Posts in topic: partnerships

OCLC partners provide extended and free e-content during the COVID-19 crisis

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During the past weeks, we’ve all faced a wide variety of changes in our lives and jobs. For librarians, part of that challenge is serving students, teachers, faculty, and patrons who now have to work and study from home.

As a library cooperative, OCLC has leveraged dozens of partnerships with publishers to provide extended and, in many cases, free access to e-resources. We are working with our partners to organize and centralize this content and make it easily discoverable in library services.

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Making friends and influencing people: research support edition

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Research support services are essential to the university’s research enterprise—enhancing researcher productivity, facilitating analysis of research activity, and making research outputs visible and accessible across the scholarly community and beyond. Research support services extend over the entire research life cycle—as well as across the entire campus.

How is research support carried out?

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Public libraries generate social capital that can save lives

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When disaster strikes, libraries are there to help. In California, where many have been forced from their homes due to forest fires and power outages, libraries like Folsom Public Library have become a refuge for people who need to charge devices, use WiFi, or just have a place to go. In March of 2011, a powerful earthquake triggered enormous tsunami waves in the Tōhoku region of Japan, killing thousands of people, driving hundreds of thousands from their homes, and leaving millions without electricity and water service. In the months after this horrific disaster, as hundreds of government services, NGOs, and private and international relief agencies struggled to help communities recover, residents also looked to public libraries for help.

Why is that? Libraries don’t provide food, water, electricity, or medical services. In many cases, libraries had suffered the same catastrophic losses as their neighbors; staff had perished or been injured, buildings completely destroyed or unusable, resources gutted. Why, then, did people so quickly turn to libraries after a disaster? Because of social capital.

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OCLC and the PCC: changing standards to support changing times

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Over the course of my library career, I’ve seen librarianship and cataloging practices evolve significantly in both small and large ways. When you’re talking about shared cataloging standards, even a tiny change can impact thousands of institutions and millions of records.

That’s one reason why it’s so important to have organizations like the Program for Cooperative Cataloging (PCC).  Lori Robare, Monographic Team Leader at University of Oregon, and PCC Past Chair stated, “The PCC has a strong tradition of cooperative work, standards, metadata expertise, and training. This is an exciting time for the PCC as we consider how to build upon those strengths in the transition to a linked data environment.”

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RDM: A challenge too big to tackle alone

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The scholarly record continues to evolve, gathering a wider array of research outputs—including research data sets. In response, universities and other institutions have started to acquire capacity to support data management needs on campus. While services and infrastructure are coalescing around emerging data management practices, guidelines, and mandates, many questions remain about the future of the research data management (RDM) service space, and the university’s role in acquiring and managing RDM capacity in support of their researchers.

How do we approach problems like these that are clearly too big for any one institution to solve? One piece of the solution is to scale learning.

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Continuing the legacy of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Global Libraries program

Sharon Streams

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By Lorcan Dempsey, Vice President, Membership and Research, Chief Strategist, OCLC; and,
Sharon Streams, Director, WebJunction

The first initiative launched by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Global Libraries program was one to improve computer technology and internet connectivity in US public libraries. And it was a total game changer for thousands of small, rural communities across the United States.

That initiative then spurred the idea for an “online portal” that would connect isolated library staff to ongoing support and resources. From there, a 2002 foundation grant to OCLC led to the launch of WebJunction on May 12, 2003, at a celebration at the Library of Congress.

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Invite your community to shape smart spaces

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When 15 small and rural libraries joined the Small Libraries Create Smart Spaces project, they signed on for a journey toward transforming their physical spaces and library services. Their exploration was guided by principles of placemaking, design thinking, and active learning. Along the way, they connected with their communities in refreshing new ways that catalyzed relationships and opened up possibilities.

Transformation is a big, ambitious word, charged with expectation of profound change. It might seem like an oversized challenge for libraries that are defined by small: small town, small building, small budget. But these 15 intrepid libraries, serving populations of 560 to 16,000 people, discovered the key to unlocking true transformation: meaningful connection with the community.

Rather than a more familiar positioning of “the library as the heart of the community,” each sought to put their community at the heart of the library.

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Wikipedia the WebJunction way

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In the past decade, Wikipedia’s reach has expanded. It’s the fifth most-visited platform globally.[1] And the quality has stabilized. A 2012 Oxford University study comparing Encyclopedia Britannica to Wikipedia found no significant difference in quality or reliability between the articles they compared. However, research suggests that asymmetries in the demographic profile of the existing pool of editors, which are 80–90% white males, has led to biases and underdeveloped content areas.[2]

To improve the encyclopedia and address these gaps, volunteers and Wikimedia Foundation staff have collaborated to host outreach programs and editing events. These have seen successes, but there’s still room for improvement. Only some of these programs have focused on galleries, libraries, archives and museums (GLAM, in Wikimedia terminology), and none of the outreach has been specifically geared to public libraries and their important role as champions of information access and mainstays in serving their local communities.

The time has come for an effective, focused training program that brings Wikipedia to US public libraries.

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To be a better librarian, break into museums and archives

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An archivist, librarian and museum professional walk into a conference …

In 2016, 18 librarians, archivists and museum professionals came together as “field anthropologists” for the “Collective Wisdom: Libraries, Archives and Museums (LAM) Conference Exchange” to find out more about each other’s practices and cultures. They attended three major LAM sector conferences, working together to look for new opportunities for collaboration.

As an administrator to the Collective Wisdom cohort, I saw firsthand the group’s deep insights and renewed resolve to connect across all kinds of boundaries. They had never crossed paths before embarking on this experience—but by the end, they had cultivated “professional relationships and friendships that will endure well beyond this project.”

And their readiness to find intersections between each sector’s silos is testimony to a wider desire for collaboration among knowledge professionals. Reflections and recommendations for strengthening cross-sector community and collaboration are captured in their newly published white paper, “Collective Wisdom: An Exploration of Libraries, Archives and Museum Cultures.”

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In support of library funding

OCLC

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OCLC is a global library cooperative, composed of more than 16,000 library members from around the world. Our members span library types from public libraries serving the smallest rural towns to the largest research libraries in the world.

The knowledge transfer and exchange fueled by libraries enables many notable experiences: the child learning to read; the scientist expanding an avenue of medical research; an entrepreneur building a viable business plan. The individuals in these examples often gain their initial foothold, inspiration and roadmap in a library. We celebrate the accomplishments and the end result of the knowledge, but the journey to these breakthroughs is often not as visible. Libraries play a key role in these life-altering journeys and ground-breaking discoveries.

The role that libraries play continues to grow, based on the evolving needs of their respective communities. Libraries provide internet services, vital not only to learning but also to finding a job and to accessing social services. Libraries directly impact student outcomes, from pre-K and K–12 to community colleges to large research universities. Libraries maintain important collections, preserving the history of our communities, regions, countries and people.

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