Posts tagged under: Community

Getting smarter, together

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It was great to see everyone in Baltimore at the inaugural meeting of the Americas Regional Council. It was a phenomenal experience—from the inspiring keynote speakers to many in-depth, informative breakout sessions.

Nearly 200 attendees from 120 institutions, 36 US states, and four countries joined this membership meeting where the theme was, “The Smarter Library.” We shared ideas, questions, and insights about what it takes to become smarter and innovate continuously around the needs of the communities we serve.

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Guess what topic is tops on our blog this year?

Katie Birch

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Resource sharing is the heart of librarianship. And the heart of OCLC. Whether it’s metadata, workflows, infrastructure, or library materials, sharing is embedded deep in a librarian’s psyche and powered by our technology platform.

It’s no surprise, then, that resource sharing is one of the topics on our blog that always gets the most traffic—this year and last year. This year, our posts on Tipasa, interlibrary loan trends, and shared print collections are among the most popular based on views and visits. Last year, it was interlibrary loan trends as well, along with a contest to name our new ILL management system.

Clearly, after 50 years of the cooperative, the community continues to reinvent resource sharing—making it even easier for more types of libraries and groups to support one another. I invite you to enjoy these posts once again. And to keep on caring about resource sharing.

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From secret student archives to crusty old microfilm: Tales from the international ILL world

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Back in 1988, one of my OCLC colleagues worked at The Ohio State University Law Library as a work-study student. Recently, he told me a story about going deep into the basement to the compact storage units to retrieve an 1870s law book to photocopy some Ohio municipal codes for a library in Japan. He mailed the document to the library the next day using the US Postal Service.

Today, almost 30 years later, the world of international interlibrary loan is alive and well but with fewer trips to the ‘dungeon’ and the post office, thanks to digitization, electronic publications, and advances in scanning technology. These advances, along with the web and the emerging global library data network, are making international borrowing and lending easier and more commonplace.

But it’s the stories behind these international transactions that make them memorable, inspiring, and fun.

As I prepared to attend IFLA’s International Interlending and Document Supply Conference this month to moderate a panel discussion, I sent out a request for international ILL stories from OCLC members. Here is a sampling. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

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Recalibrating the WorldCat odometer

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The 1,000,000,000 OCLC Control Number was recently created in WorldCat. It was for a digital image from the Chiba University Library (YA@) in Chiba, Japan. We knew this milestone was fast approaching, and we sent guidance to member libraries and to library vendors to prepare them for a tenth digit in the OCN.

How appropriate that this breakthrough, which symbolizes the culture of collaboration and sharing embraced by the library community worldwide, would take place during the cooperative’s 50th anniversary year, when we are celebrating our past and anticipating our future.

WorldCat has reached many milestones over the years and this makes us consider the possibilities that await in the years ahead.

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Join your colleagues in the cloud

OCLC

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Compelling stories are engaging, thought-provoking and informative. And they often inspire us to take action.

Our latest round of member stories shows the excitement—and the rewards—of moving library services to the cloud. Working together using a shared platform streamlines routine, repetitive workflows and frees up time for high-impact efforts that demonstrate relevance, which is more important than ever as we keep pace with users’ expectations.

If you have a story about your library you’d like to share, please drop us a line at next@oclc.org.

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Wikipedia the WebJunction way

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In the past decade, Wikipedia’s reach has expanded. It’s the fifth most-visited platform globally.[1] And the quality has stabilized. A 2012 Oxford University study comparing Encyclopedia Britannica to Wikipedia found no significant difference in quality or reliability between the articles they compared. However, research suggests that asymmetries in the demographic profile of the existing pool of editors, which are 80–90% white males, has led to biases and underdeveloped content areas.[2]

To improve the encyclopedia and address these gaps, volunteers and Wikimedia Foundation staff have collaborated to host outreach programs and editing events. These have seen successes, but there’s still room for improvement. Only some of these programs have focused on galleries, libraries, archives and museums (GLAM, in Wikimedia terminology), and none of the outreach has been specifically geared to public libraries and their important role as champions of information access and mainstays in serving their local communities.

The time has come for an effective, focused training program that brings Wikipedia to US public libraries.

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Recognizing leaders in our library community

Sandy Yee

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During this year of OCLC’s 50th anniversary, it has been fun to remember all the ways in which OCLC has come together and grown as a global library cooperative. The OCLC staff have been collecting and sharing many images from the archives over the past few months, giving us all the chance to join in this celebratory journey. The photos are truly fabulous, representing many artifacts that are near and dear to my heart, including the beehive terminal and the catalog cards. BUT, the photos that are the most meaningful, and the most telling of our story as a cooperative, are the many photos of member librarians over the years.

OCLC has more than 16,000 member libraries in more than 120 countries around the world. If you consider the number of library staff working collectively across those member institutions, you can imagine what a powerful network that is. And we all know that librarians can make things happen. When we harness that creativity, commitment and passion, achievements like those that OCLC has had over the years become too many to count.

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Sharing resource sharing

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Sharing our resource sharing breakthroughs

I’ve been working in interlibrary loan a long time and the collaboration I see within this group of librarians is amazing. Back in March, we held the first OCLC Resource Sharing Conference with the theme of Sharing Breakthroughs. I see this community sharing all the time, whether at an event, via a listserv or just a simple phone call.

A member-driven program committee helped shape the agenda and librarians provided much of the program content. Thank you to all who presented and participated. It was a great example of how well the resource sharing community works together to share and celebrate our breakthroughs.

We’ve posted all presentation recordings, including a wonderful keynote about storytelling from Todd Babiak, on the conference site. I invite you to view them, share them and think about attending or presenting next year. We’re so happy to announce that the conference will take place March 13–15, 2018, at the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront in Jacksonville, Florida, USA.

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The power of breakthrough storytelling

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I was honored to have been asked to be on the program committee for March’s OCLC Resource Sharing Conference. Meeting with and learning from my US colleagues is always exciting, and I was so pleased to see several other Canadian librarians in attendance at the conference. The acquisition of Relais International by OCLC made this conference highly relevant to the Canadian ILL community, as we really need to be a part of the future direction of our ILL systems; we need to be part of the story. I was excited to bring forward Todd Babiak, Canadian author and entrepreneur in the storytelling business. His keynote presentation, “Breakthrough Storytelling—What a powerful narrative can do for your library,” really helped anchor the entire conference for me.

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Get inspired for National Library Week with these five quick stories

OCLC

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April 9 through 15 is National Library Week in the United States, an annual observance that has been sponsored by the American Library Association since 1958. Because we’re a global organization, we’d like to take an opportunity to celebrate libraries all around the world. Whether it’s through access to technology, information literacy, diverse collections or opportunities for community engagement, libraries connect people to knowledge and make breakthroughs happen.

We could have written volumes about the great work being done by libraries around the globe. We’ve highlighted a few breakthroughs our members have shared with us and we encourage you to join your colleagues around the world to share your library breakthrough with the hashtag #NationalLibraryWeek.

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