OCLC Research Quarterly Highlights
Issue 6 : First Quarter : July-September 2012
OCLC 754109685 : ISSN 2163-8675

Share Now

A message from Lorcan Dempsey

Lorcan Dempsey

Archives and special collections are a substantial focus of the community OCLC Research supports, and exploration of their management and use is a substantial part of our agenda. Can libraries and archives efficiently deliver on the promise of unique materials? This is the question that frames our Mobilizing Unique Materials program theme. We're working to change both parts of the cost/benefit equation, exploring how to make these these materials cheaper to describe and disclose while also thinking about how to increase their impact. Libraries need to make archives and special collections more valuable to the institution's teaching and research activities, and increasingly work to ensure that the institution's stewardship of them contributes to its reputation.

Recent work has clustered in several areas.


ArchiveGrid is a discovery service for primary source material held in archives, special collections, and manuscript collections around the world. ArchiveGrid also helps researchers contact archives to request information, arrange a visit, and order copies or materials. ArchiveGrid includes collection descriptions from WorldCat bibliographic records and from finding aids harvested from individual contributors' websites.

Although ArchiveGrid is currently available as a subscription service, it is evolving into an openly available discovery system. To facilitate this transition, OCLC Research is developing a new ArchiveGrid discovery interface that is now freely available. We invite you to try it out.

For further information, see the ArchiveGrid activity page.

There is also an ArchiveGrid blog, where you can follow developments and learn more about the service and the collections it points to.

Demystifying Born Digital

Where once an author's papers might be brought to the library or archive in boxes, now they may arrive on the hard drive of their laptop or on a flash drive. As the scholarly and cultural record moves to digital, so grows the responsibility of libraries and archives to manage born digital materials. We have been providing practical advice to help manage this transition. We have recently published two short reports, one sounding a call for collaboration, and are planning more.

There are also videos about each of these on YouTube:

For more information, visit the Demystifying Born Digital activity page.

Survey of Special Collections in the UK and Ireland

OCLC Research carried out a very well received survey of "hidden collections" in special collections and archives in the US and Canada. "Hidden collections" are those special collections and archives that are undescribed or underdescribed, and which as a result are poorly discoverable. Discussion of the overwhelming backlogs of such materials has been prominent within the research library community for more than a decade. We have no meaningful profile of these collections, however, which inhibits development of a system-wide strategy. This survey aimed to fill that gap.

The population for the survey included members of the Association of Research Libraries (ARL); Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL); Independent Research Libraries Association (IRLA); Oberlin Group; and the RLG Partnership (U.S. and Canada). The results of this survey were published in the report, Taking Our Pulse: The OCLC Research Survey of Special Collections and Archives (.pdf: 1.5MB/153 pp.)

We are now collaborating with Research Libraries UK (RLUK) to survey library special collections holdings and practices of libraries and archives in the UK and Ireland.

We completed the survey of library special collections holdings and practices of RLUK members and OCLC Research Library Partnership institutions in the UK and Ireland, have analyzed the data and are finalizing the report which is on track to be published this fall.

As always if you are interested in discussion or collaboration around these themes, please get in touch.

Regards, Lorcan Dempsey

Lorcan Dempsey is Vice President, OCLC Research, and Chief Strategist


Lorcan Dempsey
Lorcan Dempsey
Libraries and the Informational Future: Some Notes (302 K/18 pp.).

Presented at the Information Professionals 2050 (IP 2050) Conference, this paper discusses environmental trends for libraries and some consequences for library education. The overarching theme is that we need to prepare for systemic changes by better understanding how organizations are being reshaped by networks.The e-print linked here is a slightly edited version of a chapter of the same name which appears in Information Professionals 2050: Educational Possibilities and Pathways, ed. Gary Marchionini and Barbara B. Moran, 113-26. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Brian Lavoie
Sally Vermaaten, Brian Lavoie, and Priscilla Caplan
Identifying Threats to Successful Digital preservation: The SPOT Model for Risk Assessment

This paper proposes a new outcome-based model, the Simple Property-Oriented Threat (SPOT) Model for Risk Assessment, benchmarks it, provide examples of practical uses of the model and suggestions for future work. D-Lib Magazine, 18,9/10 (September/October).

Ricky Erway
Ricky Erway
Swatting the Long Tail of Digital Media: A Call for Collaboration

This OCLC Research report urges a collaborative approach for conversion of content on various types of digital media.


Ed O'Neill
Ed O'Neill, Rick Bennett, and Kerre Kammerer
Using Authorities to Improve Subject Searches

This paper describes searchFAST, a FAST-based retrieval prototype developed to test the feasibility of using an authority file as an index to bibliographic records. It was presented 17 August 2012 at the IFLA satellite post-conference in Tallinn (Estonia).

Ricky Erway
Ricky Erway
You've Got to Walk Before You Can Run: First Steps for Managing Born-Digital Content Received on Physical Media

This report is geared to those tasked with gaining preliminary control over the digital media in archives' collections, including those who don’t know where to begin in managing born-digital materials.

Brian Lavoie
Brian Lavoie, Constance Malpas, and JD Shipengrover
Print Management at 'Mega-scale': A Regional Perspective on Print Book Collections in North America

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


Prototypes and Services

assignFAST—a new Web service that automates the manual selection of FAST Subjects (the Authorized and Use For headings) based on autosuggest technology. The service can easily be added to an existing browser-based interface, providing both subject selection and authority control in a single step. Three gadget URLs are provided in a common (non-MARC) format, an OCLC Connexion®-style format, and a MARCBreaker-style format. A demo shows how the feature can be integrated into an existing interface.

Article Exchange—This document-sharing site provides a single, secure location where lending libraries can place requested materials and authorized library users can retrieve articles or other items obtained for them via interlibrary loan. Originally an Innovation Lab prototype, Article Exchange migrated to production on 13 January and now is part of the WorldCat Resource SharingTM service. Since transition, 770 libraries in 16 countries have used the service to upload some 200,000 files. There also is an Article Exchange Web service in production on the OCLC Developers Network.  More…

Kindred Works—a demonstration interface built upon an experimental content-based recommender service. Various characteristics associated with a sample resource, such as classification numbers, subject headings, and genre terms, are matched to WorldCat to provide a list of recommendations.

Metadata Crosswalk Web Service—The goal of the Metadata Schema Transformation project is to develop data models and software tools that ease the task of translating between metadata standards. The OCLC Crosswalk Web Service Demo calls an instance of the Crosswalk Web Service and translates to and from Dublin Core, MARC-XML, MARC-2709, and MODS. Users download a thin client with the web service API to easily create a software module that can be incorporated into their own applications.

searchFAST—This new interface to the FAST prototype simplifies the process of heading selection, in an easy-to-use one-page design.


Lorcan Dempsey's "Managing Our Online Profersonal Lives" Presentation Stresses Importance of Managing Your Online Identity
The presentation includes random notes and interesting quotes that illustrate not only how researchers are using social media but also how measurements of their social web impact relates to their personal brand and altmetrics. More...
Connaway Elected to ASIS&T Board of Directors
Lynn Silipigni Connaway's three-year term will begin after the American Society for Information Science and Technology's October meeting. More...
OCLC Research Welcomes Takashi Shimada and Simone Kortekaas
OCLC Research is pleased to welcome two colleagues who will spend time with us over the next four weeks. More...
OCLC Researcher appointed to NISO Committee
OCLC Research Consulting Project Manager Eric Childress has accepted an invitation to join the NISO Content and Collection Management Committee. NISO (National Information Standards Organization) identifies, develops, maintains, and publishes technical standards related to managing information in the digital environment. The committee is one of three main leadership groups that help oversee existing and new standards work for NISO. More...
OCLC Research Submits Proposal to SXSW 2013
The South by Southwest 2013 (SXSW 2013) Conferences & Festivals, which take place 8-17 March 2013 in Austin, Texas, are a premiere destination for discovery offering the unique convergence of original music, independent films, and emerging technologies in order to foster creative and professional growth. The SXWS proposal selection process is competitive and includes online community voting. Although the voting process closed 31 August, we invite you to review the OCLC Research video proposal and look for it when the final SXSW 2012 Interactive program is announced. More...
OCLC Research and Europeana Collaboration Announcement
OCLC and Europeana are collaborating to investigate ways of creating semantic links between the millions of digital objects that are accessible online through Europeana.eu in order to improve "similar object" browsing. More...
A complete list of OCLC Research news items is available online at: http://www.oclc.org/research/news.html.

Events, Webcasts and Presentations

Preservation Health Check Workshop at iPRES2012
This workshop explored the use of real life preservation metadata for risk assessment, introduced and discussed the concept behind the preservation health check pilot, proposed an approach for mapping preservation metadata schemas with preservation risk assessment frameworks, and walked through a number of examples. More...
OCLC Research TAI CHI Webinar Series Presents Umlaut
In this webinar, Jonathan Rochkind, Senior Programmer/Analyst at the Sheridan Libraries at Johns Hopkins University, demonstrated how Umlaut allows you to de-couple your "link resolver" user-facing UI from your underlying knowledge base products. #orumlaut More...
Wikipedia and Libraries: What's the Connection?
In this webinar, OCLC Research Wikipedian in Residence Max Klein discussed what's happened between Wikipedia and libraries in the past and what it means for the future. More...
Videos from Libraries Rebound Meeting Now Available
Videos of all Libraries Rebound presentations and discussions are now available on YouTube and on the OCLC Research website. There are 17 videos total. More...
Wikipedia Loves Libraries Event, 11 July in Washington, D.C.
OCLC Research Wikipedian in Residence Max Klein organized this event to continue to build momentum for the Wikipedia Loves Libraries initiative, a continent-wide campaign to bring Wikipedia and libraries together with on-site events. More...
OCLC Research at GLAM Night Out at the Newseum
All staff from libraries, archives and museums were welcome to attend this free networking reception and media panel at the Newseum. Jump to the announcement of this past event for links to more information about the GLAM-Wiki US Consortium and the Newseum, Washington, D.C.’s most interactive museum. More...
New Video: "Wikipedia Structure in Paper"
In this video, OCLC Research Wikipedian in Residence Max Klein uses paper to explain the structure of Wikipedia. More...
A complete list of OCLC Research events is available online at: http://www.oclc.org/research/events.html.

OCLC Researcher Spotlight—Ricky Erway and Born-digital Content

Ricky Erway

I was born analog and started my career as a high school librarian in the heart of the Rocky Mountains. When I returned to the University of Wisconsin, the library school was just beginning to offer classes on mediated searching, database management, and a “telecommunications” class that featured videotex, interactive television, and optical discs. My first post as a newly minted MLS grad was at the Library of Congress, where I was involved in the final years of the Optical Disk Pilot Program. That evolved into the American Memory program, of which I was associate coordinator for five years. Both programs sought to use new technology to make the Library’s collections more accessible.

When RLG was looking for someone with digitization experience, I jumped at the chance. I was involved in several collaborative digitization and access programs and when RLG and OCLC merged, the opportunities to work with institutions on shared challenges multiplied. At OCLC, my research emphases includes digitization, finding ways for academic librarians to increase their support for the research process, and helping archivists manage born-digital content. The last two topics meld nicely with digitization, since in all cases, the output is a lot of bits that need to be managed responsibly and made accessible.

Recently, I’ve been focusing on providing simple guidance for those just getting started with managing born-digital materials. The report You've Got to Walk Before You Can Run: First Steps for Managing Born-Digital Content Received on Physical Media, which was published in August, provides the most basic steps for assessing the nature and extent of born-digital materials in an archives’ collections and the actions required to begin to get them under control. September’s Swatting the Long Tail of Digital Media: A Call for Collaboration addresses the variety of types of physical media an archives might acquire and the futility of a single archives trying to gear up to be able to read and transfer all those formats. Swatting the Long Tail has generated interest in a pilot to test the willingness of institutions to work with service providers in transferring data from obsolete media. We plan to work with staff from pilot archives and pilot service providers to iron out the kind of agreement that is needed, spell out the processes and deliverables, and test it out in a real world situation. We'll likely share these procedures and outcomes in a report, as well.

Ricky Erway is a Senior Program Officer. Follow her on Twitter at @rickyerway.