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Changes to Membership and Governance Protocols

Janet Lees   /   /  Comments: 0

In June 2013 the OCLC Board of Trustees and OCLC Global Council revised the Membership and Governance Protocols which will bring some important changes to OCLC membership in EMEA.

The Protocols are the foundation document of OCLC governance. They have been changed over the years to reflect the growth of OCLC services. From 1977 to date the use of WorldCat for holdings and resource sharing has been the basis for OCLC membership and the pre-requisite for participation in governance. Expanding membership in the cooperative has been an ongoing goal since more members have brought a greater wealth of resources available in WorldCat and a broader base to share the costs of operation, research and advocacy.

Over the past decade OCLC’s governance structure has become significantly more global and with the introduction of the Regional Councils has provided more opportunities for member libraries to actively participate in membership activities. In the same timeframe OCLC has purchased several companies, mainly in EMEA, that produce integrated library systems. Many of the users of these systems have not been represented in the governance process as these systems were not able to easily integrate with WorldCat so setting holdings and using global resource sharing, the pre-requisite for membership, had not been possible. With the long term goal of bringing these integrated library systems into the new WorldShare Network OCLC is changing the definition of membership so that users of these systems will, from July 2014, qualify for membership.

This change will enfranchise institutions with ongoing maintenance contracts for Amlib, Bibliotheca, HKA, LBS, OLIB and SunRise and bring their voice into the governance structure at an early stage of the development of the WorldShare network. Some of these institutions already qualify for membership through their participation in other OCLC services but we expect that the change will double the number of member institutions in EMEA.

OCLC staff, together with the members of the EMEARC Executive Committee, are beginning the job of communicating the changes to these groups and welcoming these new institutions into EMEA Regional Council activities. These activities will include presentations at User Groups and Country Meetings as well as a session at EMEARC14 in Cape Town.


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