Posts in category: research

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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On Ireland, library data, and humanities research

Brian Lavoie

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St. Patrick’s Day is nearly upon us, and our thoughts turn to Ireland and the Irish …

… and to the new OCLC Research report, An Exploration of the Irish Presence in the Published Record, in which we use library data to identify and explore materials by Irish authors, about Ireland, and/or published in Ireland. In this report, we map out the features of the Irish landscape in WorldCat, including the most popular Irish author, as measured by library holdings (Jonathan Swift); the most popular work by an Irish author (Gulliver’s Travels); and the most translated Irish author (Oscar Wilde). Did you know that Northern Ireland-born Eve Bunting is the most popular Irish author in 29 US states? Or that toddler favorite Guess How Much I Love You is the 13th most popular work by an Irish author (Sam McBratney)?

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Four ways your library can use RIM to advance your institution

Rebecca Bryant, Ph.D.

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Familiar roles, new opportunities

Research Information Management—RIM—is the aggregation, curation, and utilization of information about research. These activities already intersect with many aspects of your library’s services. But, as OCLC’s Lorcan Dempsey wrote in a 2014 blog post on the subject, only recently have we been treating RIM:

[As] a new service category … the integrated management of information about the research life cycle, and about the entities which are party to it.

As such, OCLC has been researching and writing about the ways that libraries are becoming leaders in this important trend. Our position paper, Research Information Management: Defining RIM and the Library’s Role, is a good place to start if you want the “big picture” about RIM and libraries.

The publication helps libraries and other institutional stakeholders better understand how institutions are adopting research information management practices, driven by many different uses, such as support for expertise in discovery, open access policies and compliance, faculty activity reporting workflows, and research assessment activities. In it we identify four major ways in which libraries can add value to this complex ecosystem:

  • Publications and scholarship expertise
  • Discoverability, access, and reputational support
  • Stewardship of the institutional record
  • Training and support

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Happy 350th birthday, Jonathan Swift!

Brian Lavoie

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Writing about the Irish satirist Jonathan Swift, George Orwell observes:

“In a political and moral sense I am against him, so far as I understand him. Yet curiously enough he is one of the writers I admire with least reserve, and Gulliver’s Travels, in particular, is a book which it seems impossible for me to grow tired of… If I had to make a list of six books which were to be preserved when all others were destroyed, I would certainly put Gulliver’s Travels among them.” 1

On this, the occasion of Jonathan Swift’s 350th birthday, we share Orwell’s enthusiasm for Swift and his work by adding our own library-style tribute: Swift is the most popular Irish-born author, and Gulliver’s Travels the most popular work by an Irish author, in library collections today.

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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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From Wrocław to Munich to Chicago—how Polish materials are reflected in the world’s libraries

Brian Lavoie

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As IFLA commences, our thoughts turn to Poland and world literature…

The international library community is gathered in Wrocław, Poland, for the 2017 World Library and Information Congress. This ancient city by the River Oder will offer many attractions to the delegates, including the oldest zoo in Poland, historic Centennial Hall, and the more contemporary Multimedia Fountain. And, as many librarians will especially appreciate, Poland is home to some of the greatest authors and works in world literature.

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Gulliver’s Travels – the most popular Irish work by the most popular Irish author in world literature

Brian Lavoie

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Three hundred and fifty years after his birth, the work of Irish satirist Jonathan Swift continues to enjoy great popularity among contemporary readers. Library data tells us that Swift is the most popular Irish author, and the work for which he is best known, Gulliver’s Travels, is the most popular work by an Irish author, in world literature.

Gulliver’s Travels belongs not just to Irish literature, but to world literature and its relevance only increases over time,” said Dr. Aileen Douglas, Head of the School of English at Trinity College Dublin, in the Irish Times last week. Dublin is marking the 350th anniversary of Swift’s birth with its Swift350 celebration throughout 2017.

Swift, who was born in Dublin in 1667, published Gulliver’s Travels in 1726. The work is now held by more than 40,000 libraries worldwide. Overall, Swift’s works account for nearly 240,000 library holdings worldwide.

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