Issue 2 : First Quarter : July–September 2011

OCLC 754109685 : ISSN 2163-8675

Message from Lorcan Dempsey

Welcome to our second edition. We were very encouraged by the response to the first, and hope that this is equally interesting. OCLC Research has several roles. It carries out shared research and development for the library community. It provides consultancy and support internally at OCLC, in which role it is also home to the OCLC Innovation Lab. And it supports the OCLC Research Library Partnership. I thought I would highlight four areas of our recent work here.

  1. ArchiveGrid. This is a database and discovery service that grew out of RLG's Archival Resources initiative. ArchiveGrid connects you with primary source material held in archives around the world, including historical documents, personal papers, family histories, and more. ArchiveGrid also helps researchers contact archives to request information, arrange a visit, and order copies. ArchiveGrid is currently available as a subscription service at, it will eventually become a free discovery system. To facilitate this transition, OCLC Research is developing a new ArchiveGrid discovery interface that is now freely available at Go look at it. Tell us what you think. And contribute!
  2. OhioLink collection and circulation analysis. We believe that this is the largest ever investigation of book usage data in a library setting. We were very pleased to carry out this major study with our colleagues and neighbors in OhioLink. OCLC Research worked with the Collection Building Task Force of OhioLink to better understand the disposition and usage patterns of collections across Ohio. This work will have important policy and planning implications for the participating libraries, but will also be generally helpful as libraries everywhere consider the nature of their print collections in coming years. We are doing further analysis of the data ourselves, but recognize that its value will be increased if others can also work with it. So, we are pleased to release the data set generated by the work. Further information and links are available at
  3. Website for Small Libraries (WSSL). Many small libraries do not have an effective web presence. Designed to meet the needs of libraries with a collection size under 20,000 items, WSSL allows libraries with no technical staff to expose their library and library collection on the web, with prominent site features for hours of operation, contact information, calendar functions, policy communication, and inventory management, all with built-in mobile web support. The aim is to give libraries a pre-populated, template website which provides very low barriers to entry. It is available on a trial basis until the end of the year, at which time a beta service will be introduced. For more information see
  4. Linked data. Linked data has become a much discussed topic. OCLC Research has been heavily involved. We participated in the W3C Library Linked Data Incubator Group We have brought out VIAF (Virtual International Authority File) as linked data and we have some other resources in preparation. We have been exploring modeling issues with bibliographic data, looking at models from the British Library and Europeana, as well as at (from Google, Microsoft and Yahoo). We look forward to contributing to community discussions around library bibliographic infrastructure as the Library of Congress and others begin redesigning the central parts of that infrastructure. We have also been pleased to work with partners. So, for example, we have worked with Cambridge University Library on the Comet project as part of the UK Discovery initiative. We enriched their data with links and provided some data for release. My colleague Jim Michalko discussed the project, and OCLC's participation, on

I hope you enjoy this newsletter. Get in touch with me or with any of my colleagues if you would like to discuss any aspect of our work.

Regards, Lorcan Dempsey


Lynn Silipigni ConnawayMarie L. Radford, Gary P. Radford, Lynn Silipigni Connaway, and Jocelyn A. DeAngelis
On Virtual Face-work: An Ethnography of Communication Approach to a Live Chat Reference Interaction

Four researchers use an ethnography of communication approach and Erving Goffman's face-work concept to analyze a librarian–user interaction in this article in The Library Quarterly. (30 September 2011)

Merrilee ProffittMartha O'Hara Conway and Merrilee Proffitt
Taking Stock and Making Hay: Archival Collections Assessment

This report identifies projects and methodologies to make it easier for institutions of all types to undertake collections assessment and to encourage a community of practice. (26 September 2011)

Edward T. O'NeillOhioLINK Collection Building Task Force, Julia Gammon and Edward T. O'Neill
OhioLINK-OCLC Collection and Circulation Analysis Project 2011

This report describes a collaborative project between OCLC and OhioLINK that examined circulation in academic libraries, and includes an overview of data publicly available from the activity. (21 September 2011)

Ricky ErwayLeah Prescott and Ricky Erway
Single Search: The Quest for the Holy Grail

This report highlights successful strategies in providing a single point of access to library, archive and museum collections. (22 August 2011)

Rick BennettRick Bennett, Edward T. O'Neill, Kerre Kammerer, and JD Shipengrover
mapFAST: A FAST Geographic Authorities Mashup with Google Maps

mapFAST is a mashup that uses Google Maps to present a different way to look at subject access to bibliographic records. (Published in Code4Lib Journal.) (28 July 2011)

Lynn Silipigni ConnawayLynn Silipigni Connaway and Marie L. Radford
Seeking Synchronicity: Revelations and Recommendations for Virtual Reference

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. (18 July 2011)

Prototypes and Services

OCLC WSSL: Loremville Public Library sample website

New Innovation Lab Prototype: OCLC WSSL: WebSite for Small Libraries—OCLC WSSL is a cloud-based service that provides a simple web presence and a basic inventory management system for libraries with 2 or fewer full-time staff and a collection size under 20,000 items. More...

WorldCat Identities Network—The WorldCat Identities Network gives users the opportunity to visually explore the interconnectivity and relationships between WorldCat Identities More...

ArchiveGrid® interface

ArchiveGrid® is a discovery service that provides access to detailed collection descriptions for materials held in archives throughout the world. OCLC Research is developing a new, freely available system to replace the current subscription service by June 2012. More...


OCLC Researcher and Other Staff Contribute to W3C Library Linked Data Draft Final Report and Other Linked Data Activities
7 July 2011
OCLC Research Software Architect Jeff Young is an author/editor of the Relevant Technologies section of the draft final report of the Library Linked Data Incubator Group of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), which is available for review and comment. More...
Congratulations Dan Cohen, 2011 Kilgour Award Winner!
1 July 2011
Dan was one of the award winners OCLC recognized at its 27 June annual President's Luncheon at the 2011 ALA Annual Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana. More...


Scan and Deliver: Creative User-initiated Digitization in Special Collections and Archives Webinar
22 September 2011
This webinar examines streamlined methods for scanning and delivering digital copies of special collections materials at the request of users. Are you ready to say, "Yes, we scan!"? More...
OCLC Research at the 12th IFLA Interlending & Document Supply Conference
21 September 2011
"Interlending Trending: a Look Ahead from Atop the Data Pile," Dennis Massie, Program Officer. More...
OCLC Research Staff at InfoCamp, the ASIS&T Annual Meeting and Internet Librarian
19 September 2011
Senior research scientist Lynn Silipigni Connaway presented at InfoCamp and ASIS&T; senior program officer Roy Tennant spoke at Internet Librarian. Meeting outputs are now available...
OCLC Research Library Partnership Orientation Webinar Recordings Available
6 September 2011
This webinar provides information to help new, returning and continuing OCLC Research Library Partners get the most out of their OCLC Research Library Partnership affiliation. It also may be of interest to those considering joining the Partnership. A recording is now available...
OCLC Research at SAA
24-27 August 2011
OCLC Research Staff lead several meetings at "ARCHIVES 360°: 75th Annual Meeting of the Society of American Archivists." A recording is now available...
Distinguished Seminar Series Presentation Recordings: "The 'Service Turn' and the Future of the Academic Library"
27 July / 16 June 2011
Scott Walter, Associate University Librarian, Associate Dean of Libraries, and Professor of Library Administration at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. A recording is now available...

Looking Beyond the Quarter...

Seeking Synchronicity Webinar
15 November 2011
OCLC Senior Research Scientist Lynn Silipigni Connaway, Ph.D., and Marie L. Radford, Ph.D., Associate Professor, School of Communication & Information, Rutgers University, will discuss the key findings of their multi-year study that were recently published in the report, Seeking Synchronicity: Revelations and Recommendations for Virtual Reference.
Jackie Dooley at RLUK 2011
24–25 November 2011
Jackie Dooley will speak about the OCLC Research Library Partnership Survey of Special Collections and Archives in the UK and Ireland. London (UK).
Lorcan Dempsey at the Library and Information Community of Québec Conference
1 December 2011
Lorcan Dempsey will present the plenary session "Redefining the Digital Information Environment."

OCLC Researcher Spotlight—Karen Smith-Yoshimura on Social Metadata

Karen Smith-YoshimuraMetadata helps users locate resources that meet their specific needs. But metadata also helps us to understand the data we find and helps us to evaluate what we should spend our time on. Traditionally, staff at libraries, archives, and museums (LAMs) create metadata for the content they manage. However, social metadata—content contributed by users—is evolving as a way to both augment and recontexutalize the content and metadata created by LAMs. Many cultural heritage institutions are interested in learning how to best utilize their users' expertise to enrich their descriptive metadata and improve their users' experiences.

To facilitate this, a 21-member OCLC Research Library Partners Social Metadata Working Group from five countries studied sites supporting social media, conducted surveys and interviews, and gathered an extensive reading list. During 2009-2011 the working group reviewed sites relevant to libraries, archives, and museums that supported such social media features as tagging, comments, reviews, images, videos, ratings, recommendations, lists, links to related articles, etc. The working group members surveyed site managers, analyzed the survey results and discussed the factors that contribute to successful—and not so successful—use of social metadata. We considered issues related to assessment, content, policies, technology, and vocabularies.

This is the largest and most dispersed working group I have ever facilitated, and one of the most engaging. We had so much to share after our two years together, we divided our results into three reports. The first report, Social Metadata for Libraries, Archives, and Museums, Part 1: Site Reviews, published in October 2011, provides an environmental scan of the 76 sites reviewed as well as a more detailed review of 24 representative sites. The second report will provide an analysis of the results from our survey of site managers. The third report will provide recommendations on social metadata features most relevant to libraries, archives, and museums as well as the factors contributing to success, plus an extensive annotated reading list.

We encountered a number of well-designed sites with engaging topics and goals that did not have many user contributions. Reasons for people contributing to sites supporting social media features include: they're enthusiasts, driven by a passion to share with other enthusiasts; the activity is fun and interesting; they feel that they are contributing to the "greater good"; they want to feel part of a community. Consider using third-party sites where user communities already interact with each other.