Issue 3 : Second Quarter : October–December 2011

OCLC 754109685 : ISSN 2163-8675

Message from Lorcan Dempsey

We are pleased again to report on recent work at OCLC Research. I am sometimes asked about the role of OCLC Research and about how it fits into OCLC. Historically, Research has had a dual role: [1] to act as a community resource for shared R&D and [2] to provide advanced development and technical support within OCLC itself. The aim is to connect those roles for the mutual benefit of OCLC and the community it serves. OCLC Research has also committed [3] to enhancing OCLC's engagement with members and to mobilize the community around shared concerns.

OCLC Research: 3 Roles

The addition of the Innovation Lab helps us address [2]. The Lab is a technology based incubator within OCLC Research, providing a framework within which OCLC staff, members, and other organizations can collaborate to advance ideas for new services, service improvements, or technology adoption. The Innovation Lab has accelerated the introduction of new services within OCLC under broad categories of mobile, social, analytics, and services for the smallest libraries. It is an important facilitator of cross company discussion, helping to align technology and service options, creating a bridge between Research and product groups, providing advice or rapid consulting, and jump-starting shared initiatives.

The OCLC Research Library Partnership is an important contribution to [3] providing a venue for research institutions to engage with OCLC to work cooperatively on designing library futures. The RLP has 158 dues-paying members and 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. The OCLC Research Library Partnership is supported by the full capacities of OCLC Research, informed by an international, system-wide perspective and connected to the broad array of OCLC products and services.

We welcome opportunities to talk more about our work so get in touch if you would like to arrange a visit or learn more about what we do.

Regards, Lorcan Dempsey


Lynn Silipigni ConnawayLynn Silipigni Connaway and Timothy J. Dickey
Publisher names in bibliographic data an experimental authority file and a prototype application

The research project presented in this article built an experimental database of authorized names for major publishers worldwide. Library Resources & Technical Services, 55,4.

Lynn Silipigni ConnawayLynn Silipigni Connaway and Marie L. Radford.

Chattin' 'bout my generation: Comparing virtual reference use of Millennials to older adults

In Leading the Reference Renaissance Today's Ideas for Tomorrow's Cutting Edge Services, edited by Marie L. Radford, 35-46. New York: Neal-Schuman (2012).

Jackie DooleyJackie Dooley
The OCLC Research survey of special collections and archives

This paper summarizes the outcomes of the 2009 OCLC Research survey of 275 research libraries in the United States and Canada regarding the current status of their special collections and archives. Liber Quarterly, 21,1:125-137.

Ixchel FanielIxchel M. Faniel and Elizabeth Yakel
Significant properties as contextual metadata

This article discusses research on the significant properties of digital data and describes the DIPIR ( project, which is studying what contextual data is needed for reuse to preserve meaning over time in preservation repositories. Journal of Library Metadata, 11,3-4:155-165.

Brian LavoieBrian Lavoie
The Top 25 Public Libraries' Collective Collection, as Represented in WorldCat

In this OCLC Research briefing paper, Brian Lavoie provides an overview for the National Digital Public Library conference.

Karen Smith-YoshimuraKaren Smith-Yoshimura and Cyndi Shein
Social Metadata for Libraries, Archives and Museums Part 1: Site Reviews

This report provides an overview of social metadata to enable cultural heritage institutions to better utilize their users' expertise and enrich their descriptive metadata to improve their users' experiences.

Karen Smith-YoshimuraKaren Smith-Yoshimura, Carol Jean Godby, Helice Koffler, Ken Varnum, and Elizabeth Yakel
Social metadata for libraries, archives, and museums. Part 2, Survey analysis

This report analyzes the results from a social metadata survey that focused on the motivations for creating a website, moderation policies, staffing and site management, technologies used, and criteria for assessing success.

Prototypes and Services

OCLC Research VIAF

VIAF (Virtual International Authority File)—A joint project with the Library of Congress, the Deutsche Nationalbibliothek, and the Bibliothèque nationale de France, in cooperation with an expanding number of other national libraries and other agencies, VIAF explores virtually combining the name authority files of participating institutions into a single name authority service.

OCLC Research Classify prototype

Classify—a FRBR-based prototype designed to support the assignment of classification numbers and subject headings for books, DVDs, CDs, and other types of materials.

OCLC Research searchFAST user interface

Updates to FAST (Faceted Application of Subject Terminology)—FAST is an enumerative, faceted subject heading schema derived from the Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH). After a decade of development, FAST is now available as an experimental Linked Open Data service under the Open Data Commons Attribution License. There also is a new user interface that simplifies the process of heading selection, in a one-page design.

OCLC Research WorldCat Genres

WorldCat Genres—Genre profiles allow users to browse genre terms for hundreds of titles, authors, subjects, characters, places, and more, ranked by popularity in WorldCat.


FAST (Faceted Application of Subject Terminology) Released as Linked Data
FAST, an enumerative, faceted subject heading schema derived from the Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH), is now available as an experimental Linked Data service and is made available under the Open Data Commons Attribution License. More...
New OCLC Research Video, "Catching Up with ArchiveGrid"
Watch this four-minute video to learn more about the free beta version of the ArchiveGrid discovery service that is in development in OCLC Research. More...
FAST Prototype Has New User Interface - Try It Out and Send Us Your Comments!
The new user interface simplifies the process of heading selection, in a one-page design. More...
New OCLC Research Video, "Archival Collections Assessment"
This two-minute video on the OCLC Research YouTube Channel features senior program officer Merrilee Proffitt summarizing the recent OCLC Research report, "Taking Stock and Making Hay: Archival Collections Assessment." More...
Congratulations to Kenning Arlitsch and Colleagues on IMLS Support for the "Getting Found" Project
OCLC Research joins the University of Utah's J. Willard Marriott Library, the Digital Library Federation and Mountain West Digital Library as partners to explore search engine optimization for digital resources. OCLC Senior Research Scientist Jean Godby will serve as a senior advisor to the three-year project. More...
Titia van der Werf Named OCLC Research Senior Program Officer
OCLC Research is pleased to announce the appointment of Titia van der Werf as Senior Program Officer, based in OCLC's Leiden office. More...
IMLS Grant to "Cyber Synergy" Activity Further Supports Research on Virtual Reference Services (VRS)
OCLC Senior Research Scientist Lynn Silipigni Connaway joins Rutgers colleagues Marie L. Radford and Chirag Shah as co-principal investigators in a study of new models for collaborative and sustainable VRS. More...
New OCLC Research Video: "The Value of the OCLC Research Library Partnership"
This six-minute video on the OCLC Research YouTube Channel features library thought leaders discussing the benefits of affiliation. More...
"Well-intentioned Practice for Putting Digitized Collections of Unpublished Materials Online" Endorsed as a Standard by the Society of American Archivists
This practice provides the framework for an assertive approach to digitization of unpublished archival materials whose rights holders are often difficult to identify and contact. More...

Events, Webcasts, and Presentations

Lynn Silipigni Connaway Presents Factors Shaping User Behavior in NFAIS Webinar
View this webinar to learn more about the time constraints and other factors that shape user information seeking behavior. More...
VIAF (Virtual International Authority File) Show and Tell Webinar
Five OCLC Research Library Partner staff did a "show and tell" in this interactive WebEx session, to demonstrate their uses of VIAF. More...
Free Online Presentation About Visitors and Residents Project
OCLC Senior Research Scientist Lynn Silipigni Connaway, Ph.D., and David White, Co-manager, Technology Assisted Lifelong Learning, University of Oxford, spoke about the JISC-funded Visitors and Residents project, as part of JISC's Developing Digital Literacies Program. More information about this past event...
OCLC Research at the DISH 2011 Conference
Digital Strategies for Heritage (DISH) 2011 is an international conference for everyone who makes or influences decisions touching on the field of cultural heritage. OCLC Research Library Partnership Vice President Jim Michalko chaired a session on collaboration. More...
OCLC Post-Doctoral Researcher Ixchel Faniel, Ph.D. Presents Poster on Reuse at Data Repositories at 7th IDCC Conference, Bristol (UK)
The presentation is an output of the IMLS-funded DIPIR project led by Dr. Faniel and Dr. Elizabeth Yakel. More...
OCLC Research at the Library and Information Community of Québec Conference
OCLC Research Vice President and Chief Strategist Lorcan Dempsey presented the plenary session at the Library and Information Community of Québec Conference. Presentation slides are now available...
OCLC Research Library Partnership Briefing and OCLC Research at RLUK Meetings , London (UK)
Lorcan Dempsey, Jackie Dooley and Merrilee Proffitt gave presentations in London 24-25 November 2011. More...
OCLC Research Seeking Synchronicity Webinar
Lynn Silipigni Connaway, Ph.D., Senior Research Scientist at OCLC, and Marie L. Radford, Ph.D., Associate Professor, School of Communication & Information, Rutgers U, discussed the key findings of their multi-year study that will inform future development and inspire effectiveness for virtual reference services. More...
OCLC Research at the 2011 University Library Symposium, Yokohama (Japan)
The theme of the symposium was "The Future of Mass Digitization." OCLC Research Library Partnership Vice President James Michalko Presented the Keynote. More...
OCLC Research TAI CHI ArchiveGrid Webinar
review the processes behind the growth of the new ArchiveGrid system and the goals to promote it both as a sought-after information resource and as a model for archival discovery practices. This webinar provided an overview of ArchiveGrid's history along with a demonstration of its new beta discovery system in development in OCLC Research. More...
OCLC Research at the 2011 DLF Forum, Baltimore, Maryland
OCLC Research Program Officer Jackie Dooley made a presentation. OCLC Research Library Partnership Vice President Jim Michalko and Director of Partner Relations Nancy Elkington also attended. More...
OCLC Research Rapid Capture in Special Collections and Archives Webinar
This OCLC Research Library Partnership webinar featured innovative ways to increase access to special collections. More...
OCLC Research at Internet Librarian 2011 and LIbrary Directors Digital Strategy Summit, Monterey, California
OCLC Research Senior Program Officer Roy Tennant made presentations at both Internet Librarian 2011 and the separate but concurrent Library Directors Digital Strategy Summit. More...
OCLC Research at the ASIS&T Annual Meeting New Orleans, Louisiana
OCLC Senior Research Scientist Lynn Silipigni Connaway co-presented on the Visitors and Residents project, and moderated a session on The Future of the Profession. More...
OCLC Research at InfoCamp, Columbia, South Carolina
OCLC Senior Research Scientist Lynn Silipigni Connaway presented a keynote at the University of South Carolina School of Library & Information Science's InfoCamp, an unconference for the information community.More...
OCLC Research Scan and Deliver Webinar
This webinar was all about sharing streamlined methods for scanning and delivering digital copies of special collections materials at the request of users. More...

OCLC Researcher Spotlight—Ed O'Neill on FAST: Faceted Application of Subject Terminology

Edward T. O'NeillThe rapid growth of digital resources has created a need for subject-access methods capable of handling large volumes of resources with less effort and lower cost than traditional subject cataloging. In 1999 both OCLC and the Library of Congress began exploring new approaches to information organization. As a result, the two organizations agreed to jointly develop, maintain, and test the FAST (Faceted Application of Subject Terminology) schema. After more than ten years of collaborative effort, the initial development of FAST is complete.

FAST was specifically designed for use by people with minimal cataloging or indexing experience. It consists of a faceted controlled vocabulary built on the terminology and relationships already established in LCSH, but structured with a simplified syntax and applied with different policies and procedures that are more inclined towards post-coordination. There are eight distinct facets: Personal Names, Corporate Names, Events, Uniform Titles, Chronological, Topical, Geographic, and Form/Genre. FAST is documented in FAST: Faceted Application of Subject Terminology: Principles and Applications published by Libraries Unlimited in July 2010.

The FAST authority file contains about 1.65 million authority records. It is provided via a user interface and as an experimental linked data service ( As linked data, FAST headings that support both human and machine access are available, as are downloadable versions of the dataset. Users may download the entire FAST file including all eight facets or choose to download individual facets. The FAST datasets are made available under the Open Data Commons Attribution (ODC-By) license. OCLC is committed to making FAST freely and publically accessible.

Several services are available online which provide access to the FAST authority file or support the application of FAST. searchFAST is a new and enhanced search engine and interface for accessing FAST authority records. mapFAST is a mashup with Google Maps that uses FAST geographic authority records as a different way to provide access to bibliographic records. FAST Converter was introduced to add FAST headings to bibliographic records with LCSH headings or convert a set of LCSH headings into FAST headings.

FAST was specifically designed to meet the requirements of the digital environment and to be useable by non-professionals. It is being used in a variety of new applications where it has shown to be a practical and cost effective. The FAST team continues to explore collaborative effects to improve the service. OCLC is committed to working with the community to further enhance FAST and to explore new FAST applications.

FAST Projects

A full feature search interface to the FAST database.
mapFAST is a Google Maps mashup prototype designed to provide map based access to bibliographic records using FAST geographic authorities.
FAST Converter
The FAST Converter is a Web interface for the conversion of LCSH headings to FAST headings.
FAST Linked Data
FAST as a Linked Data service to interact with the Semantic Web.