Issue 1 : Fourth Quarter : April–June 2011 :: OCLC 754109685 : ISSN 2163-8675

Message from Lorcan Dempsey

This is the first installment of The OCLC Research Quarterly Highlights, a periodic bulletin about OCLC Research. It will provide highlights of the previous quarter's research work, including reports from the Innovation Lab, the OCLC Research Library Partnership, and the occasional look at emerging items. The emphasis will be on collecting and summarizing items of significance for your attention, with links to more complete discussions elsewhere on the OCLC Research Web site.

OCLC Research has been a part of OCLC from near the beginning. It has always had a dual role, as a shared resource for the OCLC membership and as an internal consultancy and advanced development group. In the former role it seeks to advance the state of the art of relevant technologies. It has had a historic specialty in metadata and knowledge organization which remains strong and is visible here in discussion of the Virtual International Authority File alongside other work. The range of its interests is much wider, though, as represented in the themes around which our work is organized. These are outlined in the Activities section below, and treated in detail on our Web site.

The Innovation Lab continues the internal role, providing a space in which to explore technical and service challenges and develop new approaches. We also contribute technologies and data to OCLC services and products, as in WorldCat Identities and Genres for example.

This period marks the transition of the RLG Partnership to the OCLC Research Library Partnership and we have been very encouraged as libraries have chosen to affiliate to work with us on our collective future.

OCLC Research represents one of the largest organizations in the world dedicated to thinking about library technologies and futures. Its approach is consistent with the overall OCLC approach: to provide shared capacity for libraries and a framework through which they can address shared issues.

Please let us know what you think of this publication, or get in touch with me or any of my colleagues if you would like to discuss our work.


John MacCollJohn MacColl and Michael Jubb
Supporting Research: Environments, Administration and Libraries

This report synthesizes the results of two parallel studies of research support services in US and UK universities that OCLC Research and the UK's Research Information Network undertook last year. (23 June 2011)

Lynn Silipigni ConnawayLynn Silipigni Connaway, Timothy J. Dickey, and Marie L. Radford
"If It is Too Inconvenient, I'm Not Going After It:" Convenience as a Critical Factor in Information-seeking Behaviors

The authors explore empirical evidence for convenience as a critical factor in information seeking, using data from two IMLS-funded user studies. (6 June 2011)

Ricky ErwayRicky Erway
Rapid Capture: Faster Throughput in Digitization of Special Collections

This report provides examples of how to simplify and streamline digital capture of non-book collections. (3 May 2011)

Jennifer SchaffnerJennifer Schaffner, Francine Snyder, and Shannon Supple
Scan and Deliver: Managing User-initiated Digitization in Special Collections and Archives

This report presents strategies for providing efficient and economical delivery of digital copies of materials in special collections. (14 April 2011)


OCLC Research and RLUK to Survey Special Collections and Archives Within the UK and Ireland
30 June 2011
This joint project builds on a similar one conducted by OCLC Research in 2009 that gathered data about special collections in the United States and Canada. More...
ACRL Research Planning and Review Committee Releases Environmental Scan 2010
20 June 2011
OCLC Senior Research Scientist Lynn Silipigni Connaway, Ph.D., was vice-chair of the committee while it developed this report; she becomes chair for 2011-12, and will lead the group's work next year on the new Top Ten Trends in Academic Libraries. Read more at More...
Two OCLC Researchers Serve ACRL Research Planning and Review Committee
14 June 2011
Senior Research Scientist Lynn Silipigni Connaway, Ph.D., will chair the committee in 2011-12. Senior Program Officer Merrilee Proffitt recently was appointed to the committee by ACRL leadership. More...
New OCLC Research YouTube Video: "A Conversation with SAA VP/President-elect Jackie Dooley"
7 June 2011
In this ten-minute video, OCLC Research program officer Jackie Dooley discusses her plans and aspirations as the upcoming Vice President/President-elect of the Society of American Archivists. More...
FAST Converter, a Web Interface for Converting LCSH Headings to FAST Headings, is now Available
20 May 2011
This new prototype accepts either single headings or small sets of bibliographic records for conversion. More...
OCLC Research Scientist Lynn Silipigni Connaway Elected ALA Library Research Round Table Vice-chair/Chair-elect
9 May 2011
Round Tables are membership groups within the American Library Association; the terms of office run from June 2011 through the 2013 Annual Conference. More...
OCLC Research Program Officer Jackie Dooley Elected Vice President/President Elect of Society of American Archivists
2 May 2011
Her one-year term as Vice President will begin in August, and she will serve as SAA's 68th President in 2012-2013. More...


OCLC Research at ALA Annual New Orleans, Louisiana (USA)
25-27 June 2011
OCLC Research staff attended the ALA annual meeting, gave presentations and met with OCLC Research Library Partners to discuss work currently underway. More...
OCLC Research Distinguished Seminar Series Presentation: "The 'Service Turn' and the Future of the Academic Library," with Scott Walter
16 July 2011
Scott Walter from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign will discuss the future of "distinctive collections" at a time when access to content is becoming increasingly common and also argue that the future of the academic library depends on our ability to make a "service turn" in our thinking. More...
FutureCast: Shaping Research Libraries in a Networked Age, Georgetown University Hotel and Conference Center, Washington, D.C. (USA)
8-10 June 2011
This was a lively gathering of current and new OCLC Research Library Partners who engaged in thought-provoking presentations and insightful discussions about the future environment that will impact our work. Meeting outputs are now available...
TAI CHI Webinar: Using CSS3 in Web Design #orcss3 Online via WebEx
26 April 2011
This webinar provided a detailed look at how CSS3 and its applications can enrich Web design. A recording is now available...

Looking Beyond the Quarter...

OCLC Research Library Partnership Orientation Webinars
11 and 16 August 2011

Both new and old Partners are encouraged to attend one of these webinars to find out how to get the most out of OCLC Research Library Partnership affiliation. In each of these webinars, we’ll discuss the variety of communications vehicles you can use to receive information about the OCLC Research Library Partnership, as well as ways you can access outputs that showcase the progress of our work, such as reports, webinars and presentations. We’ll also discuss how you can take advantage of the many benefits of Partnership, the types of opportunities you can engage in, the different ways in which you can contribute to the Partnership, and more.

We encourage Partners to register to attend whichever webinar works best with your schedule:

  • Register here* to attend the webinar on 11 August at 4 pm EDT (UTC 20:00)
  • Register here* to attend the webinar on 16 August at 11 am EDT (UTC 15:00)
New Report: Seeking Synchronicity: Revelations and Recommendations for Virtual Reference
18 July 2011
Seeking Synchronicity report

A rich resource for further exploration of Virtual Reference (VR) services, this report distills five years of research into a readable summary that includes valuable statistics, lists of references, additional readings, and specific recommendations for what libraries and librarians can do to move VR forward in local environments. More...

OCLC Research Library Partnership Launches
1 July 2011
For libraries and other research institutions who want to invest money and staff in collaboratively designing their future services, the OCLC Research Libary Partnership is a global alliance of like-minded institutions that focuses on making operational processes more efficient and shaping new scholarly services by directly engaging senior managers. More...

OCLC Researcher Spotlight—Thom Hickey on Linked Data and VIAF

Thom HickeyThe idea of linking data has been a strong thread in many research projects over the years. Traditionally librarians have linked records together by controlling the form of names used in library catalogs. If that is done conscientiously, it will pull together all the bibliographic information about a person, place or corporation the library holds. Much of this authority control is now done at the national, and sometimes, international level, but is not consistent around the world. These inconsistencies can make it difficult to find material by Tchaikovsky when he may be identified as Chaikovskiï, or even Чайковский in some catalogs. Within OCLC's WorldCat it is possible to link names to the LC/NACO authority file, but until recently there was no way to make those linkages work outside that regime. What is now called linked data extends these ideas with the hope that a coherent system of identifiers using URIs will make it possible for machines to more reliably collect and analyze information on the Web.

The Virtual International Authority File (VIAF) is an ongoing cooperative project led by the Library of Congress, the national libraries of France and Germany, and OCLC, linking authority files from libraries and museums around the world. We currently process 21 files, mostly from national libraries, covering nearly 15 million people, corporations and places. VIAF can form a bridge between authority files, and as it creates its own identifier for the entities, becomes an authority file in its own right. OCLC makes VIAF available publicly at, where there are both machine and human interfaces to it, and make compilations available to projects such as Europeana. By providing a linked-data view of data that has traditionally been difficult to access, we hope that the many decades of work that libraries have invested in controlling a vast number of names will be useful far beyond the boundaries of libraries.



MapFAST—a mashup prototype that uses a Google Maps interface to present FAST Geographic authority records. More...

VIAF interface

VIAF (Virtual International Authority File—VIAF explores virtually combining the name authority files of national level authority files into a single name authority service. More...