Have you noticed that many of the changes you expected in five years are instead happening now? Are you feeling increased pressure to deliver tomorrow’s results with today’s resources?
I am incredibly proud of what we’ve accomplished together with libraries this year. And we look forward to continuing to collaborate in meaningful ways to secure a thriving future for all libraries.
The last two years ushered in sweeping changes that challenged our routines and our resolve. We’ve witnessed digital transformation in many facets of how we live and work. We have adapted, sometimes happily and sometimes begrudgingly, to the shifts.
At OCLC, we were investing in new services, technology, and infrastructure before the COVID-19 pandemic acceleration started. That gave us a head start to step up and meet the rapidly evolving needs of libraries through critically important research, training, and new services. We have invested heavily in people, processes, and technology. Because of those investments, we were able to pivot, innovate at a faster pace than ever before, and help libraries advance when they were needed most to support communities in crisis.
This report highlights innovations and accomplishments of the past year. It celebrates the work of more than a thousand OCLC associates who worked tirelessly to deliver new and updated services. The results showcase what was a remarkable breakthrough year. Despite significant headwinds, we released new research, services, and product enhancements that are making a significant difference for libraries around the world.
A few highlights:
- We invested heavily in the quality of WorldCat®, the global infrastructure used by tens of thousands of libraries. We enriched and improved more than 26 million records and participating libraries helped enrich a million more. Through new investments in machine learning, we eliminated 6 million duplicate records and prevented 400 million duplicate records from being added.
- A newly designed knowledge base fast-tracked the ability of libraries to deliver e-content to their users. On average, electronic resources are now available twenty times faster.
- We released a free, streamlined holdings update service, making library collections more discoverable.
- We expanded our decade-long partnership with Google by adding more than 81 million library catalog links to Google Search results. We are now the largest provider of library data to Google and are working to add even more library collections to this program.
- We completed development of the reimagined WorldCat.org, providing libraries the opportunity to be visible where the search for information begins. The new WorldCat.org is more user-friendly, fully mobile, and more secure, and for the first time ever, able to include electronic resources from library collections.
- We dramatically improved resource sharing efficiency and performance. The data we collectively share in WorldCat and our network enabled libraries to reduce average turnaround time among libraries in our Express program by 50%. We introduced smart lender strings, which improved turnaround times by another 36%.
- OCLC Research continued to guide the community with critical analysis and recommendations. The REALM project helped libraries assess the implications of COVID-19 variants, vaccines, and facilities requirements. Reimagining Descriptive Workflows sets out a community agenda to address harm caused by legacy cataloging practices in cultural institutions.
- And we accomplished so much more, including 200 new enhancements to WorldShare® Management Services (WMS), 58 new libraries in Europe joining the OCLC Wise® public library community, and tens of thousands of librarians learning through our WebJunction® platform.
It’s always encouraging to hear how our investments and innovations impact you and your communities:
“We love [the] Express [digital delivery program]. I have received multiple emails from patrons thanking me for the ‘amazing’ fast service. Very, very pleased.”
Library Technician, Interlibrary Loan
Lebanon Valley College
“We greatly appreciate the work we do with OCLC—it’s a truly extraordinary partnership.”
Yolanda de la Iglesia Sánchez
Culture Directorate, Department of Libraries and Documentation
“I was researching some options, as this is our first venture into curbside, and my director brought CapiraCurbside to my attention. The service had all the features we were looking for.”
Plainsboro Public Library
“Remote access to e-resources emerged as a priority … we're satisfied that we made the right choice with EZproxy. We found it remarkably easy to get remote access up and running in a short period of time.”
Royal Library of Belgium
I am incredibly proud of what we’ve accomplished together with libraries this year. And we look forward to continuing to collaborate in meaningful ways to secure a thriving future for all libraries. I want to thank the many librarians who share their needs and participate in our councils, membership groups, product advisory panels, research, and numerous conferences. On behalf of all OCLC associates, we deeply appreciate your contributions and partnership. It is an honor to work with you.
OCLC President and Chief Executive Officer