Three ways mobile app technology increases community engagement

Scott Livingston

As I’ve pulled together notes for this post, 15 alerts have flashed across my smartphone screen. That’s to be expected since we log 5.4 hours a day on our phones. And most of that time—90 percent to be exact—is spent using apps. That begs an important question: How can we use this app time to promote library goals and engage our communities in ways that put the library in the life of the user?

One important step? Simply get more library apps into the hands of users, a goal that we are pursuing quickly—and globally—now that Capira Technologies has joined the OCLC family.

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Global library discovery and fulfillment: How we’re the same, and how we differ

Helene Blowers

When we presented last year’s Global Council report on access to open content, we got a lot of great feedback. Both from Council delegates—who reported that it exceeded their expectations—and from our membership and the library community in general. The report provided insights on an important topic that hadn’t been explored in that way before: to gain a collective global understanding of the activities, investments, and efforts libraries are engaged with around open content. This report is just one of the ways that Global Council works on behalf of libraries by gathering insights each year to help inform the profession and OCLC on topics of importance to the library profession.

This year Global Council sponsored a survey to gather “Global Perspectives on Discovery and Fulfillment,” with a goal of gathering enough information from each of our three geographic regions to be able to make statistically significant comparisons if and when possible. I’m pleased to share that we hit that mark and can report back on a few interesting differences.

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How your library will benefit from linked data

John Chapman

In January 2020, OCLC announced that the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation had awarded us a grant to build a shared entity management structure that supports libraries as we move toward new ways to create and share information about their collections. These new methods—commonly referred to as “linked data”—represent changes to both underlying library data and the type of activities that library workers perform.

Even more importantly, they also signal a shift in how the library community can work together to build on each other’s work. I believe that no matter what type of library you are associated with, you and your users will benefit from this project.

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The Music OCLC Users Group: You say you want an evolution

Jay Weitz

The Music OCLC Users Group (MOUG), the first and oldest of the OCLC cooperative’s user groups, has spent its 40+ year history working to improve access to music materials in libraries. Often that work has felt like an identity crisis as it sought to reconcile its cataloging-centric origins with its public services evolution. But the dedicated professionals associated with MOUG have kept at it over more than four decades because of the guiding notion that if you can make products and services function well for the complexities of music resources, they will work well for any resources.

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The New Model Library. Welcome home.

Imagine heading out for a well-earned, two-week vacation. To a place you love to visit and know well. When you get there? It’s all as you remembered. And you packed perfectly. As a frequent tourist, you know what you can buy if you need and what the hotel shop has and where you can go for a good …

Then, abruptly, you’re told—you can’t go home. You’re no longer a visitor. You are now a resident. This place where you were so comfortable and relaxed as a tourist? You have to live and work here now.

For many students, professors, teachers, and researchers forced by the COVID-19 pandemic to work at home full-time, all the time, that’s what has happened.

They went from being skilled digital visitors to unwilling digital residents.

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The OCLC Community Center at five years: Your “extra colleague”

Susan Chaney

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Five years ago, when we started the OCLC Community Center, if you’d told me that working online with my colleagues would become the most welcome, interpersonal, almost extroverted respite from my daily routine, I would have thought that was a very … odd statement. All of us have, I assume, wonderful colleagues in our libraries and offices. We have lunches and meetings and seminars and stand-up sessions and coffee breaks, and we have… .

Or, should I say we had.

For the last few months, since many of us have been working from home because of COVID-19, the chance to work together online virtually using tools like the OCLC Community Center has cemented a belief that I held before—that the relationships and connections we make online are just as strong and important as those we make “in real life.”

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Supporting racial equity—in individual steps toward common goals

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Earlier this month, I wrote about the killing of George Floyd and about the necessity for a response. While that post itself was one kind of a response, I know that hundreds of millions of other people, in communities all over the world, are responding in many other ways, too. It’s an extraordinary outpouring. It is a moment and a movement unlike any other in my lifetime.

I also said that an event such as this requires time to reflect, to understand, and to learn from each other. Something this important is worthy of our resources, and one of those resources is time. For that reason, OCLC dedicated Friday, 5 June 2020, for staff to take the day off and reflect, engage, be active, and support the African American community in a way that is in line with our values.

I’d like to share with you some of the very personal ways that OCLC team members are engaging.

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The rapid pace of change in research university libraries: An interview with Keith Webster

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Recently, I had the opportunity to interview Keith Webster, Dean of University Libraries and Director of Emerging and Integrative Media Initiatives at Carnegie Mellon University. We discussed how academic libraries have changed in the last two decades, reflecting on the growth of digital content and the rapidly evolving scholarly record. I also asked Keith to imagine the research library of the future and to share where his own library is heading in the near term, with investments in multi-purpose repositories, RIM systems, and increasing support for research analytics and institutional reputation management.

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We must remember George Floyd. And we must do more.

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We sometimes refer to libraries, archives and museums as “memory institutions.” That’s not a bad description. But it’s not complete. Because memory implies something that is in the past. Something that isn’t active. And so much of what happens in the work we do for our communities happens now, today, this very minute.

What is happening now requires a response. We must speak out against racism and injustice.

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