Posts in category: community

The greatest coincidence in library employment history?

Jennifer Vinopal

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Although I spent the first 20 years of my library career in New York, I had, of course, heard of Columbus, Ohio. The Columbus Metropolitan Library being such an innovative system and winning so many awards. OCLC having its headquarters in Dublin, Ohio (a suburb of Columbus). And, of course, the fantastic libraries at The Ohio State University. If there was ever a list of “great cities to be a librarian in,” Columbus would certainly be at the top.

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The “audacity and humility” of getting smarter

Ginny Steel

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Can things really be smart?

Is a thermostat programmed to change based on time of day and weather conditions “smarter”? How about a chat-bot that answers your customer service questions? What about an email feature that automatically sorts messages based on your past activities?

In many cases when we hear “smart [thing],” it’s a synonym for some kind of software automation based on sensors, data collection, or connected devices. Nearly half of Forbes17 Top Enterprise Tech Trends for 2017” relate to ideas of “smarter” services, apps, products, infrastructure, and lifestyles. The assumption is that by automating as many aspects of a process as possible, we’ll get better results.

I’m not convinced that’s the case.

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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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To be a better librarian, break into museums and archives

Betha Gutsche

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An archivist, librarian and museum professional walk into a conference …

In 2016, 18 librarians, archivists and museum professionals came together as “field anthropologists” for the “Collective Wisdom: Libraries, Archives and Museums (LAM) Conference Exchange” to find out more about each other’s practices and cultures. They attended three major LAM sector conferences, working together to look for new opportunities for collaboration.

As an administrator to the Collective Wisdom cohort, I saw firsthand the group’s deep insights and renewed resolve to connect across all kinds of boundaries. They had never crossed paths before embarking on this experience—but by the end, they had cultivated “professional relationships and friendships that will endure well beyond this project.”

And their readiness to find intersections between each sector’s silos is testimony to a wider desire for collaboration among knowledge professionals. Reflections and recommendations for strengthening cross-sector community and collaboration are captured in their newly published white paper, “Collective Wisdom: An Exploration of Libraries, Archives and Museum Cultures.”

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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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OCLC at fifty—your memories, our history, our shared future

Kem Lang

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For me, one of the best things about managing the OCLC Library, Archive and Museum is that the history of our organization is tied so closely to the history of libraries and librarianship. Being a corporate archivist is fun for almost any history geek, of course. But it’s special and meaningful for me to play a part in collecting and preserving works that reflect on the people, events and achievements of our profession.

Because OCLC is a cooperative, our collection isn’t just a list of items and materials about what happens inside these walls, but it’s a glimpse into half-a-century of changes and innovations that librarians have lived through and, in many cases, originated. And, as we archivists all know, a look back from time to time can be a valuable tool as we identify paths for the future.

That’s why I think it’s incredibly important that we ask you—the world’s librarians—for your memories as we celebrate OCLC’s 50th anniversary.

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In support of library funding

OCLC

Students in library looking at tablet computer

OCLC is a global library cooperative, composed of more than 16,000 library members from around the world. Our members span library types from public libraries serving the smallest rural towns to the largest research libraries in the world.

The knowledge transfer and exchange fueled by libraries enables many notable experiences: the child learning to read; the scientist expanding an avenue of medical research; an entrepreneur building a viable business plan. The individuals in these examples often gain their initial foothold, inspiration and roadmap in a library. We celebrate the accomplishments and the end result of the knowledge, but the journey to these breakthroughs is often not as visible. Libraries play a key role in these life-altering journeys and ground-breaking discoveries.

The role that libraries play continues to grow, based on the evolving needs of their respective communities. Libraries provide internet services, vital not only to learning but also to finding a job and to accessing social services. Libraries directly impact student outcomes, from pre-K and K–12 to community colleges to large research universities. Libraries maintain important collections, preserving the history of our communities, regions, countries and people.

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Top posts of 2016: Big data, convenience, ILL trends, linked data and…shyness?

Andy Havens

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Shyness? Yes, shyness. Along with big data, the convenience imperative, interlibrary loan trends and linked data, shyness was one of the topics on our blog that got the most traffic last year.

The OCLC Next blog launched in February of 2016. Since then, readers have stopped by nearly 60,000 times to check out 54 posts. From those, we’ve chosen five of the most popular to share with you again.

From everyone who’s worked on OCLC Next during its first year…thank you for reading and sharing our work and making the blog so successful! We hope you’ll continue reading. Have a happy holiday season and joyful New Year!

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

Helene Blowers

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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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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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