Key programmatic areas

The OCLC Research Library Partnership focuses its efforts in four primary programmatic areas, with dedicated staff leading each program of work.

Next Generation Metadata report cover

Next-generation metadata

Metadata is changing. The OCLC RLP Metadata Managers Focus Group brings together community leaders who are charting next-generation metadata standards and practices that are shaping the future.

Our focus-group discussions, facilitated by Richard J. Urban, are synthesized into timely Hanging Together posts and impactful OCLC Research reports, such as Transitioning to the Next Generation of Metadata.

Read the report

The RLP informs broader metadata communities about how metadata is changing through focused Transforming Metadata webinars. Explore the webinar series.

Resource sharing and collective collections

As institutions evolve toward a notion of “collective collections” resource sharing partnerships that expand access to collections are of primary importance.  RLP institutions can participate in the SHARES resource sharing consortium of the OCLC Research Library Partnership. About two-thirds of RLP affiliates participate in SHARES, led by Dennis Massie, which supports resource sharing innovation and best practices and unites trusted partners in providing access to diverse collections. Many of our institutions find it offers significant cost savings, too.

Sustaining Art Research Collections

In addition to being a generous network of trusted partners, SHARES provides robust leadership and innovation to the global resource sharing community, producing tools including:

Explore SHARES

Furthermore, with support from the Kress Foundation and significant co-investment from OCLC, RLP program officers worked in collaboration with our art research library partners to deliver a two-part report series on Sustaining Art Research Collections.

Read the reports

Unique and distinctive collections

Total Cost of Stewardship

OCLC continues our commitment to unique and distinctive collections with a focus on extending reach and impact. Led by Chela Scott Weber, the OCLC Research Library Partnership has delivered outputs of significant influence for the special collections community, such as the Research and Learning Agenda for Archives, Special, and Distinctive Collections in Research Libraries, which offers a collaboratively shaped view of the landscape of challenges and opportunities in this space in North American research libraries.

Read the agenda

The RLP Collection Building and Operational Impacts Working Group came together to address timely stewardship challenges, creating the Total Cost of Stewardship report and tool kit to support archives and special collections in making informed, resource-sensitive collection building decisions.

Read the report

Programming in this area also includes a robust series of discussions and webinars addressing areas of emerging and ongoing need in archives and special collections, such as our work on stewarding audiovisual collections or collections as data.

Hanging Together

Read our OCLC Research blog — Hanging Together, for more context and behind-the-scenes information on these areas of research

Hanging Together

Stay connected

A number of subscription e-mail and discussion lists have been developed for staff at OCLC Research Library Partnership institutions to support continuing conversations about our work, share updates and solicit volunteers for new activities.

View our e-mail and discussion lists

RLP Abstract

RLP Abstract Cover

Everything you want to know about the Research Library Partnership (RLP) in one easy to read and share document.

Download the Abstract

Research support 

Cover art for Social Interoperability in Research Support

The provision of research support services is an area of significant investment for our member libraries. Our research and programming led by Rebecca Bryant offers resources for libraries to learn how other institutions are responding and to discuss local challenges with other libraries worldwide.
One such challenge is the critical need to partner with non-library stakeholders in the provision of research support services. To address this need, we published a report on Social Interoperability in Research Support and followed up with an annual workshop for RLP affiliates.

Read the report

The RLP has hosted a series of webinars, discussions, and thought leadership on the opportunities and obstacles for libraries in research support, including:

Advancing equity, diversity, and inclusion

Cover art for Reimagine Descriptive Worfkflows

Across all these thematic areas, the RLP seeks to support libraries with an ethic of care and mutual support. We particularly want to advance equity, diversity, and inclusion efforts by acknowledging the bias inherent in our descriptions and data and working together to address these harms. The Reimagine Descriptive Workflows report provides a community-informed agenda to better understand and address the harms caused by cultural institutions’ collective descriptions.

 Read the report