Saturday, September 15, 2007

Highlights from OCLC Western Director's Day 2007 : Part 2

Here is part two of my report on the OCLC Western Director's Day event.

OCLC President Jay Jordan discussed WorldCat Local, and said they had all the beta sites they needed, thank-you-very-much. I got the impression he's getting offers from a lot of libraries who want to be in on this. So far, the betas are involving extensive (and probably time-consuming) customization. They seem to be moving forward as aggressively as they can.

George Needham, OCLC Vice President Member Services, spoke about library trends, including the move to patron self-service, user-centered services, even design trends to make libraries seem more friendly and inviting.

The most notable thing he said was that according to studies, for information-seekers "convenience trumps quality". Patrons will choose easily accessible but mediocre data over high-quality data that's hard to get to.

Finally, Lorcan Dempsey, OCLC VP for Research, presented on OCLC's response to the changing information environment we find ourselves in. His presentation slideshow is online here.

He believes that libraries must adapt to patron habits and make our services convenient, because in today's world, time is scarce and information abundant. Brand recognition is increasingly important as patrons try to navigate this environment, and OCLC sees an opportunity to help libraries collectively build a brand to at least get a place on a map dominated by the Googles and Amazons of the world. To compete, our brand must be "web scale", and OCLC sees it's role as helping to stitch us together to help make one.

OCLC sees other business opportunities in creating system-wide efficiencies through integrated management services to libraries in various ways.

Finally, he briefly discussed the "WorldCat Grid", which will be a platform to open up OCLC systems as web services.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Tomorrow is Software Freedom Day!

Tomorrow is Software Freedom Day, the day set aside to promote free software. You may not be manning a booth somewhere, but you can still do your part. Tell a friend about free software. Or blog about it...

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Thursday, September 13, 2007

Highlights from OCLC Western Director's Day 2007 : Part 1

OCLC Western held its annual Director's Day confab in Pomona, CA yesterday, and Cathy De Rosa (OCLC VP for the Americas/Global Marketing VP) presented some interesting findings from "Perceptions of Libraries and Information Resources", a survey about public attitudes towards libraries.

In reviewing findings that the public felt their privacy was more at risk in libraries and on library web sites than while surfing the web, she remarked that libraries needed a privacy branding for their sites.

Many of us present felt that was an excellent idea. We do a lot to safeguard patron privacy, but don't say much about it. A logo and a self-certification program to go with it would be a simple, inexpensive, and probably effective way to make the point one more time that libraries are special places.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Reflections on a Year of Space Age Librarian

One year ago today I launched Space Age Librarian, the blog that turned the library business on its head and changed life as we know it.

OK, maybe not. But as I look back on the experience, what I've most enjoyed is the opportunity to collect my thoughts on the library issues that have come my way. The Firefox series, mostly still trapped in draft-blog limbo, has really opened my eyes to the promise of browser plug-ins to truly transform the computing experience. I hope to finish it someday!

I've also enjoyed adding a little to the voice of the biblioblogosphere, I really think it's becoming the voice of the profession. Thanks for reading and stay tuned!

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