And now for something completely different

Posted On Apr 23 2009 by

Five years ago, I wrote an article for Library Journal about “Dismantling the System.” At the end of that article, I suggested that it would be necessary for us to dismantle systems so that we could rebuild them.  Of course, I left out how exactly we should do that.

Now it’s time to be more explicit about what I have been up to for the last 15 months. I’ve been pretty busy listening to the library community, trying to put their views into a strategy, and creating something new that I hope will represent a real sea-change for libraries and the OCLC cooperative.

If you haven’t seen it already, I would encourage you to take a look at OCLC’s latest press release.  It announces an exciting strategic direction for OCLC and its members and I’m thrilled to be a part of it.  OCLC is extending the WorldCat Localplatform to include circulation and delivery, print and electronic acquisitions, and license management components.  A quick start version of WorldCat Local–available at no additional charge to  FirstSearch WorldCat subscribers–is a first step to WorldCat Local and to a truly next-generation cooperative library management service.

Library testing of the circulation component of the web-scale management service will begin this summer, with other components to follow in phases.  Initial pilot libraries will be named soon.  An advisory council is in the works to help guide the development and rollout of this new solution.  You’re invited to follow details of the project and I encourage everyone out there to use the comments section of this post to submit their thoughts, questions, ideas, and opinions.

Five years after I advocated dismantling library management systems, I am confident that using web-scale architectures and a cooperative service model are the right way to put things back together again.  The OCLC cooperative is not only uniquely positioned to provide this solution, it is part of our obligation to libraries.

Last Updated on: January 19th, 2024 at 12:22 am, by Andrew K. Pace

Written by Andrew K. Pace

7 responses to “And now for something completely different

  1. I think this is a smart move but why did member libraries have to read about it as a press release and not as a e-mail/letter to members? That is one reason so many of us feel out of tune with OCLC.

  2. Wow! Very exciting! I’m signing up for the webinars on how to implement WorldCat Local Quick Start now…

  3. Bill,
    It’s quite hard in this day and age to trickle out an announcement of this magnitude. I hope you can understand and appreciate the difficulty of making such an announcement, as I appreciate your assessment that the new initiative is a “smart move!”

  4. The press release says :”Acquisitions will include basic Electronic Resource Management (ERM) functionality, including vendor/provider management, and metadata management” : why juste “basic” ERM functionality ? If the aim is to become a global LMS, merging ILS and ERM functionalities seems a priority, doesn’t it ?

  5. Marlene, it is indeed the goal. The current problem is that much of the current acquisitions functionality is duplicated between the two systems. Or use requires synchronizing data back and forth, which raises questions about which system has the authoritative datastore and on which system staff should conduct their workflow.

    Also, I do think there is currently danger of “ERM” becoming as bloated as other management systems to make up for the short-comings of not combining acquisitions activity into a single service. So, ‘basic’ was meant to address that problem.

    Suffice it to say that the goal is “print and licensed acquisitions” on a web-scale and cooperative platform.

  6. Three words. “It’s about time…”

    Seriously, thank you Andrew and OCLC.

    I got a chance to visit with your crew two years ago to see your Endeca enhanced OPAC at NCSU (my alma mata, Go State!) and wondered why/how OCLC snarfed you up since then.

    Now I know. Keep it up!

  7. Andrew,
    While the build out of this thing is in the early stages I’d like to put in a plug for considering use cases of a library director reporting yearly output statistics to IMLS (public libraries) or ACRL and NCES (academic libraries). The definitions for data required are available from the respective websites of IMLS, ACRL and NCES. Keep up the good work. Cheers, Ira