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Reimagine Descriptive Workflows: A Community-informed Agenda for Reparative and Inclusive Descriptive Practice

April 5, 2022

OCLC, with support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, sponsored the Reimagine Descriptive Workflows project to better understand and address harm caused by cultural institutions' collection descriptions.The Reimagine Descriptive Workflows project convened a group of experts, practitioners, and community members to determine ways of improving descriptive practices, tools, infrastructure, and workflows in libraries and archives. The result, this community agenda, is offered to the broad library and archives community of practice. The agenda draws together insights from the convening, related research, and operational work that is ongoing in the field. All institutions hold power to make meaningful changes in this space, and all share collective responsibility.  The agenda is constructed to instruct and chart a path toward reparative and inclusive description. The agenda is divided into two distinct parts.The first part provides contextual information regarding the project, the convening, and the methods used to create this agenda. It also frames the historical, local, and workflow challenges and tensions to consider when approaching inclusive and reparative metadata work.The second part offers a framework of guidance that suggests actions and exercises that can help frame institutions' local priorities and areas for change, and also provides examples to inspire local work.OCLC, as an organization that plays a significant role in the stewardship of library metadata, is very pleased to be able to facilitate the production of this community agenda. The agenda and its recommendations will also be an important guide for OCLC as it charts its own way forward. The work of confronting and addressing harmful description practice is not easy, and we are grateful for community contributions that have informed and shaped this project and publication.

Research Information Management in the United States: Part 1 - Findings and Recommendations

November 15, 2021

The Research Information Management in the United States two-part report series provides a first-of-its-kind documentation of RIM practices at US research universities that presents a thorough examination of RIM practices, goals, stakeholders, and system components.Research information management (RIM) is a rapidly growing area of investment in US research universities. While RIM practices are mature in Europe and other locales in support of nationalized reporting requirements, RIM practices at US research universities have taken a different—and characteristically decentralized—course. A complex environment characterized by multiple use cases, stakeholders, and systems has resulted. This report provides a landscape overview of the state of research information management in the United States, makes sense of the complexity, and offers recommendations targeted at University leaders and other institutional decision makers. 

New Model Library: Pandemic Effects and Library Directions

October 28, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic impacted libraries of all types around the world, requiring library leaders to respond to rapidly shifting community and institutional needs. OCLC Research interviewed 29 library leaders from 11 countries to capture their experiences during the pandemic and understand what they envision for their libraries moving forward. We describe these transformations—how leaders strategically adapted to meet evolving needs and expectations—as movements toward a New Model Library.With a foreword from Janice Welburn, this high-level briefing synthesizes findings and recommendations within the context of work experiences, collections experiences, and engagement experiences. And within each of these contexts, it identifies New Model Library transformations occurring because of four areas of impact:AgilityCollaborationVirtualizationSpaceThe resulting framework can help you and your library find common ground with peers and identify new ideas and directions for your strategic planning. We hope you find this foundation useful as a way to share your own experiences and ideas for your New Model Library.

Mobilizing Community to Transition to the Next Generation of Metadata

July 1, 2021

This article highlights community and stakeholder mobilization initiatives in the library and heritage sectors that help in the transition to the next generation of metadata. We draw from the Next Generation of Metadata round table discussions organized by OCLC Research in March 2021. In these discussions, we saw next generation metadata mobilization taking place along two trajectories: (1) transforming and publishing institutionally sourced metadata and (2) improving metadata already in the supply chain. The article provides context and scope from the round table conversations and highlights national initiatives taking place in both mobilization areas. The article then discusses the challenge of managing at multiple scales, as efforts of local, national and global scale gear up to connect with each other. 

Total Cost of Stewardship: Responsible Collection Building in Archives and Special Collections

March 16, 2021

Developed by the OCLC Research Library Partnership's (RLP) Collection Building and Operational Impacts Working Group, Total Cost of Stewardship is a framework that proposes a holistic approach to understanding the resources needed to responsibly acquire and steward archives and special collections. The Total Cost of Stewardship Framework responds to the ongoing challenge of descriptive backlogs in archives and special collections by connecting collection development decisions with stewardship responsibilities. This OCLC Research report is a collection of resources designed to support archives and special collections in making informed, shared collection building decisions; bring together collection management and collection development considerations; and support communication between colleagues in curatorial, administrative, and technical services roles. The collection of materials published includes:An OCLC Research report: Total Cost of Stewardship: Responsible Collection Building in Archives and Special CollectionsAn annotated bibliography of related resourcesThe Total Cost of Stewardship Tool Suite, comprising of a set of Communication Tools, Cost Estimation Tools, and a Manual to guide end users in implementing the Tool Suite.

Transforming Metadata into Linked Data to Improve Digital Collection Discoverability: A CONTENTdm Pilot Project

January 21, 2021

This report shares the CONTENTdm Linked Data Pilot project findings. In this pilot project, OCLC and five partner institutions investigated methods for—and the feasibility of—transforming metadata into linked data to improve the discoverability and management of digitized cultural materials.Transforming Metadata into Linked Data to Improve Digital Collection Discoverability shares the findings from the CONTENTdm Linked Data Pilot project. In this pilot project, OCLC partnered with five institutions that manage their digital collections with OCLC's CONTENTdm service to investigate methods for—and the feasibility of—transforming metadata into linked data to improve the discoverability and management of digitized cultural materials and their descriptions.Five institutions partnered with OCLC to collaborate on this Linked Data project, representing a diverse cross-section of different types of institutions:The Cleveland Public LibraryThe Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical GardensThe Minnesota Digital LibraryTemple University LibrariesUniversity of Miami LibrariesThe CONTENTdm Linked Data Pilot project is another stage in a growing body of linked data research and development that OCLC has undertaken over the past decade. The findings detailed in this report examine the benefits of working in a linked data environment, the potential to develop a shared data model, and the challenges facing efforts to transform metadata into linked data.

Transitioning to the Next Generation of Metadata

September 29, 2020

Transitioning to the Next Generation of Metadata synthesizes six years (2015-2020) of OCLC Research Library Partners Metadata Managers Focus Group discussions and what they may foretell for the "next generation of metadata." The firm belief that metadata underlies all discovery regardless of format, now and in the future, permeates all Focus Group discussions. Yet metadata is changing. Innovations in librarianship are exerting pressure on metadata management practices to evolve as librarians are required to provide metadata for far more resources of various types and to collaborate on institutional or multi-institutional projects with fewer staff. This report considers:Why is metadata changing?How is the creation process changing?How is the metadata itself changing?What impact will these changes have on future staffing requirements, and how can libraries prepare?This report proposes that transitioning to the next generation of metadata is an evolving process, intertwined with changing standards, infrastructures, and tools. Together, Focus Group members came to a common understanding of the challenges, shared possible approaches to address them, and inoculated these ideas into other communities that they interact with.

Social Interoperability in Research Support: Cross-campus Partnerships and the University Research Enterprise

August 20, 2020

To develop robust research support services across the entire research life cycle, individuals and units from across the university, including the library, must collaborate across internal silos. Effective social interoperability—the creation and maintenance of working relationships between individuals and organizational units—in higher education requires a thorough knowledge of campus partners.The OCLC Research report Social Interoperability in Research Support explores the social and structural norms that shape cross-campus collaboration and offers a conceptual model of key university stakeholders in research support. Information about their goals, interests, expertise, and crucially, the importance of cross-campus relationships in their work was synthesized from interviews conducted with practitioners from  a wide range of campus stakeholders in research support. The report describes the network of campus units involved in both the provision and consumption of major categories of research support services, and concludes with recommendations for establishing and maintaining successful cross-campus relationships.

Archives and Special Collections Linked Data: Navigating between Notes and Nodes

July 21, 2020

To extend OCLC's work on both linked data and special collection and to respond to identified community needs, OCLC recruited 16 professionals from the Research Library Partnership to form an "Archives and Special Collections Linked Data Review Group." This group, supported by OCLC staff, explored key areas of concern in transitioning to a linked data environment. Members of the group presented on a variety of projects to help showcase promising areas for linked data for special collections, as well as to explore areas of friction. This OCLC Research publication is a summary of findings from those discussions. Among the issues discussed in this publication:Descriptive data models for special collections in linked data environmentsChallenges around multilingualityEthical issues, community engagementExpressing relationships and change over timeThe long tail of authorities and identifiers in special collectionsSustainability

Open Content Activities in Libraries: Same Direction, Different Trajectories — Findings from the 2018 OCLC Global Council Survey

July 1, 2020

This report is the culmination of efforts from across the OCLC membership to answer the question raised at a Global Council (GC) meeting: "What is the status of open access and open content in libraries across the globe?" The underlying open content survey was conducted in 2018-2019 by the OCLC Global Council in partnership with staff from OCLC Research. The survey's broad definition of library open content activities and global scope offers a new perspective on open content activities within the library community as it uncovers and highlights the maturity and versatility of these activities.Open Content Activities in Libraries: Same Direction, Different Trajectories—Findings from the 2018 OCLC Global Council Survey synthesizes survey findings on current and future planned open content activities and areas of investment for a large cohort of research and university libraries. This subgroup of 511 respondents from 69 countries is highly involved in open content activities (97%), and the overwhelming majority are stepping up their activities and planning new ones. Overall, the figures suggest a future increase in involvement of 10-18% across all open content activities. Future growth areas that indicate likely new emerging services are the management of open research data and interactions with (digitized) open collections through statistical and machine learning techniques.

Call to Action: Public Libraries and the Opioid Crisis

February 26, 2020

OCLC has partnered with the Public Library Association (PLA) to issue Call to Action: Public Libraries and the Opioid Crisis, a report that offers strategies for public libraries to consider as they determine a local response to the nationwide opioid crisis. This is the culminating output from the IMLS-funded project Public Libraries Respond to the Opioid Crisis with Their Communities.As the impact of the opioid epidemic is felt in communities across the U.S., public libraries are engaging in community responses. For many libraries, however, the new and urgent demand created by this public health crisis is paired with uncertainty on how best to address local needs in this area. This Call to Action guide provides options, ideas, and resources to support libraries as they develop response strategies, and encourages libraries to:Evaluate local health dataSeek community partnersEducate staff and community members on the issueConsider the need for staff careOffer programs and services that support local needs.

Responsible Operations: Data Science, Machine Learning, and AI in Libraries

December 8, 2019

Responsible Operations is intended to help chart library community engagement with data science, machine learning, and artificial intelligence (AI) and was developed in partnership with an advisory group and a landscape group comprised of more than 70 librarians and professionals from universities, libraries, museums, archives, and other organizations.This research agenda presents an interdependent set of technical, organizational, and social challenges to be addressed en route to library operationalization of data science, machine learning, and AI.Challenges are organized across seven areas of investigation:Committing to Responsible OperationsDescription and DiscoveryShared Methods and DataMachine-Actionable CollectionsWorkforce DevelopmentData Science ServicesSustaining Interprofessional and Interdisciplinary CollaborationOrganizations can use Responsible Operations to make a case for addressing challenges, and the recommendations provide an excellent starting place for discussion and action.