Collective Insight: Driven by Shared Data

An OCLC series applying collaborative thinking to the work of libraries

Upcoming Events Available for Live Viewing Parties


OCLC Symposium on "Culturomics" | 28 June 2013
OCLC Member Meeting and Symposium at ALA, Chicago, Illinois

This meeting will stream live from the Web from 11:00 am – 2:00 pm, Central Time at the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place, Prairie Room, with the Symposium from 1:00 to 2:00 pm.

Join OCLC member-leaders and staff for updates on OCLC products and services, a Regional Council business meeting and the next keynote address in our "Collective Insight-Driven by Shared Data" series. This session will focus on the opportunity to examine shared data in new ways that help us make better decisions, learn about the information ecosystem and impact how we live. Libraries can play a compelling role in helping our communities make sense of that information in useful and innovative ways.

About the Symposium
Jean-Baptiste Michel, Visiting Scientist, Harvard University
Jean-Baptiste Michel is a French and Mauritian scientist at Harvard University. His research focuses on big data at the interface of biology and the social sciences. In 2012, Jean-Baptiste was named a TED Fellow and one of Forbes '30 under 30,' the brightest young minds in the sciences. He is an Engineer of Ecole Polytechnique, and received an MS in Applied Math and a PhD in Systems Biology from Harvard.
Erez Lieberman Aiden, Assistant Professor of Genetics at Baylor College of Medicine and of Computer Science and Applied Mathematics at Rice University
Erez Lieberman Aiden is Assistant Professor of Genetics at Baylor College of Medicine and of Computer Science and Applied Mathematics at Rice University. His research spans many disciplines and has won numerous awards, including the President's Early Career Award in Science and Engineering, which is the US government's highest honor for scientists in the early stages of their careers, a $2.5M NIH New Innovator Award; the GE & Science Prize for Young Life Scientists; the Lemelson-MIT prize for the best student inventor at MIT; and membership in Technology Review's 2009 TR35, recognizing the top 35 innovators under 35.

Together, Erez and Jean-Baptiste develop quantitative approaches to the study of history and culture that rely on computational analysis of a significant fraction of the historical record, an approach they call culturomics. Their work led to the creation of the Google Ngram Viewer, a website for browsing cultural trends that was visited over three million times in the 24 hours after its launch. Their research has been featured on the covers of Nature and Science and on the front page of the New York Times, the Boston Globe, and the Wall Street Journal. Their talk describing this work, at, has been viewed over one million times. They are the authors of the forthcoming book Uncharted: Big Data and an Emerging Science of Human History (Riverhead Books).

Live-streaming video will be available here »

Past Presentations and Resources in this Series


"Clear Pictures from Complex Data" | Noah Iliinsky,
Lorraine Haricombe and Cathy De Rosa | 10 April 2013

OCLC Symposium at ACRL, Indianapolis, Indiana

Maggie Farrell, Dean of Libraries at the University of Wyoming, and OCLC Board of Trustees member, welcomed in-person and virtual participants to this event. Keynote speaker Noah Iliinsky, Visualization Expert at IBM's Center for Advanced Visualization, co-author of Designing Data Visualizations and editor/contributor to Beautiful Visualization from O’Reilly Media, presented "Four Pillars of Data Visualization." Then Lorraine Haricombe, Dean of Libraries at University of Kansas, and Cathy De Rosa, OCLC Vice President for the Americas and Global Vice President of Marketing, provided a summary of findings from the cooperative's report (to be published May 2013), "Parents, Alumni and Libraries: What our customers really believe about the library."

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"Print Management at 'Mega-scale': a Regional Perspective on Print Book Collections in North America" | Brian Lavoie, Constance Malpas | 14 March 2013

In this OCLC Research webinar, Brian Lavoie and Constance Malpas explained how they utilized urbanist Richard Florida's mega-regions framework and the WorldCat bibliographic database to explore the North American print book resource as a network of regionally consolidated shared collections. In addition, they provided examples of how they are applying this framework to specific consortia contexts.

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"Implications and Opportunities of Big Data" | Alistair Croll | 25 January 2013
Americas Member Meeting and Symposium at ALA Midwinter, Seattle, Washington

Alistair Croll, Principal Analyst at Bitcurrent, gave the OCLC Symposium keynote at ALA Midwinter, kicking off the “Collective Insight” member engagement discussion series. Alistair shared an overview of Big Data and insights into how Big Data intersects the world of library and information services.


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OCLC is a worldwide library cooperative, owned, governed and sustained by members since 1967. Our public purpose is a statement of commitment to each other—that we will work together to improve access to the information held in libraries around the globe, and find ways to reduce costs for libraries through collaboration. Learn more »