Welcome to the first edition of the Member to Member Newsletter brought to you by the EMEA Regional Council Executive Comittee.  

Throughout the year we will be informing you, as members, with a variety of news items and updates on activities at OCLC EMEA Regional Council and OCLC Global Council.  As joint editors we encourage you to express your views by contacting us at m2meditor@oclc.org.

Editors, Anja Smit and Cendrella Habre                                                                 

In this edition


Message from Anja Smit, Chair EMEARC

Action Plan for EMEA Regional Council 2012/13:
Building a Strong Community

The theme of the Action Plan for the coming year, Building a Strong Community, expresses the continuing need to build awareness within the community of Members which together form the Europe, Middle East and Africa Regional Council within the OCLC global cooperative.

It is imperative that we understand the diverse situation within the EMEA regions within the Executive Committee, with the goal of identifying common issues to bring to Global Council. We need to build a strong identity with considerable influence for the EMEA Regional Council (EMEARC) within Global Council and its Committees and Task Forces.

Therefore, there will be continuing efforts to enhance communication within the EMEA Membership community and to raise awareness of opportunities for members to participate in the governance of OCLC.

Special attention will be given to the broader discussion on the concept of membership in OCLC’s Membership Committee. It proves to be unclear to many of us whether or not we are a member of OCLC and if so what that means.

Do you share this experience? Do you have any questions on this issue for your organisation?

Communications within the member community will be enhanced by activities such as, establishing an Arabic Interest Group and having a visible presence on social media. In order for members to be able to meet face-to-face, several meetings will be organised across selected parts of the EMEA region, such as Italy, United Kingdom, Eastern Europe and Egypt.

Also, the Nominating Committee will work hard this year to ensure continuity of excellent, both quantitative and qualitative, representation of the membership in the EMEA region. If you are interested in learning more about how to become a delegate to Global Council, please let us know.

And, last but certainly not least: SAVE THE DATE! The annual EMEA Regional Council Member meeting 2013 will be held on 26 and 27 February 2013 in Strasbourg, France. We would be delighted to welcome you to our discussions.


Membership meetings

An opportunity to discuss issues that are relevant to your country or region and meet OCLC EMEA Global Council Delegates

The OCLC EMEA Regional Council Executive Committee introduced regional membership meetings two years ago in an attempt to bring the cooperative closer to members – particularly those for whom the annual EMEARC meeting may be too far away to attend. In 2010 meetings were held in four locations in South Africa and were led by Gwenda Thomas, at that time an OCLC Global Council Delegate and Chair of EMEA Regional Council.

This year a meeting was held in Beirut, Lebanon and hosted by Cendrella Habre, Lebanese American University and a new OCLC Global Council Delegate. Cendrella wanted to hear from her new constituency and invited library members from across the Middle East region including Egypt, UAE and Lebanon to come to her library to participate in a programme that included Robin Green, 2011/12 Chair of the EMEA Regional Council.

The member led presentations included:

  • Sawsan Habre, ILL/DDS librarian (LAU) spoke about cost effectiveness of the OCLC resource sharing service.
  • Rehab Ouf, Arabic Standards Department, Bibliotheca Alexandrina (Egypt), gave a presentation on their experience of Arabizing the Dewey Decimal Classification in cooperation with OCLC.
  • David Nelson, Associate Dean, American University in Cairo, Main Library, lectured about the benefits of the lengthy partnership between AUC and OCLC.
  • Mahmoud Khalif, OCLC Fellow, described his experience of the OCLC Fellowship program. 
Cendrella Habre

Cendrella Habre, OCLC Global Council Delegate introducing Robin Green, Chair OCLC EMEA Regional Council at the OCLC Membership Meeting, Lebanese American University, Beirut.

Member Meeting

Sawsan Habre, Mahmoud Khalif, Rehab Ouf, David Nelson and Janet Lees spoke at the Membership Meeting in Beirut.

Robin Green, Chair EMEARC talked about OCLC as a collaborative and detailed the benefits to his institution the University of Warwick in the UK. Janet Lees, OCLC EMEA Community Liaison gave an update on OCLC’s Webscale initiatives and “how to get the best out of OCLC membership”.

After a traditional Lebanese lunch Arthur Smith, Director Strategic Business Development, Middle East and India led a Town Hall meeting that provided the opportunity for members to indicate topics that they wanted Cendrella to take on board as an OCLC Global Council Delegate – an opportunity she will have at November’s Global Council Meeting where an Arabic Interest Group will be proposed.

Would you like a membership meeting in your country/region? Would you be prepared to host a meeting at your institution?

Would you like your OCLC Global Council Delegate to speak at a local meeting?

To find out more about opportunities to engage with your OCLC Global Council Delegate contact them directly or email m2meditor@oclc.org.


What Makes a Good Delegate

Would you like to join the EMEARC Executive Committee and represent OCLC EMEA at OCLC Global Council? Next month the formal call for nominations will be circulated to the member representatives in each member library in the region. There will be 5 Open Positions – here’s a checklist of the qualities that make a good Delegate

  • Hold a leadership position in an OCLC EMEA member institution
  • Understand OCLC’s mission and vision
  • Experience of membership bodies and organisations / consortia
  • Understand current developments impacting libraries
  • Hold a vision for the future of libraries
  • Active in national / international conferences, meetings, committees
  • Strong communication skills in English
  • Able and willing to share experience (verbal, written, social media)
  • Interested in learning about different environments, cultures, experiences
  • Able to commit to meetings, networking, teleconferences, travel

Did you tick several boxes?

Then consider standing for election as a delegate – for more information contact Janet Lees , OCLC EMEA Community Liaison janet.lees@oclc.org 


EMEA Regional Council Annual Meeting 2013

Come and meet fellow members from the region at the 2013 EMEARC Annual Meeting.

The theme is Dynamic Data: a world of possibilities.  The meeting will provide you with an opportunity to find out how the work of libraries to share and aggregate data, is creating massive opportunities for libraries of the future to engage at the scale of the World Wide Web.  

As governments prioritise the opening of public assets to make them more accessible for the purposes of research and study, library data has a greater significance than ever before.

At the same time, library data has a massive appeal in the context of the Web. Technologists like semantically strong, large-scale aggregations of data. So we find terms like linked data and RDF entering the library lexicon.

At the 2013 meeting, we will discuss how our efforts of the past to share and aggregate data within the community are creating massive opportunities for libraries of the future. We will discover more about national digital agendas and we will take a closer look at some of the innovations in data management that are revolutionising the way we process and understand information.

The 2013 EMEA Regional Council Meeting assembles a range of keynote speakers and sessions from across our region to explore these important agendas.

The conference website and full programme will be available at the end of October and you will be able to register at that time.


Free Training now available for OCLC Cataloguing & QuestionPoint Users in EMEA Region

OCLC are now offering free of charge WebEx training in Cataloguing and QuestionPoint. Following on the success of the training portal initiative in North America the UK office will be offering the same courses, delivered in English, but at a time to suit member libraries in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Christine Willott will be delivering QuestionPoint courses. Christine has been implementing QP in libraries in Europe and the Middle East for several years. Cataloguing training will be delivered by Derek Taylor. Derek is heavily involved in bibliographic data migration; he has been assisting libraries with their migrations to WorldCat Local and has recently started delivering Cataloguing training via WebEx as well as face-to face.

If you are interested in attending any of these courses then please email Derek Taylor who can inform you on how to register.  Spaces are limited and will be allocated on a first come first basis.


Message from Robin Green: Reaching Out

Europe, Middle East and Africa has been an OCLC Region for a long time, until recently it was primarily used for organisational convenience to enable an organisation that was growing its activities worldwide, and very much so in EMEA countries, to operate effectively.

Although that organisational benefit remains, the creation in 2009 of the Regional Councils, with the Americas becoming ‘just’ one of three Regional Councils rather than the main focus for OCLC reflects a radical change in OCLC thinking and in the purpose of the EMEA Region.

OCLC understands that a global cooperative has to think globally and that it has to understand the different requirements of its members and customers across the world. And they are different: it has been very interesting for me, as a Delegate to Global Council, to learn about the other Regions and that use of OCLC services is not standard across them all – or even within a single Region. For example, EMEA Members and customers are more likely to use one of OCLC’s range of library management systems than Members and customers in the other Regions. This means that the three Regions may be affected to a greater or lesser extent by a change in OCLC’s strategy - such as the move towards a single platform that we are now seeing.

One role of the Regional Council, through Delegates like me who are elected by EMEA Members, is to raise awareness at Global Council - and through it OCLC - of these differences and what is important for EMEA Members, so that EMEA Members are taken into account in OCLC planning.

That sets an immediate challenge for us. Those Members and customers who have been able to get to one or more of our Regional Member Meetings (we’ve had three so far, the last being in Birmingham, UK) will know from the list of those attending these Meetings that we attract Members from all over EMEA. Participants from 23 countries came to the Birmingham meeting meaning a wide range of languages, cultures and, of course, different interests were present. When you think that the Region as a whole comprises around 2000 Members across 60 countries you can appreciate the difficulties we have in capturing a coherent picture of EMEA requirements and representing these to Global Council.

Compounding this challenge is the fact that ‘the EMEA Region’ and its role in the OCLC Global Cooperative is still new to us all. We are working to bring the Regional Council to Members’ attention so that you will make use of Delegates as a route into Global Council and OCLC – and yes, we can and do influence OCLC – but we realise this isn’t going to be easy or quick.

So, apart from the annual Member Meetings, how do we reach out? One way is for Delegates to actually get on the plane or train and talk to Members, and Cendrella Habre also writes in the Newsletter about our very rewarding Regional Meeting in the Lebanon earlier in 2012. This was the second time we have done this – the first was in South Africa – and they’ve worked well, therefore it’s an initiative we will take forward in our Action Plans for this year and beyond.

Another route we have taken over 2011 and 2012 is for the Delegates to make personal contact, primarily by email but occasionally by phone, with a number of Members in each of the 60 countries in the Region. This was to carry out a very unscientific ‘straw poll/survey’ on questions relating to OCLC. We did this for a number of reasons, but an important one was to move beyond an anonymous survey and say ‘hello, I’m one of the Delegates you elected and I’d like to hear your views’.

The questions we asked were around these topics:

  • Do you think of OCLC mainly as a vendor or as a Library cooperative that provides charged-for products (or both of these)?
  • Do you understand why your library is a Member of OCLC (not just a customer)?
  • What benefits do you feel you get as an OCLC Member?
  • What benefits do you think Members should have? 
  • Do you feel you know enough about OCLC developments (does OCLC keep you informed)? 
  • Have you been receiving information about the Regional Council, such as the Member meeting in Birmingham and the recent elections? 
  • Would information on OCLC-related library activities in the EMEA region (for example, a regular informal newsletter) be of interest to you? 
  • What would be the best way for us to send such information - email, Twitter, links to information on the EMEARC Website, or another form? 
  • What issues and challenges do you face in trying to develop your library services? 
  • Could OCLC help you respond to any of these (‘if only OCLC would do this, I could....’)? 
  • OCLC is developing a service that can support Member libraries around the world sharing ideas and working together on projects. As a Member, would you find this useful? 
  • Are there projects you would like to find partners to take on with you?  If OCLC could provide a ‘linking’ service for Members would that be useful for you, or would you find partners in other ways?

As you might imagine, there were a variety of responses to all of these questions. A number of those contacted did not get back to us – but we did expect this, especially given the newness of the Regional Council, plus the fact that we are all busy and some of these questions could take more than a few minutes to think about.

A strong theme amongst those who did reply (and I’d like to thank those who did, as you’ve provided really useful information) was the question of membership. For many Members there is a lack of clarity about what OCLC Membership means, how your organisation becomes a Member and what the benefits of Membership are. We have been feeding this message back to Global Council and OCLC, and it is an issue that is recognised and will be considered in the coming year.

Another very helpful view was support for an EMEA Newsletter to complement the more formal and official material that OCLC produces – and this is our first issue. We’d really like to hear from you what you’d like to see in it – so over to you!

As I said, we chose not to send our questions out to all EMEA Members, but if you weren’t approached and do have some thoughts we’d be very pleased to hear them – just send them to me.

I really enjoyed making new contacts through this exercise, and have one or two good email discussions as a result. I’ve not only heard views on OCLC, I’ve also learned about the very interesting – and sometimes difficult – situations in some of our Members’ countries, and I’m sure we’ll try this approach again.

Robin Green