Posts in topic: resource sharing


Getting smarter

Imagine sending an unexpected video call invite to ten colleagues at different organizations two years ago. My guess is that most would have been surprised, some annoyed. But after a year of working remotely, the response would be much different. And even as we transition back to working in person, that option will be one used more often going forward. Because in many circumstances, it’s simply a smarter choice.

So, why didn’t we make that choice before?

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Why a “Library on-demand” vision benefits from pandemic wisdom

If it wasn’t for COVID-19, I can safely say I never would have biked the Haleakalā volcano. Well, to be honest, I still haven’t. But while I’ve been mostly locked in my house this past year, I decided to invest in a stationary bike. And I trained for an endurance activity of five, one-hour rides that match the twists, turns, and elevations of the famous Hawaiian volcano.

Of course, it’s not the same as a real ride on a real bike on a real road on a real volcano. But the work I had to do to get in shape was real, the final achievement was real, and the connections I made with some new biking friends were real. And even if I never make it to the actual volcano, I will absolutely do a virtual ride like this again.

My experience also helped me realize something about the transition to a post-pandemic reality that’s starting slowly around the world. We need to carefully consider what we leave behind and what we take forward when we return to “normal.”

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Time-traveling librarians, shared print, and being excellent to each other

There’s a scene in the movie Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure where they lament that they need some keys that were lost two days earlier. But because they have a time machine, they can just wait until later, go back in time before they’re lost, and leave them right next to where they are “now” for convenience.

It’s funny, of course. But also, kind of … smart. It shows that if you can count on someone doing something in the future, you can make current plans based on that knowledge. The trick is, each of us has to know what the other is planning.

Bill and Ted can rely on a future (and past) version of themselves to complete their plans. Library staff have to rely on shared data and common, agreed-upon signals across our collective collection.

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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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2019: Marking ten years of “Top 10” resource sharing request data

Top ILL titles banner 2019

Since 2016, when we first presented our list in Next, it’s become a highly anticipated announcement in the resource sharing community: What were the most requested titles on OCLC’s ILL systems?

This year has been no different, and I’ve had several colleagues ask me about when the list would be rolled out. So without further ado, I’m pleased to present the top 10 interlibrary loan requests made in 2019.

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The OCLC Global Council survey on discovery and fulfillment: an important baseline

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How do library users navigate their paths from an initial point-of-need to the final moment of getting the resources they require? That process can be as fast as a single search and one click, or it can encompass many stops and starts, false trails, frustrations, and wrong turns … as I think we, as information professionals, can testify from our own research efforts.

Understanding and improving those journeys is among the most important work we do.

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2 miles or 10,000 miles—ILL makes us one library

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Recently, the interlibrary loan (ILL) staff at the Loyola Notre Dame Library (LOY) tracked the locations around the world from which they borrow and lend library materials. The exercise was prompted by a student who, after being shown ILL by staff members Kate Strain and Zach Gahs-Buccheri, asked, “What’s the farthest library that you’ve gotten an item from?”

Turns out the answer was the Dalton McCaughey Library at the University of Melbourne in Australia, which is 10,038 miles from LOY in Baltimore, Maryland, US.

What a great example of how ILL makes us one big library with endless shelves. No library can possibly have on hand every item it needs. For that we rely on the resource sharing communities we build. In fact, some libraries keep things in their collections to circulate primarily via ILL rather than locally. That’s the commitment they have to sharing resources.

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The resource sharing gene: still going strong after 40 years!

Tony Melvyn

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I have worked in OCLC Resource Sharing for more than 33 years and I think that librarians are born with a ‘togetherness’ gene. Sharing is one of our profession’s bedrock values—sharing work, sharing collections, sharing knowledge. Nowhere is this value practiced more diligently than with interlibrary loan. We build our collections and share our materials with a commitment to serve our users—who we consider to be anyone, anywhere in the world!

It stands to reason, then, that resource sharing is one of the most popular topics on our Next blog. As we celebrate the 40th anniversary of OCLC ILL this year, I invite you to enjoy three of our most-read resource sharing posts again.

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DECwriters, Dr. requests, and three-letter combos—memories from 40 years of ILL

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Anniversary celebrations are always fun. They remind us of important events and accomplishments from the past. They give us a chance to look back over the years and reflect on just how far we’ve come. Remembering yesteryears—without letting them rule us—can help us understand who we are.

Anniversaries also bring back many fond memories of relationships, successes … and outdated equipment.

This year, we are celebrating the 40th anniversary of OCLC interlibrary loan (ILL). And understandably it brought back many memories for many people. Here is a sampling that were recently shared with us on the ILL listserv.

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