Posts tagged under: End Users

From branches to roots

genealogy-computerFor a very, very long time, the success of genealogy enthusiasts depended on one key attribute: the ability to travel. If you wanted to get your hands on passenger manifests, family histories, local church records, death certificates, marriage licenses and all other manner of ancestral data, you had to travel to the source—to city halls, churches, local newspaper archives and libraries.

Obviously, that’s not the case today. As a novice genealogist, I was able to trace my family history back to France in the late 15th century, but I certainly didn’t do it via planes, trains and automobiles. Like so many others, I did most of my research online. That’s a fundamental change in how both amateurs and professional historians approach the subject.

What has stayed the same, however, is the importance of libraries in genealogical research. Because libraries, more than many other institutions, have been the ones to put all that great, local, historical content online.

All your users need is a library card, an internet connection and a few lessons. Let me share some of what I’ve found out with you, and with them.

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The needs of one

2016-07-05 DisneyAt ALA in Orlando, we heard a great talk from Amy Rossi from the Disney Institute about Disney’s approach to customer service. I’m glad we’ve had a chance to share some notes from her presentation and some thoughts from a few of the librarians who attended. I’d like, though, to take one final look at some of the insights she shared, this time from the point of view of customer service here at OCLC. As head of our customer operations team, it’s not just a subject that I find fascinating, it’s also my passion and my responsibility.

Star Trek’s Mr. Spock famously tells us that, “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few,” or, as interjected by Captain Kirk, “the one.” That may hold true philosophically, but not when it comes to customer service. While new products or features may be developed to meet the needs of the many, service questions and concerns are almost always about the needs of “the one.” And that’s where we get into the SPOC Paradox.

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What Disney taught us about great service

2016-07-05 Disney

ALA Annual is always a great place to learn and meet people. As the Vice President of Management and Customer Operations at OCLC, I found that one of the highlights of this year’s conference was the OCLC Symposium on how to deliver a great customer experience. Now, if you’re like me, when you think about Disney’s magic you don’t think about parking lots or birds in the Enchanted Tiki Room that look like they’re actually breathing. But it’s exactly those types of details that make the Disney experience so complete, compelling and successful.

Amy Rossi from the Disney Institute—who admitted that she once moved to a new city and got a library card before a new driver’s license—talked to us about how Disney manages its customer experience. She started out by making the great point that Disney and libraries are really in the same industry: the service industry. To Disney, entertainment and hospitality are side effects of great service. Likewise, people come to libraries for a lot of different reasons, but all libraries provide service.

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The library of one

Chip Nilges

2016-02-06 Chip library of one

What does it mean to be a “library user” today? I think we can all agree it’s a question that is less well-defined than in the past. Which is why OCLC Research points out the necessity of “meeting library users at the point of need.” As Lorcan Dempsey puts it in his book, The Network Reshapes the Library, “We are used to thinking about the user in the library environment … a major part of our challenge moving forward is thinking about the library in the user environment.”

I couldn’t agree more. And if the definition of “library user” is fragmented, we need to think in terms of “what people use” as opposed to “what the library traditionally does.” Which leads me to three questions:

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