Issue 4 : Third Quarter : January–March 2012

OCLC 754109685 : ISSN 2163-8675

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Message from Lorcan Dempsey

Lorcan DempseyAs interest and experience with linked data grows, OCLC Research has made it a focus of activity.

VIAF is now one of the most heavily used linked data resources in the library community. We have over 20 million page views a month and it is linked to by a growing number of other services. We are very pleased to see it used in this way. Recently we agreed with the partner national libraries that ongoing responsibility for VIAF would transition to OCLC. At the same time, we transitioned VIAF out of Research to production here at OCLC. Of course, we remain closely involved in the processing of the data and in further development of the service.

VIAF is interesting, because it is an example of an important way in which the library community can participate in the linked data world. It represents significant accumulated intellectual investment in structured data, and it is now being made available in a way that other communities, as well as the library community, can benefit. Much of the library linked data discussion has been about making local data available in different ways. As interesting is the discussion about what key resources libraries will want to link to, and what library resources other communities will link to. Linked data, after all, is about the power of the links between resources. We hope that VIAF becomes a major reference point on the web.

We have also made FAST available as linked data. For more background on FAST and its relationship to LCSH see the activity pages.

I discussed these issues a little while ago in a blog entry, linking not typing.

At the same time, Research has been doing some of the modeling that is required to represent bibliographic data in this way. We have also been looking at and considering what is required to make it more applicable in our environment. is an initiative of Google, Yahoo, Bing and Yandex to provide a framework for including structured data markup in web pages. In this way, the search companies can exploit that data. We will be sharing more information about this work soon.

Finally, I would like to acknowledge all the work that my colleague Jim Michalko has been doing to develop an agreed licensing framework for WorldCat-derived data. As data becomes more a part of the web it is important that it is associated with a public license. OCLC Global Council recently endorsed the Open Data Commons Attribution license and we have been working with a variety of partners on implementation details.

Regards, Lorcan Dempsey


Ricky ErwayRicky Erway
Increasing Access to Special Collections

This article distills recommendations from nine OCLC Research reports about digitization of and access to special collections. LIBER Quarterly, 21/2.

Brian LavoieBrian Lavoie

Sustainable Research Data

In Managing Research Data, edited by Graham Pryor. London: Facet (2012).

Titia van der WerfTitia van der Werf and Melissa Renspie
OCLC Research—Investing in Innovation in Europe

This article provides an overview of how OCLC Research is expanding its role in Europe, which includes growing the OCLC Research Library Partnership and securing a better representation of European interests in the OCLC Research work agenda. Information Today Europe, 16 March 2012.

Prototypes and Services

OCLC Research performs three major roles: we act as a community resource for shared R&D, provide advanced development and technical support within OCLC itself, and enhance OCLC's engagement with members and mobilize the community around shared concerns.

OCLC Research's WorldCat Identities prototype

WorldCat Identities has a summary page for every name in WorldCat (currently some 30 million names). We maintain a Research version in addition to the pages that are available via We create the pages used by both services and we plan to experiment with allowing splits and merges of Identity pages in our version of the service. We create quarterly updates of Identity pages.

Article Exchange

Article Exchange was introduced as a safe, cloud-based method of exchanging copyrighted digital content with patrons. It provides an alternative to expensive and difficult to use services, for libraries exchanging copyrighted digital content. It was released as an experimental service at ALA Annual last summer, and has now moved to full production release inside the OCLC ILL Platform.


OCLC Research Seeks Wikipedian in Residence
This is a paid, three-month position in our San Mateo, California office that will begin in May or June 2012. More...
OCLC Research Launches ArchiveGrid Blog
This blog provides a place to highlight new ArchiveGrid collections and contributors, talk about how the new ArchiveGrid system is being built, and note things of general interest with an archives twist. More...
Lorcan Dempsey to Serve as Course Director for Ticer International Summer School 2012
The 15th edition of the Ticer Summer School on Digital Libraries will be held from 21-24 August in Tilburg, the Netherlands. More...
G. Sayeed Choudhury Named Recipient of 2012 Frederick G. Kilgour Award for Research in Library Technology
The award is given for research relevant to the development of information technologies, especially work which shows promise of having positive and substantive impact on any aspect(s) of the publication, storage, retrieval and dissemination of information, or the processes by which information and data is manipulated and managed. More...
Report by OCLC Post-doctoral Researcher Ixchel Faniel and U. Michigan Colleagues wins iConference Best Paper Award
The paper, "Managing Fixity and Fluidity in Data Repositories," was co-authored with University of Michigan School of Information (UMSI) Professor Elizabeth Yakel and two doctoral students, Morgan Daniels and Kathleen Fear. Faniel is a former UMSI faculty member. More...
Downloadable Version of FAST Now Available
OCLC Research has made FAST (Faceted Application of Subject Terminology) available for bulk download, along with some minor improvements based on user feedback and routine updates. As with other FAST data, the bulk downloadable versions are available at no charge. More...
OCLC Research ArchiveGrid Discovery Service Now Includes NWDA Finding Aids
Descriptions of research materials that Northwest Digital Archives (NWDA) hosts for its members in NWDA finding aids are now available in ArchiveGrid, giving end users worldwide another access point to the Pacific Northwest's unique archival and manuscript collections. More...
New Video: "Reconfiguring Library Boundaries"
In this 43-minute video, Lorcan Dempsey talks about how libraries are changing in the network environment, how they are organizing their services and how they are relating to other services in a Webscale world. More...
New Podcast: "The Power of Raised Expectations"
In this 21-minute interview, Senior Program Officer Roy Tennant talks with David Lankes, a professor and Dean's Scholar for the New Librarianship at Syracuse University's School of Information Studies, the director of the library science program for the school, and director of the Information Institute of Syracuse, about the power of raised expectations. More...
New Video: "Digital Visitors and Residents: What Motivates Engagement with the Digital Information Environment? An Update on Current Findings"
This 21-minute video features the latest results of this JISC-funded, collaborative pilot project between OCLC Research and the University of Oxford to investigate the theory of digital visitors and residents with students in the emerging educational stage, the time between late-stage secondary (high school) and the first year of college or university. More...
VIAF Show and Tell Webinar Recording Now Available
In this interactive webinar, five OCLC Research Library Partners demonstrated how they use VIAF. More...

Events, Webcasts, and Presentations

OCLC Research at ARLIS – Toronto, Ontario (Canada)
Program Officer Dennis Massie hosted this annual OCLC Research Library Partnership Roundtable on Saturday, 31 March 2012 at the 40th annual conference of the Art Libraries Society of North America (ARLIS) in Toronto. The theme of the 2012 ARLIS meeting was "Colouring outside the Lines," a metaphor for creative thinking. More...
OCLC Senior Research Scientist Lynn Silipigni Connaway at Simmons College Visiting Scholars Program – Boston, Massachusetts (USA)
Connaway spoke on a panel as part of the program "The Future of Reference." More...
RLUK and OCLC Research Library Partnership Unique and Distinctive Collections Meeting – Aberdeen (Scotland)
Research Libraries UK (RLUK), together with the OCLC Research Library Partnership, hosted this meeting to report on the OCLC Research/RLUK survey of special collections in the UK and Ireland and to explore and shape the RLUK Unique and Distinctive Collections (UDC) project. More...
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for Institutional Repositories TAI CHI Webinar – Online
This webinar provides an overview of research and recommendations from an IMLS-funded project to improve the indexing ratios of institutional repositories in Google Scholar. More...
Social Metadata for Libraries, Archives and Museums Webinar – Online
In this webinar, five members of the Social Metadata Working Group present highlights of their research and personal observations on our research into social metadata; tagging, crowd-sourcing, and other uses of social metadata; LAMs' use of third-party sites; key points from our survey; and measuring successful use of social metadata. More...
OCLC Research SHARES Meeting – Birmingham (UK)
All OCLC Research Library Partners were invited to attend this meeting focusing on the international SHARES program, which took place at OCLC's Birmingham office just after the EMEA Regional Council Meeting. More...
OCLC Research Library Partnership Session at the EMEA Regional Council Meeting – Birmingham (UK)
All attendees of the EMEARC meeting were invited to attend this session, led by OCLC Research Senior Program Officer Titia van der Werf, which featured staff of three Partner institutions discussing what drew them to the Partnership, how they are engaging with other institutions both nearby and far away, and their specific ideas about value accruing to those who are active participants. More...
OCLC Research Library Partnership Briefing – Washington, DC (USA)
Senior Program Officer Merrilee Proffitt facilitated this session for Partner staff in the Washington, DC area. Participants looked at new projects and initiatives, each of which represent opportunities for Partners to get involved, and a group discussion was held, about such topics as affiliation, projects and activities. More...
OCLC Research Distinguished Seminar Series Presents "Libraries as Read/Write Services," by Gary Marchionini – Online
Marchionini, Dean and Cary C. Boshamer Professor in the School of Information and Library Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, talks about the blurring of boundaries between personal and public digital libraries as libraries begin to assume a larger role as institutional repositories for personal collections, such as family photographs. He also discusses the convergence of two trends driving foundational shifts in libraries of the 21st century. More...
DIPIR project presentation at iConference – Toronto (Canada)
Morgan Daniels, Ph.D. candidate at the University of Michigan and member of the DIPIR research team, presented "Managing fixity and fluidity in data repositories." More...
OCLC Research at ALA Midwinter – Dallas, Texas (USA)
Four OCLC Research staff attended the ALA Midwinter meeting and hosted sessions such as an OCLC Research Library Partnership briefing, Metadata Managers focus group, SHARES Roundtable, and a Heads of Systems meeting. More...
OCLC Research Distinguished Seminar Series Presents "From Books and Buildings to Information and Services," with Nancy K. Roderer
Roderer, Director, Welch Medical Library; Director, Division of Health Services Informatics; and Professor, Schools of Medicine and Public Health at Johns Hopkins University, tells the story of changes at the Welch Medical Library over the last ten years and discusses the potential implications of these shifts in services for other libraries. More...
The Power of Raised Expectations: Roy Tennant Interviews David Lankes – Online
Lankes is Professor and Dean's Scholar for the New Librarianship, and Director of Library Science, at the Syracuse University School of Information Studies; and Director of the Information Institute of Syracuse. In this wide-ranging and optimistic interview, Professor Lankes challenges us to raise our expectations—of ourselves, our colleagues, and of our institutions—to better serve our communities. More...

Looking Beyond the Quarter...

OCLC Research publishes review of its recent activities, focusing on 2011
Libraries Rebound: Embracing Mission, Maximizing Impact
5-6 June 2012
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (USA)
Exclusively for OCLC Research Library Partners
OCLC Research at the 2012 NASIG Annual Conference
8 June 2012
Nashville, Tennessee (USA)

OCLC Researcher Spotlight—Lynn Silipigni Connaway and User Behavior Studies and Synthesis Research

Lynn Silipigni ConnawayI've been fortunate enough to have been able to work in all types of libraries, in addition to teaching on a Library and Information Science faculty. My first job was as a school librarian who truly did do everything—traveling between 3 elementary schools teaching classes and conducting story hours; ordering, processing and cataloging all materials for each library; and documenting and accounting for federal, state, and district monies. Later I worked as a cataloger, technical-services supervisor, and reference librarian. I've also taught at the preschool, elementary, and graduate school levels.

During my graduate-level teaching of cataloging and classification and the organization of information I designed my classes to focus on user-centered cataloging practices and principles to make it easier for individuals to find items and information. The tools, techniques, and activities involved in finding information had always been interesting and challenging for me, but my earlier experiences showed me how difficult this can be for many people. I began to realize how valuable good research support can be, and to think about how existing tools and processes could be improved.

This interest continues in my current research in the User Behavior Studies and Synthesis theme of OCLC Research activities. One of my most active projects is titled Visitors and Residents: What Motivates Engagement? This is a collaborative project with the University of Oxford and OCLC Research, in partnership with the University of North Carolina, Charlotte and partially funded by JISC. This longitudinal study tracks US and UK participants' shifts in their motivations and forms of engagement with technology and information as they transition between four educational stages: Emerging (Late stage secondary school–first year undergraduate); Establishing (Second/third year undergraduate); Embedding (Postgraduates, PhD students); and Experienced (Scholars). Both quantitative and qualitative methods, including ethnographic methods, enable us to devote individual attention to the subjects, which provides a very rich data set. The three-year study explores how the subjects get their information based on the context and situation of their needs, identifying if and how their behaviours change. The findings from this research can inform libraries of current and perspective users' expectations of services and systems based on their engagement and motivation with technology.

User Behavior Studies and Synthesis

Cyber Synergy
Proposes a new model for Virtual Reference Services (VRS). (IMLS-funded; OCLC/Rutgers U.)
Digital Information Seeker Report
An analysis of twelve library user studies, with summarized findings. (OCLC/JISC)
Digital Visitors and Residents
Investigates the theory of digital residents and visitors, with students. (OCLC/U. Oxford)
Seeking Synchronicity
Evaluation, sustainability, and relevance of virtual reference services. (IMLS-funded; OCLC/Rutgers U.)
Virtual Research Environment Study
Derives an evidence-based picture of the researcher of today. (OCLC/JISC)
  • Seeking Synchronicity Report
  • Digital Information Seeker Report