Posts in category: resource sharing

Guess what topic is tops on our blog this year?

Katie Birch

top-topics

Resource sharing is the heart of librarianship. And the heart of OCLC. Whether it’s metadata, workflows, infrastructure, or library materials, sharing is embedded deep in a librarian’s psyche and powered by our technology platform.

It’s no surprise, then, that resource sharing is one of the topics on our blog that always gets the most traffic—this year and last year. This year, our posts on Tipasa, interlibrary loan trends, and shared print collections are among the most popular based on views and visits. Last year, it was interlibrary loan trends as well, along with a contest to name our new ILL management system.

Clearly, after 50 years of the cooperative, the community continues to reinvent resource sharing—making it even easier for more types of libraries and groups to support one another. I invite you to enjoy these posts once again. And to keep on caring about resource sharing.

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From secret student archives to crusty old microfilm: Tales from the international ILL world

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Back in 1988, one of my OCLC colleagues worked at The Ohio State University Law Library as a work-study student. Recently, he told me a story about going deep into the basement to the compact storage units to retrieve an 1870s law book to photocopy some Ohio municipal codes for a library in Japan. He mailed the document to the library the next day using the US Postal Service.

Today, almost 30 years later, the world of international interlibrary loan is alive and well but with fewer trips to the ‘dungeon’ and the post office, thanks to digitization, electronic publications, and advances in scanning technology. These advances, along with the web and the emerging global library data network, are making international borrowing and lending easier and more commonplace.

But it’s the stories behind these international transactions that make them memorable, inspiring, and fun.

As I prepared to attend IFLA’s International Interlending and Document Supply Conference this month to moderate a panel discussion, I sent out a request for international ILL stories from OCLC members. Here is a sampling. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

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How OCLC transformed a library … and one student’s life

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Throw down the gauntlet

At the beginning of the 1992–1993 school year, I issued a challenge to teachers, students, administrators, and community members around the Ovid-Elsie Area Schools in Michigan. Our small, rural library, which supported two elementary schools, a middle school, and a high school, had recently joined OCLC and for the first time had access to libraries worldwide through WorldCat. Even though our materials budget was tiny, I stood up in the first district staff meeting of the year and promised them all I would get any book that anyone needed for any reason.

The teachers whispered and even snickered. Our library had never been very relevant to them. We weren’t included in their lesson plans, and they rarely sent students to find resources. After a couple weeks, I got my first request: a 17-book bibliography. And that changed everything.

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Come on in, the water’s fine

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In the summer of 2016, I received a phone call from OCLC asking if I’d be interested in becoming one of the first early adopters for a service that would be replacing ILLiad. It would be an enhanced WorldShare ILL system that would include many of the unique features of ILLiad.

Move away from ILLiad? And do so at the “bleeding edge” of a new service? And being not much of a techie, the idea of changing any computer-based system always seems like a challenge. At that very moment, the idea seemed overwhelming and, frankly, hugely unsettling.

After giving it some thought, though, I considered that I actually like new challenges. The Interlibrary Loan office was slowing down a bit as the summer wore on, too. And it occurred to me that if all ILLiad libraries would eventually need to change, I’d rather be part of the first cohort with all the OCLC tech support behind me. I also thought that being involved in an early adopter program like this might be both professionally challenging and fun. So I said, “Yes!”

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Sharing resource sharing

2017-05-30 Sharing-Resource-Sharing

Sharing our resource sharing breakthroughs

I’ve been working in interlibrary loan a long time and the collaboration I see within this group of librarians is amazing. Back in March, we held the first OCLC Resource Sharing Conference with the theme of Sharing Breakthroughs. I see this community sharing all the time, whether at an event, via a listserv or just a simple phone call.

A member-driven program committee helped shape the agenda and librarians provided much of the program content. Thank you to all who presented and participated. It was a great example of how well the resource sharing community works together to share and celebrate our breakthroughs.

We’ve posted all presentation recordings, including a wonderful keynote about storytelling from Todd Babiak, on the conference site. I invite you to view them, share them and think about attending or presenting next year. We’re so happy to announce that the conference will take place March 13–15, 2018, at the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront in Jacksonville, Florida, USA.

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The power of breakthrough storytelling

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I was honored to have been asked to be on the program committee for March’s OCLC Resource Sharing Conference. Meeting with and learning from my US colleagues is always exciting, and I was so pleased to see several other Canadian librarians in attendance at the conference. The acquisition of Relais International by OCLC made this conference highly relevant to the Canadian ILL community, as we really need to be a part of the future direction of our ILL systems; we need to be part of the story. I was excited to bring forward Todd Babiak, Canadian author and entrepreneur in the storytelling business. His keynote presentation, “Breakthrough Storytelling—What a powerful narrative can do for your library,” really helped anchor the entire conference for me.

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Looking at interlibrary loan, 2016 edition

Christa Starck

Christa ILL titles

Everyone likes reading about lists and trends. I guess it’s part of our natural curiosity to wonder who’s in the top ten and to analyze what direction our culture or profession appears to be headed.

In the case of interlibrary loan (ILL), it’s also a lot of fun! To bibliophiles like me, it’s interesting to look at who’s reading what and which books are the most popular based on our ILL transactions.

The ILL community enjoys the data as well. Last year, the most popular post in the Next blog—based on page views and unique visitors—was the one on ILL trends to watch. And in December, a person on Twitter posted about how eager she was to see what new trends might be revealed in this year’s look at ILL statistics.

Well, here are the latest themes in the interlibrary loan world based on our data. Comparing it with last year, it’s more of the same with one new finding.

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How flexible is your future collection?

Katie Birch

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You can’t predict the future. But together we can prepare for it.

What attribute of your library is most valuable to your community? For a long time, the answer to that question might have been “our collection.” For generations, libraries have spent much of their budgets on acquiring and managing local materials, but that is shifting. These days, what the library owns isn’t as important as how it supports its users and community. Access to materials must keep up with needs that are changing faster than any one institution can manage.

It is nearly impossible for any one library to hit the moving target of comprehensive access to relevant content. Working together, however, libraries can take advantage of a characteristic that may be the most important for collection access going forward: flexibility.

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A cooperative approach to naming: help name our new ILL service

Katie Birch

hello my name is

Names are important. And naming things can be a lot of fun. Names conjure up feelings and emotions and even expectations. Here at OCLC we’re excited about a new ILL product that we’re developing with the help of the OCLC resource sharing community. And we want a name that captures the energy and teamwork that you, our members, bring to the cooperative.

As a unique membership cooperative, OCLC relies on your input for all kinds of things. Members provide feedback on product development, plans, road maps and features—as is the case for this new service. We also solicit ideas for events and programs. Our research depends on feedback from many libraries all over the world. And so we thought, let’s ask the community: what do YOU think we should name the product?

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Multiplying the power of place

Katie Birch

power-of-placeIt’s easy to find digital items online—pictures, videos, maps, etc.—that can connect you to another place, person or library. What may not be as immediately apparent is that physical objects can also connect users to libraries in many different places. As someone who works with our interlibrary loan data, I see fantastic examples of distant libraries establishing relationships that leverage physical collections. In doing so, they improve how local users experience their local library.

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