Hello, and On Small Libraries
I'm Karen Calhoun, Vice President of WorldCat and Metadata Services at OCLC. Some OCLC colleagues and I have joined together to launch Metalogue, a new blog devoted to cataloguing and metadata topics around the world.
On Small Libraries
I often hear it said that OCLC doesn't serve small libraries; that small libraries can't afford OCLC. Recently, Deanna Marcum, in her response to the LC Working Group's report and recommendations, remarked that the Working Group "worried about small and often underfunded institutions that are unable to participate in the OCLC collaborative."
Well, I believe it is true that OCLC has historically underserved smaller libraries, so with some help from OCLC staff members I dug through a number of sources to get a clearer picture of where we are. In the process I learned that the picture is not as bleak as some who comment on the
Two relatively unknown (in academic library circles) services--CatExpress and Group Services--enable access to WorldCat cataloging services at affordable levels for smaller
· 35% of all 9,000-plus
· OCLC Group Services reach over 2,300
· OCLC Group Services reach around 1,750
· Through CatExpress, OCLC is serving the cataloging needs of 1,533
· At the May 2008 Members Council meeting, a new initiative for small and rural libraries was announced. The Small Libraries Advisory Group, sponsored by George Needham and chaired by George Bishop, the library director for the Ovid-Elsie Schools in
· The forthcoming OCLC membership report, From Awareness to Funding, is an example of OCLC's efforts to advocate for libraries of all sizes. The intent of this Gates Foundation-supported research report is to evaluate the potential of a national marketing campaign to increase public library funding in the
Clearly, OCLC needs to make much more progress in figuring out ways to affordably serve smaller libraries in the
Even more progress needs to be made outside the
Multi-type library cooperation is on the rise (corporate/academic, corporate/public, school/public, etc.) ... National libraries are also expanding the scope of their missions, to include direct services to other types of libraries and to the private sector.
Along these lines, OCLC has been offering support to national libraries outside the
* CatExpress supports simple, inexpensive access to WorldCat MARC records for libraries needing basic copy cataloging and MARC record delivery for 250-7,000 titles per year. OCLC's annual subscription price for a small library is between $125 and $200.
**Group Services offers a single subscription price for all of a library group's desired OCLC services--including group participants with no OCLC affiliation. Any type of library group, from small cooperatives to statewide consortia, can pick and choose what they want--a group online catalog, unlimited use of OCLC resource sharing and cataloging, as well as other services like CONTENTdm or ebooks. In one group in