Meeting on the ledge

(or why I don't get out much…..)

OCLC ‘Making partnerships mattter’

I was at OCLC’s ‘Making partnerships matter’ event in Birmingham on Tuesday and came away quite impressed. The title of the day for me didn’t really cover what I got out of it – they were talking about WorldCat Local and what they’re calling ‘Web-scale management services’.

WorldCat Local seems quite impressive: it leverages OCLC’s existing information sources WorldCat and extensive links to eresources, to create an interesting alternative to other Resource Discovery systems. Of course, the big question is the coverage of the pre-indexed material, and there seems no easy way of comparing this with alternatives such as EDS, Summon, Encore Synergy or Primo Central. But the feedback from their only UK customer so far, York St John University, seemed good,  and the recognition that federated searching still has a role to play to ensure completeness was welcome.  I’ll be looking at this in more detail – providing that the outcome of the Browne Report and CSR don’t preclude it……

Although WorldCat Local is part of OCLC’s move to ‘Web-scale management’, in a way the latter is more long-term. They’ve taken the logical step to realising that as it is now possible for an LMS supplier to remotely-host an LMS,  it might actually be more efficient to run the LMS in ‘the Cloud’. In other words, instead of multiple completely independent systems,  separating only the data rather than the functionality. They’re still in fairly early days yet – Circulation and Acquisitions are being beta-tested in several member libraries – but this looks an interesting alternative. Many libraries are having issues supporting their own LMS due to uncooperative local IT departments (don’t get me started :-)) and lack of funding for their own staff, and so to outsource this to a resource which understands libraries seems sensible.

Overall a very good day, not least because it was my first visit to OCLC’s third Bimingham office in the past 20 years!

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October 21, 2010 - Posted by | Libraries | , ,

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