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

Throughout 2013 we will continue to inform 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

November Global Council Meeting

November 5-7 2012, the delegates of Global Council convened in Dublin, OH, USA.  As always, this meeting is a mix of business, reports, presentations on new developments and discussions.

A permanent item on the agenda is the President’s Report.  Although, in the spring of this year, he did not expect to be here today Jay Jordan gave his presentation.  This however gave him the opportunity to personally deliver his thanks to the Councils and the membership for the presents and praise he received for his contribution to OCLC.

Jay’s presentation included an overview of the major developments at OCLC.  This time, these included the development of WMS (52 contracts and 147 contracts), work on Linked Open Data, the adoption of the ODC-BY license, the confirmed collaboration with Europeana and the adoption of Schema.org. 

Jay also touched on the current discussion on the definition of membership. Especially from the EMEA Region, as it currently stands the understood definition of membership is where a library is a member if it contributes ‘intellectual content’ to the cooperative.  It has been voiced that owing to many acquisitions of library systems, especially in Europe, this might exclude too many libraries who contribute in a different way, such as using ILS services. The Membership Committee will take this discussion further in February 2013 at the EMEA Regional Council, which will provide further input into this discussion.  If you are interested in this topic please feel free to send your comments or ideas to the Member to Member email address, m2meditor@oclc.org.

Sandy Yee, the new Chair of the Board of Trustees, reported on the work of the Board. Through her compact presentation, we learnt that the Board’s priorities include the development of WMS, Open Data licensing, global pricing structures and the changing Incentive Programme.  Sandy also explained the process for appointing a new CEO, but there has been no planning yet so we are unable to give updates on the current process.

With regards to the composition of the Board, it may be noted here that Barbara Lison, Director of the Bremen Public Libraries, is one of the new members of the Board of Trustees.  Elisabeth Niggeman, Director of the National Library in Germany, has now retired as a member of the Board.

Amongst the usual business and reports, two excellent presentations stood out in this meeting: the Linked Data presentation by OCLC Technology Evangelist Richard Wallis, and the linking Wikipedia to library content presented by Max Klein, Wikipedian.  At last, now we understand all about Linked Data thanks to Richard Wallis and Max Klein who reported on his project to install a ‘bot’ to link references in Wikipedia to WorldCat; such an obvious helpful services – why didn’t I think of this before?

In the time allotted for discussion, we experimented with small groups having simultaneous discussions and then reporting back to the whole group. Topics included membership definition, WorldCat quality, data security, the possible erection of a Non-Latin Script Interest Group, and Archives and Museums Interests. One concrete result of these discussions was that a Museum & Archives Interest Group might be started.

An important part of the ‘business’ we had to partake in as delegates, was to adopt changed Byelaws for Global Council. The new byelaws now state that the chair and vice-chair of Global Council do not have to be a delegate and the past chair of Global is added as an ex officio member to the Executive Committee. These changes were made to ensure continuity in the governance structure. As a result, past chair of Global Council and EMEA Regional Council delegate Berndt Dugall was installed as a member of the Executive Committee.  His place at the EMEA Regional Council Executive Committee for Fiscal Year 2012-2013 will be filled by Annette LeRoux, from South Africa. We are delighted that she will join us!

If you are curious to see some of the presentations from the Global Council Meeting yourself you can access them on the Global Council pages of the OCLC website.  


OCLC Europe, Middle East and Africa Regional Council Meeting 2013



On 26 and 27 February 2013 OCLC's Europe, Middle East and Africa Regional Council (EMEARC) will hold its Member Meeting in the Palais des Congrès, Strasbourg, France.

Why should you attend?

There are several reasons why you should attend this meeting:

First of all, the meeting is in fact also a conference, and not any conference! It a conference on a very hot topic, Dynamic Data, which is one of the most important factors to deal with in today’s information world, where everyone is talking about the “cloud” and its possibilities which in fact are based on this data, called dynamic.

  • What is Dynamic Data? Come and find out!
  • How could Dynamic Data be used? Join us and find out!
  • Who creates Dynamic Data? Attend and find out!

The conference will guide us through the rapid evolutions of data management and explore the agendas that are driving the revolution in technology.  Sessions such as The Power of Shared Data, The Progress of moving data to the cloud and Innovating with Data will present a broad spectrum of opportunities for libraries to innovate their services.  A  range of pre-conference member sessions are offered with a variety of topics such as Linked Data, WorldShare Management Services, Discovery and Resource sharing and Digital collection building using Contentdm. We have also invited Members to take an active part in the meeting by hosting a Poster Session on innovations in data visualization and management.

One of the important reasons for this meeting is to provide a meeting point for OCLC members and other colleagues across the region.  It is a great opportunity to meet old and future members, to chat with colleagues and share experiences.  It is also a wonderful opportunity to find out more about OCLC services and to learn about on-going research at OCLC which really has changed the information landscape in many regions of the world, which also will have great impact on our libraries and their survival.

Another point that makes this meeting so special is the location, Strasbourg.  Come and experience this beautiful French city, situated in the Alsace wine district on the banks of the river Rhine. Strasbourg is the seat of several European Institutions such as the European Parliament, which you have the opportunity to visit as part of an additional enrichment programme.  The old town is a “must do”,  with the Cathedral of Notre Dame, and the conference dinner will be served in the L’Ancienne Douane, a wonderful old historical building where we will taste traditional Alsace gastronomy and renowned local wines. 

Finally, the last reason why you should catch this opportunity:  There is no conference fee!

Welcome to Strasbourg!

Visit the EMEARC website to find out more. 

Annsofie Oscarsson


A member is a member is a member: Poul Erlandsen

For OCLC, which as we know is a membership organisation, it is important to define who actually constitutes the membership. It is important in the context of the overall communication from OCLC to member libraries, but it is especially important during elections conducted every year where members have the opportunity to elect their representatives in OCLC's governing bodies.

For libraries in our region EMEA (Europe, Middle East & Africa) this means to elect members to the OCLC Global Council. These elected members also form the Executive Committee of the EMEA Regional Council.

For libraries and other cultural heritage organisations who are members it may also be interesting to be able to identify who are OCLC members in their own country or region.

The topic of membership has for several years regularly been on the agenda at meetings of the former Members Council - now Global Council - and in 2009, the current rules that define membership were adopted. These are provisions that are designed in a way to be as inclusive as possible. The only requirements to obtain membership are currently that an organisation:

  • embraces the OCLC values of cooperation and sharing
  • contractually agrees to contribute intellectual content, for example bibliographic records, or share resources with the entire Cooperative (and so will also be using an OCLC product or service).

When talking with libraries in the EMEA region, we hear too often that there is great uncertainty about membership, and many do not know how membership is defined. Many libraries are actually members without knowing it, while others believe themselves to be members without this being the case.

One situation which can cause this uncertainty is that not only in the EMEA region but also globally we have in recent years seen delivery of bibliographic records to WorldCat that are not made by individual libraries but of so-called aggregators on behalf of an often large group of libraries. This can typically be a national union catalogue delivered on behalf of hundreds of libraries, which thus automatically gain membership. This new situation has accelerated the need for a new look into the definition of membership.

Another question we are often presented with is, what benefits can be achieved through membership of OCLC? Are there any special benefits that are available to members only? Is OCLC not just a company that sells products like many other companies we know?

Board of Trustees
Global Council

We have listened to all your questions and comments received regarding membership and therefore the EMEA Regional Council's Executive Committee has decided that there is a need to re-raise the issue in Global Council, and so we chose to present a resolution at the recent meeting of Global Council held in November 2012. The resolution we put forward contained various proposals which we believe will alleviate many of the problems we see today.

The outcome of the November meeting was that the case will now be brought up in the Joint Global Council / Board of Trustees Membership Committee. This will meet in early February and will have a thorough discussion of our suggestions. We hope this will result in a proposal for revision of the existing provisions.


OCLC - What makes it work?: Bert Looper


Bert Looper, director of Tresoar, a merger of the state-archives, the public library and the literary museum of the province of Friesland (Netherlands) presented himself as an EMEA and Global Council delegate during the 2012 Birmingham conference. Read about his motivation to participate with OCLC.


I often ask myself: what is my most critical responsibility?

Of course, there are my own people, there are finances, there is a board of trustees but I am more and more convinced that there is only one answer possible, one answer that touches the heart of the business we are in.  I am, we are, as librarians, archivists and museum directors the gatekeepers to a very important, vital and global domain. It is the cultural domain of knowledge, of reflection, of individual and collective memory. We provide access to a public domain, a public space that is essential for the wellbeing of people and society. It is a domain that is always under threat of being occupied, commercialized and manipulated but there is one important power to make people aware of the importance of that domain, to make them self confident, to make them feel strong in their domain … and that is the power of free, open, clear and understandable access to that domain. We as librarians, archivists and museum directors are providing the fuel and the vehicle, the data, the information and the instruments of access to give people the power to understand reality and to create their own reality. That is what makes us going as information professionals.

In the digital era, our responsibility as gatekeepers is deepened and widened by the fact that the traditional organisational segregation of disciplines disappears. My own organisation is a merger of an archival organisation, a library and a museum. Only ten years ago those disciplines were separate worlds, but nowadays it is one powerful organisation in the heart of Frisian identity, collective memory and knowledge.

I think that in the forthcoming years, the integration of those disciplines, the integration of archival and library systems, is the key to our societal relevance and success. There are already wonderful examples of the combination of archival and library information, enabling people to personalise the information: it is about their street, their village and their ancestors. To achieve that success we depend on the building of strong systems that give access to the cultural domain. OCLC as a cooperative plays a vital role in the development and integration of existing and new systems that cover the whole domain of knowledge and personal and collective memory.

Against my own professional background and the background of my multidisciplinary organisation and of the need for integration, I want to participate in OCLC.  For us all, it is an ideal platform to make a contribution to that important task of giving people access to essentially, themselves!


German Libraries and OCLC: Rupert Schaab

A lot of German libraries are not aware of being members of the OCLC cooperative. In Germany the libraries get in contact with OCLC mainly in three different ways. The academic libraries of eleven states, organised in three networks (GBV, HEBIS and SWB) are still using CBS for their regional union catalogues, purchased by OCLC from the not for profit organisation PICA in the Netherlands.

In 2005 OCLC purchased the commercial developer and vendor of an ILS "SISIS", mainly used by the academic libraries of three other states.  Most of these academic libraries still have the perception that OCLC is a vendor and that OCLC staff from Oberhaching and Leiden simply manage minor technological changes in the CBS and SISIS systems. So there are no obvious advantages for the cooperation with or within OCLC. (For resource sharing other models and solutions are running in Germany.)

Many German academic libraries are representing their titles and holdings in WorldCat, hoping for more visibility in the Web, but the Karlsruhe Virtual Catalogue (KVK) in Germany is far more propagated and used. So many German libraries are a member of the OCLC cooperative by contributing their records to WorldCat via their networks, but that doesn't matter. In the focus of the German academic libraries are their networks and the cooperation between these networks, but still not OCLC. Most libraries directors are still convinced, that they would need a national platform and not a global service in the cloud.

In 2011 OCLC bought BOND, the biggest provider of the German public libraries with ILS "Bibliotheca". But the public libraries do not contribute traditionally to a network and so do not become members of the OCLC cooperative and don't contribute to WorldCat. OCLC for them is still only a vendor. Most German librarians don’t know that the OCLC GmbH in Oberhaching is owned only by the membership organization, OCLC. 

The poor visibility of the OCLC cooperative in Germany is not reflective of the prominent role OCLC plays in putting libraries at a global scale. The emerging semantic web needs open linked data services like the Virtual Authority File (VIAF), the Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC) and the Faceted Application of Subject Terminology (FAST) of the Library of Congress Subject Headings. WorldCat will also play the role of a central hub for open linked data. OCLC has to play a prominent role developing and sustaining global reference centres and preserving them free and neutrally for applications from any end user, library’s, network, search engine, library supplier, ILS vendor and so on. For these pro bono services the OCLC cooperative needs a sound and sustainable economic basis and also the engagement of the members.

To get more involvement of German libraries in the cooperative, we in Germany have to look more beyond our horizons and we need also changes in the regulations for membership (e.g. opt in).


An Introduction into French Libraries:
Raymond Bérard

From One Revolution to Another

Although the organisation of French libraries takes its source in the French Revolution - the confiscation of Church and Nobility property that led to a redistribution of book “deposits” which then fed library collections - it is only at the beginning of the twentieth century that, under the influence of Eugène Morel, the concept of "public library" was born in France on the Anglo-Saxon model.


A French tradition of state participation in the life of libraries

French libraries are part of a complex and moving institutional environment. Long supervised by the State - as is still the case for the French National Library (BnF) and Bibliothèque publique d’information (BPI), both placed under the authority of the Ministry of Culture - University Libraries (133) and of other academic institutions (37 in 2012) saw their positioning change radically with the recent law introducing autonomy in universities (2011).

Regarding public libraries, 4213 municipal libraries (including 54 "listed" libraries with large heritage collections) and 97 “départementales” (county) libraries are now governed by local authorities as a result of the 1982 decentralisation laws. The 90s saw a real building fever with a new concept: the mediathèque (media library) and increased cooperation between local authorities.

Whatever their status or class, French librarians are civil servants. They are hired through competitive examinations and share the same vocational training at the French national school of library and information science: ENSSIB.

Diversity and convergence

Despite the diversity of the collections and the public they serve, French libraries are facing common problems in the digital era: what future for the print collections? How effectively renew mediation? Whether these issues are related to digitizing, catalogues, long term archiving or the ever increasing cost of electronic resources, the "digital revolution" demands more pooling, cooperation and decompartmentalisation between skills and institutions.

Raymond Bérard – Director of ABES (Agence bibliographique de l’enseignement supérieur)