Well, it’s been an absolute whirlwind since I got back from ALA. It was, as I hoped, one of the best ever.
I can’t think of a word the launch of Web-scale Management Services other than “awesome!” I never heard a negative comment, librarians were excited, not just for something new, but for something clearly different. Sean Fitzpatrick at American Libraries provided a nice summary of activities at ALA, writing that the new Web-scale service “provides a front-end interface into library management tools that rivals (hands down) any dedicated ILS software environment I’ve ever seen.”
I can’t say enough good things about my OCLC colleagues, especially Jeff Schilling and Jon Blackburn, who spent countless hours in the booth talking about and demonstrating the circulation, acquisitions, and WorldCat Local discovery for Web-scale Management Services; and Jill Fluvog, marketing and sales guru extraordinaire, who was always there when we needed her!
While they were busy talking to all-comers, some of the pilot library participants, Advisory council members, and I were presenting to a nice crowd down the street. As I mentioned in my last post, we’re going to repeat this presentation in an online event next Wednesday, July 21 at 2pm EDT. You can register here. This time I will be joined by three pilot participants–Kyle Banerjee (Orbis Cascade Alliance), and Jackie Beach (CPC Regional Libraries), and Michael Dula (Pepperdine University). This “online launch” will include a demo of the latest functionality available now to early adopters.
So now the gates are open to those early adopters, a handful of libraries who will join the pilot libraries who have been testing the software and giving OCLC the feedback it needs, not only to take those libraries live with the solution, but also to build in new functionality for consortial support, cooperative intelligence tools, and the long-awaited (and much needed) libary workflow component.
Libraries across the U.S. are already queuing up for what will ultimately represent a global roll-out of a new generation of library management tools. I’m incredibly excited to point to one of the first early adopters to join the endeavor–the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga has just launched its implementation project on an ambitous timeline. I only wish I could have bottled the excitement felt by the folks there. We’re all looking forward to working with their team to make their early adoption a success. Jason Griffey has posted the news of their participation on his blog.
This development effort has been one of the most exciting times of my professional career. Two and a half years ago, I arrived at OCLC, a product portfolio of me, myself, and I, given a once-in-a-career opportunity, the blessing of the OCLC Board of Trustees and OCLC senior leadership, and the fantastic support and encouragement of the OCLC membership to work with a small group of developers, product analysts, and metadata experts to build a proof of concept into a practical and much-needed solution of libraries. The team was built with some of the brightest and most highly motivated individuals I have ever had the pleasure to work with. Now a team of dozens spanning three continents, five coutnries, and eleven cities are working together with libraries to create a new future for library automation. Believe me when I tell you that more very exciting aspects of this future are just around the corner.
I’m looking forward to the year ahead!