January 2011 Archives

good_practices.jpgAs OCLC Member Services Consultants visit with member libraries, the future of cataloging practices is always a lively topic. The underlying issues are familiar: changing user behaviors, evolving discovery tools (both in libraries and in general) and the pressures of budget and staff retirements/reductions.

In response, OCLC Member Services is hosting a series of free member events: "Good Practices for Great Outcomes: Cataloging Efficiencies that Make a Difference." These events bring us together to discuss and share the best practices for attaining cataloging efficiencies by tapping the collective wisdom of a very informed group of OCLC members.

The inaugural event occurred at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, where Karen Calhoun, OCLC Vice President, Metadata Applications, gave an inspiring presentation on the future for catalogers, challenging them to innovate in technical services and embrace a user-centric approach. A lively panel discussion followed, with Daniel Starr and Andrea Puccio, both from the Thomas J. Watson Library at the Met Museum, espousing the use of vendor records and shelf-ready materials as a way to diminish the impact of reduced staffing. Another panelist, NJ Wolfe, from the Fashion Institute of Technology, gave an administrator's view on the need to rethink and retool technical services because of reduced budgets. After an overview from Mary Alice Robinson, OCLC Senior Trainer, who outlined various cool tools available to OCLC cataloging subscribers, participants moved into roundtable discussions, for a dynamic exchange of ideas on a variety of topics.

The series then moved west, to Seattle, Washington, where cataloging and tech services staff from the Pacific Northwest were welcomed by Betsy Wilson, Dean of University Libraries at the University of Washington. Also joining in via an in-person simulcast for the day from Chemeketa Communty College in Salem, Oregon, were about 25 librarians who listened as OCLC senior trainer Rick Newell, a familiar cataloging expert who has worked for years with many of the region's technical services staff, presented "Cataloging Effectively and Efficiently." Rick outlined strategies for meeting increasing demands for both quality and quantity of metadata in times of decreased budgets and staffing levels.

Next up was a panel covering a wide range of topics: Felicia Uhden, Manager of Technical Services at the Seattle Public Library, presented "Not your father's OPAC." She highlighted alternative metadata, Web tools for users to share and discuss materials, social discovery layers and integrated content, all in the name of moving toward a discovery experience that incorporates the best of librarian cataloging expertise, popular technology, and social networking tools. Peggy Firman, Associate Director for Resource Management Services at the University of Puget Sound, explained how the efficiencies that Rick Newell discussed can be achieved in the real world. She showed attendees how to use WorldCat Cataloging Partners to streamline routine cataloging, and how to use OCLC's Bibliographic Notification service to automate the process of improving bibliographic data. Joseph Kiegel, Head of Monographic Services at the University of Washington Libraries addressed "High Value Tasks for Cataloging Effectiveness." He told how the University of Washington Libraries focus human resources on the high value tasks that truly benefit from cataloging expertise.

kouretas.jpgDaphne Kouretas, OCLC Member Services Consultant, summarizes results of the roundtable discussions

cole.jpgNext, it was back east to Washington, DC, with a similar agenda, at one of the new branch libraries of the DC Public Library, Watha T. Daniel-Shaw Neighborhood Library. After an energetic welcome from Ginnie Cooper, Chief Librarian, and Eric Riley, Branch Manager, Christopher Cole, Associate Director for Technical Services at the National Agricultural Library (left), presented on the future for catalogers, and discussed his participation on the RDA committee. After a presentation of OCLC cataloging tools by Mary Alice Robinson, roundtable discussions yielded quite a diverse set of suggestions, given the variety of types of libraries participating in the day.

And back to the west we went to ALA Midwinter in San Diego, for a condensed version of the session, with CatrĂ­ona Cannon, Assistant Director, Collections & Resource Description for the Bodleian Libraries at the University of Oxford in England. She shared the details of several projects (one inventory control project and integration with a remote storage facility, and the other streamlined workflows for legal deposit materials). Roundtables allowed participants to discuss prepared discussion topics or create-your-own topics.

Throughout all of these GREAT sessions, we've heard some recurring ideas:

  • Automate more routine cataloging processes with help from expert technology staff.
  • Promote communication between technical services staff and public services staff
  • Reduce time spent on local cataloging records; emphasize "good enough" cataloging.
  • Keep apprised of the RDA test, report, and recommendations and its impact on cataloging workflows.
  • Find evolving best practices for cataloging digital content, including e-books.
  • Involve technical services in projects that promote the group's value, such as highly-visible projects about rare or special collections
We thank all of the library staff who took time to be with us at these events, either as presenters or as participants, or as our gracious co-hosts. After each event, we debrief and talk over your input and our discussions with you. And we work to incorporate what we learn into future events and pass your thoughts to others at OCLC. So thank you very much! We are grateful for your time, attention and engagement and look forward to more opportunities to connect and share and listen in the coming months.

This spring, we have at least eight more events planned for regions throughout the U.S., including our next event scheduled for February 17, 2011, co-hosted with Florida Southern College in Lakeland. We look forward to seeing you in Florida, or at one of the other regional events in your area!

Chris Martire
Director, OCLC Member Services
On behalf of the OCLC Member Services team: Eric Forte, Daphne Kouretas, Carole Myles, RJ Pettersen

perceptions_2010_cover.jpgJust before ALA Midwinter, we announced the release of two chapters from the newest OCLC membership report, Perceptions of Libraries, 2010: Context and Community. At an ALA session where a group of us previewed the full report, there was vibrant discussion - and a lot more to talk about together in the future. There was also quite a lot of activity on Twitter, where some of the key findings from the report were shared and linked.

As always happens when we talk about our users and the future, I came away with many new ideas for future research directions! But for today, I'm pleased to report that the full publication of Perceptions of Libraries, 2010 is available now for free download and for print copy orders.

I believe the trends, perceptions and attitudes of the information consumer examined in this latest study is important information for the OCLC membership, the library profession, community leaders and library advocates as we work together to advance the vital work of libraries. I look forward to your comments, suggestions and observations, and you can share them with us here.

And I look forward to some great discussions!!

HathiTrust is a leader in collecting, organizing, preserving and sharing the record of human knowledge through its digital archives. OCLC has been working with HathiTrust for some time now in a variety of ways. In April of last year, for example, MARC records representing the digital collections in HathiTrust were added to WorldCat, making those resources easier for users to find on the Web. These records are also available for OCLC members to add to their local catalogs, where they can surface in other applications such as interlibrary loan, collection analysis and local discovery systems.

Now, we're very excited to announce that HathiTrust will be implementing a WorldCat Local user interface that will further improve access to the digital materials archived there.

This is a great example of the kind of partnerships that are possible because of role OCLC and its members play in the "information space." HathiTrust provides access to a compelling and highly regarded set of materials from more than fifty major research institutions. OCLC members represent thousands of libraries worldwide. Putting those two sets of assets together greatly improves the value of each to the other.

But the partnership story doesn't end there. Because WorldCat data is made available to other partners, the HathiTrust materials can reach an even greater number of interested users. WorldCat has become much more than a repository of collected data in these equations. It has become, as some have said, the "switch" where many different information roads meet, overlap and extend.

It's also an example of how the feedback from the community of libraries that support WorldCat can help improve our partners' systems. OCLC is able to work with our members to do all kinds of usability testing to improve WorldCat Local. As is obvious from this example, that work will go on to benefit the users of HathiTrust materials.

I'm excited to be working on these kinds of partnerships for just that reason--every time we bring new materials, metadata, activities or opportunities back to the cooperative, we're seeing the positive effects "ripple out" to more and more participants. The cumulative effects just keep getting better, and I'm curious (and eager!) to see what kinds of new partnerships will be coming down the road in the future.
perceptions_2010_cover.jpg In 2005, OCLC published, Perceptions of Libraries and Information Resources. The report to the OCLC membership summarized findings about the information-seeking habits, preferences, and perceptions of the newly empowered Information Consumer. This month we will release a study updating our knowledge of the Information Consumer in Perceptions of Libraries, 2010: Context and Community.

Why update the 2005 report? First, in "Internet time," five years is at least one information generation. To put that statement in perspective, in 2005 there was no Twitter (launched July 2006), Facebook hadn't opened to the general public (September 2006), and the first iPhone was more than three years away (January 2009).

Second, in the five years since we published Perceptions 2005, the United States, and much of the rest of the world, has experienced a massive economic downturn. We all know, instinctively, that the global recession must be affecting how people use and perceive information resources and library services, but we wanted to find out more about how economic factors are impacting both the use and the perception of the library. Having a "snapshot" from 2005 gave us a great opportunity to compare "before-and-during the recession" usage and attitudes - and to identify new opportunities for libraries.

At the ALA Midwinter meeting in San Diego, I'll be reviewing our findings. Today we're previewing two chapters from the new report:

  • "Economically Impacted Americans." We paid particular attention in 2010 to our current economic situation. We were interested in learning how those impacted by job changes or job loss are using the library and other information resources. Our research showed that 20% of Americans have experienced a negative change to their employment status, such as a job loss or having to work more than one job to make ends meet. That's more than twice the current unemployment rate. Americans who have been negatively impacted have distinct information consumption habits and are 50% more likely to visit the library at least weekly than those not affected. They are also 20 percent more likely to hold a library card (81% vs. 68%) and are most actively using the full range of resources that the library has to offer.

  • "The Library: Empowering Americans." Americans are using the library more due to the economic downturn. This is particularly true for those whose employment status has been negatively impacted. 76% of economically impacted users have reduced spending on books, CDs and DVDs and are turning to the library in large numbers to fill the gap. We saw Americans increase their library use during challenging economic times; this was the lifestyle change with the largest increase reported in our study. Our libraries are filling gaps left by the recession. 
If you're going to ALA Midwinter, please join me on Saturday, January 8, from 1:30 - 3:30 p.m. in the San Diego Convention Center, Room 08 for a discussion of the entire report, and much more data from these two chapters. You can register for the session, and other OCLC events, here. And please read the two pre-publication chapters, available at the OCLC Membership Reports page.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the full report when it's released this month. You can reach me at derosac@oclc.org.

If you're going to ALA Midwinter in San Diego, we'd love to see you at the OCLC Americas Regional Council (ARC) meeting this Friday from 8am until noon. Your library doesn't need to be an OCLC member... we want feedback from any/everyone in the community. It's an open forum for discussion about the cooperative, and you'll get a chance to hear from:

  • Anne Prestamo (Oklahoma State University), Chair, Americas Regional Council
  • Jennifer Younger, (Catholic Research Resources Alliance) President, OCLC Global Council
  • Jay Jordan, OCLC President & CEO
  • Karen Calhoun, OCLC Vice President, Metadata Applications
  • John Helmer (Orbis Cascade Alliance), Chair, Cost Sharing Models Task Force
  • Larry Alford (Temple University), Chair, OCLC Board of Trustees 
Anne, Jennifer, Larry and Jay will be giving updates on the cooperative, the OCLC Global Council and the Americas Regional Council. And we've got a couple presentations based on requests from previous events. Members have asked to hear more about what we're all doing to maintain and improve the quality of WorldCat data, so Karen will be discussing that topic. Over the last 18-months, issues of cost sharing and pricing strategy have been top-of-mind for many in the cooperative, and we're lucky to have John Helmer with us, as he is chairing a new Global Council Cost Sharing Models Task Force. There will be time at the end of the meeting for questions-and-answers in an open forum with the members of the OCLC Board of Trustees.

Refreshments will be provided, and if you're planning on sticking around for the OCLC Symposium, it's in the same exact place at 1:30.

You can register for the event here... and if you won't be in San Diego, you can register to attend virtually, via live Web broadcast.

Hope to see you there!