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.