Stronger together: Libraries focus on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals

As I’ve spent more time working with OCLC’s Global and Regional Councils, I’ve come to an agreeable realization that’s maybe a bit of a paradox. The wider our professional networks become, the more likely we’ll find faraway colleagues whose local solutions fit our situations. Sometimes the best answers don’t come from next door, but from across the globe.

It’s not a surprise, actually, so much as a challenge. There just aren’t a lot of mechanisms for sharing great ideas across library types and geographies. But this year, I’m pleased that we’re bringing two great platforms together—OCLC Global Council and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)—to help libraries around the world promote and improve their best ideas.

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The Wikipedia research conundrum: Is it citable?

There is a disconnect between how students are taught to use Wikipedia and the way that they actually use it. The notion of an encyclopedia that anyone can edit has led teachers to warn that Wikipedia is unreliable and should never be used or cited as a source of serious research. In reality, most of us use Wikipedia all the time in our research. Defenders of Wikipedia’s contribution model even point out that democratization of contribution is beneficial and necessary for the level of breadth, depth, and reliability it has achieved. If Wikipedia’s open contribution model doesn’t stop researchers from using it, why are students taught to avoid it?

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Three ways mobile app technology increases community engagement

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

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

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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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”

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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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