The OCLC Research Library Partnership

The OCLC Research Library Partnership strategically invests resources in key areas important for research libraries, to make operational processes more efficient and to support emerging areas of practice.

We create opportunities for collaboration and peer learning through working groups, interest groups, webinars, and special events. The RLP leverages the deep expertise of OCLC Research and is informed by an international, system-wide perspective.

Research support

The provision of research support services is an area of significant investment for our member libraries. Our research and programming offers resources for libraries to learn how other institutions are responding and to discuss local challenges with other libraries worldwide.

In late 2018 we hosted a Research Data Management (RDM) webinar series and interest group for RLP members, based on the extensive work encompassed in The Realities of Research Data Management report series. This learning curriculum is now condensed into an RDM Planning Guide.

We’re continuing this engagement through the Research Support Interest Group, which meets quarterly on topics of interest, sourced by its participants.

“The RDM Interest Group has provided us with . . . an advanced introduction to the specific issues regarding the best practices for implementing RDM services. . . .[T]hese interest group discussions have been a critical resource in formulating our future RDM strategy at our laboratory.”

Adrian Gomez, Science Informationist, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, from RDM: A challenge too big to tackle alone

Unique and distinctive collections

OCLC continues our commitment to unique and distinctive collections with a focus on extending reach and impact. Recent efforts include assisting libraries to address the challenges of managing digitization, born digital curation, and discoverability in order to maximize value for researchers. Using our Research and Learning Agenda, we are exploring today’s challenges for the profession and together exploring these challenges through the Collection Building and Operational Impacts Working Group.

We also recently conducted a survey focused on A/V materials. The results of the survey and outcomes of the working group will shape future programming and will be shared with the community.

Resource sharing

As institutions evolve toward a notion of “collective collections,” resource sharing partnerships that expand access to collections are of primary importance. SHARES, the resource sharing arm of the RLP, is a generous network of trusted partners that provides access to libraries’ strong, rich, diverse, and unique collections. SHARES also supports active collaboration to innovate and support best practices for resource sharing. By joining the Research Library Partnership, institutions have the opportunity to join the SHARES resource sharing consortium.

There is a newly formed SHARES working group establishing protocols for sharing special collections via ILL, which is an example of blending programmatic areas. Program Officer Dennis Massie is facilitating partner contribution to new research on library user behaviors, expectations, and preferences being conducted by Dr. Lynn Silipigni Connaway.

Next generation metadata

A commitment to metadata is part of OCLC’s DNA. The OCLC RLP Metadata Managers Focus Group explores strategies on how metadata can work harder and smarter. Over the last year, the focus group supported six in-depth conversations on topics ranging from measuring the value of cataloging to creating metadata for equity, diversity, and inclusion, to serving needs of audio-visual collections.

This group is a locus point that connects our community both to influence OCLC’s data research and to new pilot programs. Read more about this group's work.

“I get a chance to meet with others excited by metadata challenges and really dive deep into the issues that are at the forefront of our daily working lives.”

Stephen Hearn, Metadata Strategist, University of Minnesota, from Too much metadata?

Recent research supported by the RLP:

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The Realities of Research Data Management
A four-part series, supplemented by webinars and learning guides, that explores how research universities are addressing the challenge of managing research data throughout the research lifecycle. We examine the context, influences, and choices higher education institutions face in building or acquiring RDM capacity—we discuss the infrastructure, services, and other resources needed to support emerging data management practices.

International Linked Data Survey
Linked Data is about communities agreeing on the meaning of their data and sharing it in a massively networked information space. OCLC Research is a leader in driving this transformation in the library community. This work was inspired by discussions in our Metadata Managers group.

Research and Learning Agenda for Archives, Special, and Distinctive Collections in Research Libraries
This position paper was created with the input of dozens of RLP members and is intended as a map for OCLC with many potential routes for further exploration and engagement with allied institutions.

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An Increasing Role for Libraries in Research Information Management

OCLC Research recognizes the growing importance of research information management (RIM) to research libraries, and is conducting research on behalf of the library community to better understand library roles and institutional needs in this rapidly changing ecosystem.

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

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.

Our e-mail and discussion lists