Posts tagged under: Librarianship

After 40 years of resource sharing … what’s next?

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Today is the 40th anniversary of OCLC resource sharing! That’s right, 40 years ago today—April 1, 1979—the first interlibrary loan was arranged through OCLC systems. That year, OCLC processed 565,680 ILL transactions. In FY18, we processed nearly 7 million.

When I’ve talked to resource sharing librarians about the time before cooperative databases like WorldCat and networked ILL systems, here’s a phrase I never hear:

“The good old days.”

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Why the future of your library depends on others’ knowledge

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Like most libraries, my library in Madrid is facing new and challenging resource constraints, user requirements, and technology demands. Some areas are called on to do more work with fewer staff and lower funding. And all are dealing with user expectations based on global commercial powerhouse brands like Google, Apple, and Amazon.

What we have found at Complutense University is that the key to meeting major local challenges is to recast them as shared global opportunities.

Who do we share them with? All other libraries, worldwide.

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What is the top novel of all time?

Skip Prichard

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What is the top novel of all time? War and Peace? Moby Dick? Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone? Dream of the Red Chamber?

The answer is, of course, “it depends.” It depends on your definitions and measures. Sales? Number of copies published?

One way of measuring is to look at library collections. Libraries reflect popular interest. However, they also reflect scholarly and cultural interest over time. Libraries are where the world’s literature is stewarded and defined.

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Continuing the legacy of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Global Libraries program

Sharon Streams

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By Lorcan Dempsey, Vice President, Membership and Research, Chief Strategist, OCLC; and,
Sharon Streams, Director, WebJunction

The first initiative launched by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Global Libraries program was one to improve computer technology and internet connectivity in US public libraries. And it was a total game changer for thousands of small, rural communities across the United States.

That initiative then spurred the idea for an “online portal” that would connect isolated library staff to ongoing support and resources. From there, a 2002 foundation grant to OCLC led to the launch of WebJunction on May 12, 2003, at a celebration at the Library of Congress.

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Too much metadata?

Stephen Hearn

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As a metadata manager, much of my career has been focused on catalog management and authority control. Or, to put it another way, on the connections and commonalities that records share. I’ve observed the slow emergence of standards for describing authority control entities—topics, places, persons, bodies, works, etc.—as entities in their own right, with their own descriptions and their own connections to other entities.

Part of what makes my job interesting—and challenging—is that it’s not something I can do in a vacuum, on my own. Metadata without good standards is almost useless. And standards require cooperation.

That’s what I love about the Metadata Managers Focus Group of OCLC’s Research Library Partnership. I get a chance to meet with others excited by metadata challenges and really dive deep into the issues that are at the forefront of our daily working lives.

For example, while one problem that we often face is a lack of good metadata, sometimes—just like with holiday eggnog or Halloween candy—we can get too much of a good thing. So how much is “too much” when it comes to metadata?

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Top posts for 2018: Wikipedia, Linked Data, Container Collapse, and … the Blues?

OCLC

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The Blues? Yes, the Blues. Along with the library/Wikipedia connection, the promise of linked data, and the collapse of information containers, our “Three Cures for the Humdrum ILL Blues” post was one of the topics that got the most traffic in 2018.

Overall, the OCLC Next blog continued to grow in 2018. About 55,000 readers stopped by nearly 70,000 times this year to check out our posts. From those, we’ve chosen five of the most popular to share with you again.

From all of our authors and editors, thank you for reading and sharing our work and making the blog successful! We hope you’ll continue reading. Have a happy holiday season and joyful new year!

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Dr. Carla D. Hayden on the need for constant change in libraries

Skip Prichard

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A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to visit my hometown of Baltimore, Maryland, for our inaugural meeting of the Americas Regional Council. Nearly 200 attendees from 120 institutions and 36 US states came together to discuss technology trends in libraries.

It seems that everything is changing at a rapid clip. Even our vacuums are texting us and our fitness regimens have become virtual. Not a day goes by when we don’t read about developments that will rock our world—from flying cars to containers that sense they’re nearing empty and order a refill.

Our conference attendees discussed the impact of these changes in society and specifically on libraries. Dr. Carla D. Hayden, the 14th Librarian of Congress for the United States, opened our conference with an inspiring keynote. If you know Dr. Hayden, you know that I was in the unfortunate situation of having to follow her on the stage.

It was after our presentations that we had a chance to speak about the impact of change on our organizations.

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The three types of library professionals who absolutely must read the new ACRL/OCLC Academic Library Impact report

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It’s really not for everyone

Clickbait headline aside, there really isn’t a compelling reason for some library workers to read the full text of the recently published Academic Library Impact: Improving Practice and Essential Areas to Research report from ACRL and OCLC.

For most librarians and educators, the eight-page introduction is all you need. It’s got a quick overview of six priority areas that we suggest as a guide for developing academic services that focus on student success. For each, there’s a short bullet list of actions and questions we’d like to explore further. That’s it. A nice, easy primer for most librarians.

But if you are a library administrator, do marketing for your library, or are directly involved in educational outcomes … sorry. You need to make time for all 73 pages.

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OCLC at 50 years: a “moonshot” for the world’s libraries

Skip Prichard

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As we’ve prepared for our 50th anniversary celebrations, I’ve been thinking about the time of our founding in the late 1960s and what it meant for our cultural ideals of technology and progress. OCLC was born in 1967, between the time of John F. Kennedy’s 1961 speech in which he set the goal of landing a man on the moon, and the fulfillment of that dream in 1969.

I think there are exciting parallels between that dream, its completion and the incredible journey that OCLC libraries have undertaken together over the past five decades.

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Kilts, gold, logos and more: OCLC 50th memories

OCLC

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Since 1967, OCLC members have worked together to make breakthroughs possible for library users across the globe. Throughout the year, we are celebrating this special anniversary by sharing memories and looking forward to the next 50 years of innovation and community building on behalf of libraries, archives and museums.

About a month ago, we put out a call for your stories, photos and memories from your history with OCLC. We are compiling a special 50th anniversary collection of contributions and will share many of them in social media and at events over the coming months. Here’s a peek at what we’ve received so far … but keep ‘em coming!

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