Posts in topic: research

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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RDM: A challenge too big to tackle alone

Brian Lavoie

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The scholarly record continues to evolve, gathering a wider array of research outputs—including research data sets. In response, universities and other institutions have started to acquire capacity to support data management needs on campus. While services and infrastructure are coalescing around emerging data management practices, guidelines, and mandates, many questions remain about the future of the research data management (RDM) service space, and the university’s role in acquiring and managing RDM capacity in support of their researchers.

How do we approach problems like these that are clearly too big for any one institution to solve? One piece of the solution is to scale learning.

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Mind the gap: Bridging the divide between discovery and delivery

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I wrote in OCLC Next last year about “container collapse” and how many people are having a hard time evaluating the value of online research results. Students think that being able to identify high-quality materials is important. They also believe they are good at it—though our findings suggest they actually aren’t.

Some more recent research, though, indicates that librarians can make a difference. Somewhere between discovery and delivery, there is a gap that needs to be filled. As librarians, we can provide the training and assistance necessary to connect people to high-quality information.

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Preserving Research Data: Are you ready for a long-term commitment?

Brian Lavoie

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The scholarly record is evolving to incorporate a broader range of research outputs, moving beyond traditional publications like journal articles and monographs. Research data is a salient and well-documented example of this shift, and many universities are now investing considerable resources in developing RDM services for their campuses, as we document in our recent Realities of Research Data Management report series.

These services sit alongside much of the research life cycle, from support in developing data management plans prior to commencing research (think of DMPOnline or DMPTool), to computing and storage resources for storing, working with, and sharing data during the research process (often called active data management; for example, the DataStore service at the University of Edinburgh), to data repository services for storage, discovery, and access to final data sets (like the University of Illinois Data Bank).

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Brain food in just an hour

Rachel Frick

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My work with the OCLC Research Library Partnership is rewarding in so many ways. One of them is the continual opportunity to meet fascinating people who do really important work. It creates new learning opportunities for me, and it’s fun to see where some of our pathways intersect.

Like most library professionals, I like to share. Fortunately, I can connect the experts I meet to the OCLC community through our Distinguished Seminar Series. Since 1978, OCLC has hosted dozens of guest speakers who have shared their knowledge and experience on a vast range of topics, initiatives, and movements.

If you can spare an hour once or twice a year, I’d like to invite you to meet with us here in the auditorium at OCLC’s headquarters. You can come in person or join us online for a livestream of an event. I promise that our guests will inform, inspire, and probably even entertain you.

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A fresh look at public library marketing

Jenny Johnson

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I’ve always been impressed by the incredible creativity and inventiveness public library staff show as they evolve to meet the needs of their local communities. Having spent my career in marketing, more than half working with libraries, I understand the challenges they face in raising awareness of those changes among library users and funders.

A new OCLC report provides a current overview of US public libraries’ approach to marketing and communications. Some of the results are not surprising—like the fact that libraries do a lot of marketing with little money and staff. And as is often the case, some findings simply raised more questions, which led us to talk to some of the public library marketers we know to gain additional perspective.

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Rust never sleeps—not for rockers, not for libraries

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In 1979, Neil Young—one of my favorite artists—released the album Rust Never Sleeps. It represented a conscious recognition that his music had to evolve to appeal to the changing tastes of a new generation. It’s a message I took to heart then, and it continues to impact me today in my work with libraries.

How can libraries stay relevant? By remembering that rust never sleeps. And that the treatment for library rust can be found in one word: assessment.

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What is “container collapse” and why should librarians and teachers care?

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In 2004, OCLC published Information Format Trends: Content, Not Containers. In the context of this study, “container” meant physical media:

More than ever, content consumers are “format agnostic” in that they do not care much what sort of container—such as a book, journal, blog, or a Web page—the content comes from… For libraries and content sellers, this means the processes of acquisition, organization, and delivery of content need to change to accommodate the expectations of our communities.

In today’s smartphone world, when all of our media can be scrunched down into one device, we face what the research team calls container collapse (#containercollapse). The visual context and cues that print containers provide used to help individuals identify a document’s origins and measure its value. These cues are now obscured or more difficult to discern. In digital format, a document is decanted from its original container and must be carefully examined to determine the journey it took to reach the individual. As knowledge professionals, we care deeply about the origin and authority of the content our users and communities consume.

And guess what? Students care, too!

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Libraries and RDM: Three decisions, three components, three realities

Brian Lavoie

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New data mandates, open science advocacy, and replication of research results have focused attention on data management practices during the research process. This, in turn, has led to the development of services, infrastructure, and other resources to support Research Data Management (RDM) needs at research universities.

But how are research universities addressing the challenge of managing research data throughout the research life cycle?

The Realities of Research Data Management is a four-part series from OCLC Research that looks at the context, influences, and choices that research universities face in acquiring RDM capacity. We launched this project to pull back the curtain a bit on how universities work through the process of acquiring RDM capacity. Our findings are derived from detailed case studies of four research universities:

  • University of Edinburgh (UK)
  • University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign (US)
  • Monash University (Australia)
  • Wageningen University & Research (Netherlands)

Our focus is on three major decision points that universities face in acquiring RDM capacity.

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