August 2010 Archives

We've now completed the field work phase of the "Geek the Library" pilot and yesterday we announced availability of the program for use by public libraries across the country. We learned a lot during our field work (keep your eyes out for a new membership report...), and our biggest "a-ha" moments came as we discovered just how many unique ways there are to execute this advocacy program.

Shelbyville Bookmobile.jpgThat was the most exciting part of the pilot for me--watching library staff engage with the campaign and then customize the program for outreach around funding issues important to their communities. The great library staffs who we partnered with in southern Georgia, central Iowa, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Shelbyville, Indiana, Zion-Benton, Illinois and Piedmont, Georgia had access to a full range of Geek the Library campaign materials and project support from OCLC field managers. They worked with us to test the program, but did so much more. They committed energy, time and talent, and personalized the campaign to reflect the dynamics of their communities. The programs and results were fantastic. Just a few examples:

  • The transformation of a bookmobile into a "Geekmobile!"
  • Geek posters featuring community leaders--mayors, school superintendents, business owners and what they "Geeked"--civil rights, medieval history, politics... and tropical fish!
  • Geek produce bags for use at the local farmer's market.
  • Geek-themed floats in local parades.
And now we're excited to see what libraries across the country will do to help spread the news about the need for increased library funding.

This week, the Geek the Library public awareness campaign is being opened up to all U.S. public libraries. The campaign materials help libraries engage their communities about local funding issues, and highlight the vital role they play in today's challenging environment.

Geek the Library was born out of the findings in From Awareness to Funding: a study of library support in America, and is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. We piloted the campaign with nearly 100 libraries in diverse communities over the past year. The public took notice and, in many cases, took action.

We can't thank the library staff enough who partnered to test the program and make it better. And now we can't wait to see what creative, innovative, captivating, "Geeky" ideas you will put into action.

To find out more about how your library can become involved in the campaign and register to take part, visit
As IFLA 2010 approaches, I thought it would be a good time to talk about how WorldCat is increasingly representing the rich holdings of the world's libraries. OCLC itself is also increasing its global participation by thousands of librarians.

For example, 2010 was the first year of our new global governance structure--a directly representative model that extends participation to more libraries, museums and archives around the world. The first Global Council meeting under this new structure took place in Dublin, Ohio, USA this past April with 48 delegates from 17 countries. At the meeting, Berndt Dugall, Direktor/Librarian, Universität Frankfurt, Universitätsbibliothek Johann Senckenberg, Germany, was elected Vice President/President-Elect of the OCLC Global Council. Mr. Dugall began serving as Vice President of Global Council beginning 1 July, 2010. In 2011, Mr. Dugall will become Global Council President--the first non-North American to preside over OCLC's primary membership body.

Expanding global representation among OCLC's membership has paralleled the international growth of WorldCat, our primary cooperative asset. Recent efforts to represent unique library collections around the globe include:

  • The National Library of China has joined OCLC not just for cataloguing, but for resource sharing as well. The library has already cataloged 2.4 million of its 30 million records with the cooperative, and will make almost all of these resources available for interlibrary loan.

  • The National Diet Library, Japan (NDL) will be adding more than 4 million records to WorldCat. Though the NDL has been working with OCLC on current cataloguing since 1999, this new agreement provides for the contribution of the complete contents of the Japan/MARC database--the official national bibliography of Japan--to WorldCat on a regular basis.

  • The recent addition of the Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF) collection means that there are now close to 19 million French records in WorldCat. This builds on the relationship OCLC has had with l'Agence Bibliographique de l'Enseignement Supérieur (ABES), which has agreed to load 9 million records from Système Universitaire de documentation (SUDOC), the cataloguing system for French academic libraries managed by ABES, into WorldCat. 
This brings the number of countries with national libraries that have added digital images, national files and bibliographies to WorldCat to 45.

OCLC Research also participates in the Virtual International Authority File (VIAF) project, the long-term goal of which is to include authoritative names from many libraries in a new global service that will be freely available via the Web to users worldwide. Current participants, in addition to OCLC, are: Bibliotheca Alexandrina (Egypt), Bibliothèque nationale de France, Deutsche Nationalbibliothek (Germany), ICCU (Italy), Library of Congress (USA), Narodni Knihovna (Czech Republic), National Library of Australia, National Library of Israel, National Library of Portugal, National Library of Spain, National Library of Sweden, Swiss National Library and the Vatican Library.

Two other projects further illustrate the cooperation fostered through WorldCat. First, the Europeana Travel pilot project. In its role as a Gold Sponsor of LIBER (Ligue des Bibliothèques Européennes de Recherche), OCLC began a two-year pilot in May 2009 to examine technical and operational issues related to making Europeana Travel metadata visible in WorldCat. Europeana Travel is an EU-funded project that will channel digital content from European national libraries and LIBER institutions into, the portal that provides access to Europe's digital cultural heritage.

Also, OCLC has proposed the formation of a WorldCat National Libraries Working Group to consider issues of common interest in WorldCat data quality and holdings synchronization.. This group will meet for the first time at IFLA 2010 to begin its work.

IFLA is one of the best conferences to attend, as it brings together such a diversity of librarians from a wide variety of institutions, all of whom have something unique and valuable to add to the discussion of our shared future. Though economic conditions may be difficult for many libraries, I find that librarians from all over the world are united in their desire to preserve, share and promote the rich cultural materials that their nations have entrusted to their care. Some of the best ideas about how to do so more economically and creatively surface when librarians with many diverse perspectives convene. As OCLC continues to evolve toward a more global cooperative, opportunities to gather for discussion at events like IFLA provide great potential for all of our members to share their opinions with us.

If you'll be in Gothenburg, Sweden, for IFLA this year, I look forward to hearing your thoughts.