My friend and colleague Chrystie Hill reminded me the other day that I was wrong about something. This was no revelation, this happens quite frequently. In a conversation about OCLC’s various assets, I was going on again about leveraging the vast amounts of data in the WorldCat bibliographic database and all the potential of the WorldCat Registry.
Chrystie reminded me, as anyone working in the WebJunction group should, that it is the network of people that matters. They create the data in WorldCat. They arethe institutions in the Registry.
This truism was made all the more poignant by a really great Members’ Council meeting in Dublin last week. This was my second one, and this time, there was a lot about “the network.” Having been heavily involved in several professional and personal groups where I have interacted with boards and members’ groups, I can say that this board and members’ group is among the best I’ve seen. And I’m not just saying that because the truth of it is seen in their determination to make difficult yet important decisions, like the one they made last week about OCLC Governance. Decisions like these are the teeth behind catch phrases like “Local, Group, Global.” The network of members provides the focus for a vision statement like “The world’s libraries. Connected.”
Some people have teased me about my new title, Executive Director of Networked Library Services. And I’m the first to admit now that I was mistakenly approaching the “network” as piles of hardware and software–sitting there at my disposal to build something great, increase efficiency, and reduce costs for libraries. I’m still gonna try to do all that, but in the meantime, my colleagues and the membership reminded me to stay focused on the real network.