management and discovery services the “Library Service Platform.” Today, OCLC’s WorldShare Management Services (WMS) is one of only two offerings in this space—a true multi-tenant, cloud-based suite of services for managing and discovering the purchased and licensed collections of libraries. It took only five years for OCLC to attract 500 libraries to WMS, becoming a leading provider in a space that it didn’t even occupy a decade ago.

That would be a major achievement in any industry, by any company. That it was achieved by a nonprofit library cooperative is credit to the unique power behind that success—our members.

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Multiplying the power of place

Katie Birch

power-of-placeIt’s easy to find digital items online—pictures, videos, maps, etc.—that can connect you to another place, person or library. What may not be as immediately apparent is that physical objects can also connect users to libraries in many different places. As someone who works with our interlibrary loan data, I see fantastic examples of distant libraries establishing relationships that leverage physical collections. In doing so, they improve how local users experience their local library.

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