Recently in Innovation Category
When I was in library school in the mid-nineties, I was told there was a "greying of the profession" in process. As I cocky, young, soon-to-be librarian, I read this threat as a promise. So many librarians would be retiring in the next 20 years that we literally could not fill their seats with the new generations of librarians "coming online."
I was intrigued by the challenge but utterly stunned by the professional response. Somehow this looming threat was turning into a library school recruitment effort. I had a different reaction. If we were a factory, I thought, and we could literally not replace the workers on the line, we would only have two choices--slow down our production or increase our levels of automation. In this sense, I don't consider myself an accidental systems librarian, like so many of my contemporaries. The desire to automate processes to replace redundant, inefficient, and commoditized workflows conducted by hand was apparently in my DNA. So, I traded in what I'm sure would have been a lucrative and fulfilling future as a rare book cataloger in order to be a systems librarian. My humble goal: to replace those empty seats with better automation.
I've used this blog to crow about WorldShare Management Services quite a bit, especially the features, efficiencies, and network effects made available in acquisitions, discovery, and circulation. But my product team also has responsibility for new product features that can stand alone from these initiatives. So, I'm very proud to point at a new development in WorldShare Metadata.
Using the WorldCat knowledge base, we have developed a method to set holdings for licensed content and then deliver MARC records for those holdings. We're calling this WorldShare Metadata collection management--the ability to manage resources at the collection level, as opposed to the traditional record-by-record workflows. Moreover, this means that libraries can have records delivered for local system use in one step, rather than provider-by-provider.
"Using the [WorldCat] knowledge
base and this new MARC record delivery service for some e-book collections is
really a more efficient workflow overall. It provides more thorough and
accurate access to e-books in our catalog and discovery tools."
--Holly Tomren, Head, Metadata Services, Drexel University Libraries
This means no more tracking and managing multiple workflows, varying frequencies of updates, and dealing with a breadth of quality in metadata records. This WorldShare service not only streamlines technical services workflows, it means better and more consistent access for patrons. Even a slight URL change will trigger delivery of a new record. Since the knowledge base is updated and managed by OCLC and the entire cooperative, this means more accurate linking and no more need for URL-checking in your local catalog. We all know how quickly URLs can grey.
WorldShare Metadata collection management functionality allows you to define and configure your e-book and other electronic collections in one place, and automatically receive initial and updated customized WorldCat MARC records for all e-titles from one source, providing your users access to the titles and content from within the local library catalog or other discovery interface. And output is determined by the library...don't want MARC? Then choose MARC XML, multiple variations of Dublin Core, or MODS.
In the future, WorldShare Metadata collection management will not only deliver records for local use regardless of provider and in multiple outputs, but also regardless of material format. This means libraries can create record delivery criteria across print, licensed, and digital materials--true collection management, a vast improvement over record, format, and supplier management. This is pretty exciting stuff. Speed up the production lines!
I had a birthday a few weeks ago and I've noticed a lot more grey hair in the mirror. I've become what I once beheld, but it only encourages me to double the effort to increase efficiencies for libraries and patrons.
So at some point, blogging became like exercise to me. It used to come easily because I did it regularly, and if I didn't do it regularly, I missed it terribly. I hear that runners get like this...I wouldn't know. Despite my hectic pace, it's more webscale than cardiovascular. So, I'm trying once again to turn over a new leaf, looking for an equivalent to new year's day to start blogging again. I figured that OCLC's introduction of a new brand is as good way to start as any.
I won't bore any of you with what goes into a new name, a new brand. Let's just say it's a lot more work than you might imagine. And OCLC WorldShare is so much more than just a new cloud-based, cooperative library management service. I've talked a lot about building webscale with libraries over the last few years. OCLC WorldShare introduces three critical components of our strategy for truly cooperating at Webscale: WorldShare, our commitment to radical collaboration in library service delivery; OCLC WorldShare Platform, where libraries can collectively innovate library services; and the opening of new worldwide data centers that will support OCLC services globally.
Of vital importance to all of us at OCLC--and I think made clear in the introduction of WorldShare--is the hand-in-hand nature in which it co-exists with WorldCat. I still view WorldCat as the most compelling and distinguishing feature of the management services that our global team at OCLC has been building over the last four years. It was nice to see that we are not alone in the assertion of WorldCat's place in the world of important databases. It is truly an amazing database and a rich source of discovery.
Management Applications and The Platform
OCLC WorldShare Management Services replaces Web-scale Management Services, while giving comfort to the growing community that already affectionately refers to it as WMS. New services--from metadata management to resource sharing and consortial borrowing--will come together under this name.
WMS has served as an example of one of the most exciting developments at OCLC, the platform on which these applications are built and their associated Web Services are exposed and shared. Libraries, developers, and 3rd parties will be able to innovate collectively on a provider-neutral platform--the OCLC WorldShare Platform.
We're taking our commitment to cooperative innovation very seriously. The OCLC WorldShare platform is intended for the entire library ecosystem--from tech-savvy librarians to developers, from part-time coders to software engineers, from library automation start-ups to established vendors--and all for the benefit of libraries, especially those without the resources to create new services on their own. In my opinion, this is webscale for systems librarianship.
A Pace even more hectic
By no stretch of the imagination can I claim product leadership for all things webscale at OCLC...I have six peers who lead product portfolios with equally lofty and ambitious goals and plans. We work very collaboratively together and with the OCLC membership to ensure that our product paths have meaning to and impact on the library community. But I will admit that building webscale with libraries and helping create a new brand have kept me busier than I expected, and too busy for this blog or even the occasional tweet.
That said, I'm using the occasion of a new brand for OCLC to once again recommit to making Hectic Pace a place for discussion and announcements of import to technology in libraries. I've used it selfishly over the last couple of years to talk about the work that I'm intimately involved with on a day-to-day basis. I'm optimistic that the introduction of the OCLC WorldShare Platform, the growth of the WMS community, and other equally ambitious endeavors will provide even more opportunity to share and discuss what goes on in the world of library automation. Let's keep learning.
- Describe the Problem
- Get administrative support
- Brainstorm with the solution provider
- Develop use cases / scenarios
- Understand your development partner
- Articulate a vision
- Be the first on your block--use early adoption to your advantage to set development priorities
- Be ready to exit if necessary
- Know your data and your systems
- Understand the development culture of your partner
- Understand your own culture
- Plan for success