November 2010 Archives

I am pleased to be sharing the news that a Cost Sharing Models Task Force has been established and will start its work this week.

Over the past year, the three OCLC Regional Councils have helped OCLC members and staff discuss how costs should be shared on a global scale. To help explore these ideas, an OCLC Global Council Task Force on Cost Sharing and Pricing Strategy was established in September of 2009, and its final report was issued in June 2010. Global Council approved the recommendations of the task force and affirmed that as a nonprofit cooperative, the principles of cost sharing support the public purpose of OCLC and that differential pricing is advantageous to our members.

Based on that work, OCLC Global Council is moving forward to convene a Cost Sharing Models Task Force to (in the words of the task force's charge), "Develop and evaluate cost-sharing models that advance the public purpose of OCLC, create a sustainable approach to cost sharing for the cooperative and support the use of differential pricing strategies."

The task force will be chaired by John Helmer, a Global Council Delegate and Executive Director of the Orbis Cascade Alliance. John also chaired last year's Task Force on Cost Sharing and Pricing Strategy. The objective of this task force is not to set prices but to develop a mutual understanding of how cost-share models are developed and ensure transparency in the process.

The Cost Sharing Models Task Force is composed of OCLC Global Council Member Delegates, staff and outside advisors:

  • John Helmer (Chair), Executive Director, Orbis Cascade Alliance, USA
  • LLuìs Anglada, Director, Consorci de Biblioteques, Universitàries de Catalunya, Catalan, Spain
  • Saad Azzahri, Library Director, Ministry of Petroleum-Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
  • Rosann Bazirjian, Dean of University Libraries, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, USA
  • ChewLeng Beh, Senior Director, Library and Professional Services, National Library Board, Singapore
  • Jan Ison, Executive Director, Lincoln Trail Libraries System, USA
  • Debbie Schachter, Director, Technology and Collection Management, Vancouver Public Library, Canada
  • Anja Smit, University Librarian, Utrecht University, The Netherlands
  • Kendall Wiggin, State Librarian, Connecticut State Library, USA
  • Ed Barry, Vice Chair, OCLC Board of Trustees, and President Emeritus, Oxford University Press, USA
I will be serving as liaison to the OCLC Global Council Executive Committee. Outside expertise will be provided by Bruce Kingma, Associate Provost for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Syracuse University, USA.

This task force will also include several OCLC staff: Daniel Boivin, Executive Director, OCLC Canada and Latin America; Cathy De Rosa, Vice President for the Americas; Brian Lavoie, Research Scientist; Robin Murray, Vice President, Global Product Management; George Needham, Vice President, Global and Regional Councils; Rick Schwieterman, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer; Arthur Smith, Director, Strategic Business Development, Middle East; Andrew Wang, Vice President, OCLC Asia Pacific; and Pamela Bailey, Member Advocate.

The task force will meet regularly between December 2010 and May 2011, with a final report due on June 1, 2011. Updates will be provided at various Regional Council meetings throughout the period, and a draft report will be discussed at the April 2011 meeting of the Global Council. Review and action by the Global Council should follow discussion and consensus-building within the OCLC community and governance structure. Upon completion of its review of the recommended cost-share models from the Task Force, the Global Council will submit recommendations to the OCLC Strategic Leadership Team and the Board of Trustees.

Thanks to all who have agreed to serve on this task force.

Jennifer A. Younger, Ph.D.
President, OCLC Global Council
Chair, Board of Directors, Catholic Research Resources Alliance

Librarian, Hesburgh Libraries, University of Notre Dame

Is "Survive" the new "Thrive"?

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I recently participated in the third OCLC/Lyrasis member event on cloud computing in libraries and OCLC's Web-scale Management Service where about 60 North Carolinian librarians were in attendance. The day opened with a thought provoking presentation by Tim Rogers, Executive Director, NCLive. When I saw the title of his presentation, "Survive" is the new "Thrive," I wondered where he might take us. But it was the subtitle that told the real story: Factors Leading Libraries to Web Scale.

As Tim led us through Finnish folk tales, stories of high school choirs and childhood baseball card collecting, he surfaced the key theme of how much stronger libraries are when we work together rather than standing alone in today's world. Early in his presentation he referenced the quote, "It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit." This made me think of Rachel Frick's proposition a few weeks ago in Philadelphia that we are moving towards convergence where we work together out of shared values instead of just shared interests.

I felt Tim did a great job of succinctly summarizing what Web-scale solutions can improve for libraries. He laid out a future where Web Scale helps libraries focus on:

  • What we're best at
  • What's unique
  • What's local
  • What ONLY we can do
While Web Scale takes care of:

  • What's best crowd-sourced
  • What's a commodity service
  • What's shared
  • What's outside our wheelhouse
  • Everything else!
I came away feeling energized that we can indeed do more than just survive. Many of our libraries are facing challenges, yes... but together we can thrive. And a big part of thriving is letting go of trying to do and control everything. Instead, we can start trusting one another to contribute to the common good, so we can each focus our energies on what our library can uniquely provide.

I'm now very much looking forward to the next event in Sturbridge, MA on December 3rd which already has over 90 librarians registered to attend.

Nominations open for OCLC member delegates

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Nominations are open for Global Council member delegates and the regional leadership teams. The OCLC Global Council serves as a key discussion forum on issues of importance to the membership community and helps to inform OCLC's strategic directions. The Regional Councils facilitate connections among OCLC members in three world regions and manage elections for their Executive Committees and for the Global Council.

I hope you will consider running for office, or nominating those you would like to shape the OCLC Cooperative. We are seeking nominations for offices in the Americas Regional Council, (ARC) and the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) Regional Council in addition to delegates for OCLC Global Council. Information about Global Council is available here. We encourage you to nominate yourself or a colleague, keeping in mind that nominees must agree to the nomination before the slate of candidates is finalized.

In the Americas, the Nominating Committee is soliciting nominations for two officers and four Members-at-Large on the Council's Executive Committee, and for delegates to the Global Council. More information and links to the nominating form are available here. Nominations for the Americas Regional Council are due by December 10, 2010.

The EMEA Regional Council is seeking two delegates to the Global Council from countries other than Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. The Global Council delegates from the EMEA Region comprise the Executive Committee of the Regional Council for EMEA. More information on the EMEA process and a link to their nomination form are available here. Nominations are due by 31 December 2010.

The Asia Pacific Regional Council will announce its nominations process very shortly, and details will be posted here on the Cooperative Blog and on the Asia Pacific Regional Council website.
The first two OCLC/LYRASIS member events on cloud computing and Web-scale services were held on October 15 and 22. At each, I had an enlightening time with librarians from Pennsylvania/New Jersey and Kansas, respectively

In Philadelphia, Rachel Frick, Executive Director of the Digital Library Foundation (DLF), kicked the day off with an excellent high-level view of the social implications of cloud computing solutions. Drawing on the work of several key library thinkers, she presented a clear picture of the shift in library collaboration from one-to-one relationships to an environment of many-to-many relationships. This shift represents a change from collaboration based on common interests, such as interlibrary loan, to convergence based on common values, such as open access and shared data. This move requires building communities of trust; Rachel used the HathiTrust as an example. Each of the libraries involved is placing its own digitized books in a common data aggregation to increase the value for all. This means giving up some local control in order to benefit from the Web-scale aggregation. She concluded by emphasizing that if we are to move to network-level solutions, we must build these "trust organizations."

At the Wichita event, convergence was also a theme... but more from an internal perspective. Tim Daniels and Russell Palmer from LYRASIS discussed the positive productivity and workflow effects of Web scale. In this case, it's the convergence of several disparate types of library systems onto one platform that was highlighted. When a library can reuse data and applications across a wide variety of activities, it can see savings in both time and money. At the recent LITA conference, Michael Dula, Director for Digital Initiatives and Technology Strategy, Pepperdine University Libraries, said, "When we migrate to WMS, our system costs will drop significantly. Like 'getting another FTE' significantly." That's some pretty substantial converegence.

Our next session is scheduled for November 16 in Durham, NC. Tim Rogers, Executive Director of NC LIVE, will be talking about his experience on the OCLC Web-scale Management Services Advisory Council. Tim has served on a number of ALA committees and is a former President of the Kansas Library Association, and I expect that his thoughts will also focus on issues of convergence and looking for new ways to work cooperatively based on our shared values.
The most important partnerships we're involved with on behalf of OCLC members are about improving connections for libraries and their users. Any organization that shares similar values... we want to talk with them. If we can work together to make it easier for libraries to do their job, that's a win all around.

OCLC and EBSCO Publishing just announced the beginning of a new, more comprehensive partnership. Specifically, WorldCat Local libraries that subscribe to EBSCO full-text databases will continue to be able to discover EBSCO content through the WorldCat Local interface, but now without a requirement to authenticate before searching the metadata for EBSCO databases to which they subscribe. Also, EBSCO Discovery Service libraries that catalog with OCLC and subscribe to WorldCat on FirstSearch will have the option to access WorldCat data and holdings information for their libraries, their resource sharing partners and all WorldCat holdings through the EBSCO Discovery Service.

This is an important step forward for the OCLC members cooperative, and a great example of the kinds of partnerships that I'm excited to be a part of. Since OCLC's goal is to make the world's information more available through libraries, we'll work closely with other organizations that share this objective. We'll do whatever we can to ensure interoperability between OCLC and the other products that member libraries use. And we'll offer data-level services that are increasingly "provider agnostic." The result? Partnerships--like this one with EBSCO--that add value for member libraries while saving them the time and effort it would take to create similar solutions on a case-by-case basis.

Partnerships like this are made possible at the intersection of technology and cooperation. OCLC libraries will continue to build and adopt a service architecture that enables projects like this, while also reaching out to include more groups in the "circle of value" represented by our shared interests.
One of the big concerns with the 2009 transition from Members Council to Global Council was how to keep people interested and involved between meetings, especially when we reduced the number of annual face-to-face meetings from three to one. One response has been to do virtual meetings, and during the week of October 25, Council held not one but two virtual events.

On Monday, October 25, the full Council met, with 59 attendees. There was a lot of content in the 90-minute meeting, including President Jennifer Younger's plans for the coming year, an introduction to the work of a new Communication Plan task force and updates on the Cost Sharing Models task force, along with discussion of some of the well-documented issues important to the cooperative. On Tuesday, October 26, there was an orientation for 34 new delegates, to introduce them to one another and the Council's Executive Committee (which was meeting physically in Dublin at the same time); to help the new delegates understand the cooperative a little better; and to elucidate their roles as advisors and partners in governance.

Delegates and OCLC staff alike deserve credit for their dedication to Council's work and to participating in these virtual meetings. Given tight budgets in libraries and other cultural heritage institutions across the world and the scarcity of discretionary time, finding new ways to meet and work together is vital to building an awareness of the common ownership of the cooperative. Virtual meetings are one way--but far from the only way--to build this awareness. We'll be doing more of them in the future, and I invite readers of this blog to suggest other techniques we could use, either by responding here or writing directly to me at needhamg@oclc.org.