Posts tagged under: Data

Treat IT projects as library projects, and vice versa

Roy Tennant

2017-06-27-TreatITProjectsAsLibrary Projects

Last month, 40 library software developers from the United States, Canada, South Africa and the Netherlands came to Dublin, Ohio, to participate in a two-day conference focused on OCLC’s machine services. Designed to be used by computers, machine services are also called “application program interfaces” or APIs. They enable library developers to write software that can use these services while retaining control over the user interface.

Over the two days of this inaugural DEVCONNECT meeting, developers heard from both OCLC staff and staff from member libraries about our APIs and how to use them to create effective services. Karen Coombs also taught a half-day workshop on tips for developers using APIs.

Jennifer Vinopal, Associate Director for Information Technology for University Libraries at Ohio State University, was the keynote speaker, and you can view her presentation in the video below.

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The problem with data

Don Hamparian

2017-05-25 Trouble-With-Data

We’re being inundated with data. That’s what we’re told, right? We hear all the time how many exabytes of new data are being created every day. There’s just one problem: maybe none of it is the data we actually need.

I recently had the opportunity, along with several of my OCLC colleagues, to attend the Electronic Resources and Libraries (ER&L) Conference. I’ve been going to this great conference for the last two years, and each year it offers a really valuable look into how libraries manage e-resources. This year, several topics across multiple presentations led me to the conclusion that actionable data is actually pretty hard to find and even harder to wrangle successfully.

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The library 4th is strongest in this one …

Jeff Mixter

star-wars

Happy “Star Wars Day,” and “May the 4th be with you!”

As a fan of both Star Wars and puns, I love this day. It is a chance to celebrate one of my favorite sci-fi franchises and, in many cases, meet random people at work (and on the street) based on a shared appreciation of the series. It is impossible to not become instant friends with someone whose toddler is wearing a onesie that says, “I am a Jedi, like my father before me.”

On the professional side, I have also been interested in how Star Wars and its various themes and characters are represented in literature, film, music, the arts and, of course … libraries.

So here is your trivia question for today: which Star Wars character is best represented in libraries?

I had my own guess going into this bit of casual research … but I was wrong.

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With big data, answers drive questions

Andreas Schmidt

2017-03-28-With-Big-Data-Answers-Drive-Questions

Usually, when we search for a solution, we start with a question and then seek out answers. According to Viktor Mayer-Schönberger, one of the plenary speakers at the 2017 OCLC EMEA Regional Council Meeting in Berlin, big data flips that equation on its head.

Tying into the event’s theme, “Libraries at the Crossroads: Resolving Identities,” Viktor explained that big data is all about gaining new perspectives on the world. It is revolutionizing what we see and how we process information. And he explained that with big data, we start with answers—what the data tells us—and then go back to fill in appropriate questions and hypotheses.

As a Professor at Oxford University’s Internet Institute and author of Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think, Viktor also explained that every additional data point is an opportunity to boost customer services and find new synergies. He talked about the quantity of big data translating into a new capability to make sense of patterns.

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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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3 million knocks on library doors every day

Mary Sauer-Games

API_blogHow do we help information seekers find library resources online? OCLC began asking that question more than 10 years ago. The 2005 Perceptions Report showed that almost nobody began information searches at library websites. Aware of the changes in information seeking behavior, we’d begun the OCLC “Open WorldCat” program in 2003 in order to get library metadata into popular online services. Open WorldCat provided direct access to the data in WorldCat to a variety of search and discovery providers who then linked users back to resources in member libraries.

At the end of the pilot that launched Open WorldCat, we were getting around 4,000 hits per day, which we considered successful enough to warrant moving forward. We have continued to add services that drive users to OCLC services and member libraries. One of our fastest-growing services is our suite of APIs.

Today, we’re seeing more than 3 million hits per day to OCLC APIs.

What makes that possible? One reason is that the diversity of APIs we offer allows a range of partners to tap into the cooperative’s resources for a variety of purposes. A quick look at one of the

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Four interlibrary loan trends to watch in 2016

Christa Starck

Top ILL titles for 2015

At least once a year, we query the WorldShare ILL database and see how the trends in interlibrary loan are developing. We count titles a little differently than other lists. Rather than splitting into fiction/nonfiction we look at loan requests vs. copy requests (loans of an entire book vs. a request to copy a single article or part of a larger work). The list of top copy requests is, as you might expect, heavily weighted toward the medical, psychological and scientific realms. It’s the loan requests that are more interesting.

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Transforming data into impact

Skip Prichard

2016-02-03 Skip intro post 4

Last September, I found an interesting Forbes article, “20 Mind-Boggling Big Data Facts Everyone Must Read.” Most of them were of the “very big numbers” variety; how many billions of connected devices there are, how many photos we took on our smartphones last year, how much is being invested in big data projects, etc. I think we’ve gotten used to the idea that “big data” is really big.

The only fact on the Forbes list I found really “mind-boggling” was the last one: that of all the data collected in the world, only about half a percent is ever analyzed.

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