Training University Librarians for Today and Tomorrow: OCLCfs perspective

Mr. Jay Jordan
OCLC President and CEO

Japan Association of Private University Libraries Symposium
Tokai University
14 May 2004

Itfs an honor for me to be with you here at the Japan Association of Private University Libraries. Today, I will discuss training programs for university librarians within the context of the emerging digital library and how the OCLC cooperative is meeting challenges and implementing solutions. I will cover the organization of OCLC, recent trends in the information environment, and OCLCfs evolving strategy to help libraries and other knowledge organizations thrive in this environment and build the digital libraries of the future. The digital libraries of the future will be both print and electronic. They will require both traditional and new skills in librarianship. That is why training programs for university librarians are more important than ever. Hopefully, some of the trends and directions that I will discuss today will be useful in developing training for todayfs and tomorrowfs university librarians. Let me start with a little bit of background on OCLC.

OCLC Today

Today, OCLC serves more than 49,000 libraries in 84 countries. We have a total of about 1,100 employees, with some 860 on our main campus in Dublin and offices in California, New York, Pennsylvania, Washington state and Washington, DC, Canada, England, France, Mexico and the Netherlands.

Public purposes

OCLC is a nonprofit, membership, computer library service and research organization. We are not a dot.com. We are a dot.org. Since our founding in 1967, our public purposes have been to further access to the worldfs information and reduce library costs. Our public purposes dominate our plans and activities. In support of these purposes, OCLC strives to maintain a strong financial base by operating in a business-like manner in order to accommodate growth, upgrade technological platforms, conduct research and development, and still subsidize worthwhile projects for the benefit of libraries and their users. We are a membership organization. Governing members are institutions that contribute all their cataloging to the OCLC database, WorldCat. These members elect delegates to a 66-delegate Members Council that meets three times a year and which elects six members of the 15-member OCLC Board of Trustees. We are governed by libraries, for libraries and their users.

The Cooperative

As I stated earlier, the OCLC cooperative now connects more than 49,000 libraries in 84 countries and is actively engaged in the global networking of information. The cooperative is a truly international community. There are some 39,000 libraries in the U.S. that are participating in the OCLC cooperative. There are more than 9,000 libraries in 83 countries outside the U.S. that are participating. There are over 3,500 libraries, primarily institutions of higher education, participating in OCLC in Asia Pacific. There are over 900 participating institutions in Canada. There are over 700 participating institutions in Latin America and the Caribbean. In Europe, the Middle East and Africa, there are more than 4,600 institutions participating in OCLC PICA. Our cooperative is becoming worldwide, and the global networking of information is both a theoretical and practical issue for us.

OCLC Services

We provide services to libraries in these areas: cataloging, resource sharing, reference, and digital collection management and preservation. We also provide access to more than 65,000 e-books through our netLibrary division, and, as many of you know, we also publish the Dewey Decimal Classification. With our member libraries, we also operate and maintain WorldCat, which is the worldfs largest bibliographic database and the foundation for our core services. Last year, libraries used OCLC to catalog 54.7 million items. They added 2.3 million bibliographic records to WorldCat. There were almost 100 million end-user reference searches on OCLC FirstSearch. There were a record 9.3 million interlibrary loans arranged on the system. Let me say a few words about the most important asset of the OCLC cooperative?the WorldCat bibliographic database.


WorldCat is certainly one of the great examples of the power of library cooperation, and it is a model that has continued to provide value over three decades of continuous technological change. Through WorldCat, libraries have merged their catalogs electronically, making available to libraries and users resources that no single institution could possess. WorldCat now contains more than 54 million records, and there are now more than 921 million location listings, or holding symbols. We are projecting that we will hit one billion holding symbols in about 24 months?sometime in the latter part of 2006. Even though WorldCat is one of the great tools of the library world, it needs to continue to change to remain vital. We are in the midst of a major project to transform WorldCat from a bibliographic database and online union catalog to a globally networked information resource of text, graphics, sound and motion. I will have more to say about that transformation later.

Japanese Libraries & OCLC

Japanese libraries are an important part of the OCLC worldwide cooperative. The first Japanese library joined OCLC in 1986. Since then, there have been 630 libraries profiled to participate in OCLC, and there are currently 200 active users. In the fiscal year ended June 30, 2003, Japanese libraries used OCLC to catalog 99,732 items. They added 7,933 records to WorldCat. They did 370,000 reference searches on FirstSearch. There are more than 1.2 million Japanese records in WorldCat, contributed by OCLC members around the world. The Japanese language ranks number 5th in number of records in WorldCat. 4th place is Spanish, 3rd place is French, 2nd place is German, and 1st is English. By the way, this picture of Waseda University Library appeared in the 1998/99 OCLC Annual Report.

Kinokuniya Company

Since 1986, Kinokuniya Co. Ltd. has been the only marketing agent of OCLC in Japan providing OCLC products and services primarily to university libraries. More than 200 users enjoy using OCLC products and services in Japan. We at OCLC are grateful to Kinokuniya for their hard work on behalf of Japanese libraries and the OCLC cooperative.

Waseda University

We at OCLC very much appreciate the leadership of Waseda University in the cooperativefs activities. Since 1995, Waseda University has added its Japanese vernacular records created on its WINE system to WorldCat, completing the third of a three-phase batchloading process that totaled 780,000 records. In addition, this April, Waseda has started sending about 3,000 Japanese records to OCLC on a monthly basis. Overall, including its western materials collection, Waseda has contributed more than 1,380,000 holdings to WorldCat. This is a significant contribution to libraries through WorldCat, because it meets a variety of demands from researchers and libraries worldwide, especially for Japanese materials.

Global ILL Framework

The Global ILL Framework was launched in September 2002 from the proposal by NII National Institute of Informatics based on the talks at a US-Japan library coordination program. It is the first project between North America and Japan to use the ISO ILL Protocol for communication of ILL requests between the NACSIS ILL and OCLC ILL systems. The great benefit of using the ISO ILL Protocol is that ILL staff may continue using the messaging system used for the majority of their other ILL requests, and thus need not learn another messaging system or proprietary email requesting format. This linkage between NACSIS ILL and OCLC ILL is also of great benefit to the large number of scholars at institutions without Japanese Studies librarians because ILL librarians can use OCLC ILL system for their ILL messaging and fee payment with Japanese libraries. To date 93 Japanese libraries are participating in the Global ILL Framework. Kinokuniya coordinates charges and payments from the OCLC IFM system for Japanese participants.

OCLC Research

The Office of Research was established by OCLC Founder Frederick G. Kilgour in 1978. It is one of the worldfs leading centers devoted exclusively to the challenges facing libraries in a rapidly changing environment. There are 28 persons in the Office of Research, including research scientists, systems analysts, and administrative support staff. OCLC Research has a dual role?to do nonproprietary work for the library and information community, and to improve OCLC services. OCLC also conducts extramural research with universities and other organizations. There are some 20 projects under way that continue the mission of helping OCLC and the library and information science community understand how to meet the needs of todayfs information seekers. Letfs look at a few of their current activities and how they relate to the emerging digital library.

OCLC Researchers are involved in the Open Archives Initiative, which promotes interoperability standards to facilitate dissemination of content. In the OAI space, universities are experimenting with institutional repositories that gather as much of the intellectual output of an institution as possible into a searchable online collection. OCLC is also working with Dspace, the open-source repository software created by MIT and Hewlett Packard. In fact, we created the software that Dspace uses to support its OAI capability. We have two open-source software programs?OAICat and OAIHarvester?that implement OAI protocols for data storage and harvesting in support of institutional repositories. Last month, MIT, Google and OCLC announced that they are working together with 17 universities around the world to provide a way to search the 17 institutionsf collections of scholarly papers. OCLC will harvest the materialfs metadata so that Google will be able to crawl it. Each of the 17 have about 1,000 papers in their archives.

Networked Digital Library of Theses/Dissertations

OCLC is also a member of the Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations whose mission is to improve graduate education by developing accessible digital libraries of theses and dissertations. This is a major effort to expose a rich set of resources that heretofore have been unavailable to scholars around the world. OCLC Research is operating an experimental Electronic Theses & Dissertations Project, which uses the Open Archives Initiativefs Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH) to create a database of metadata for electronic theses and dissertations. These records are available for harvesting as an OAI set. There are presently 175 member universities and 27 other institutions in 34 countries participating in this experiment?their theses and dissertation records are available for harvesting. In addition to providing services and conducting research, OCLC also serves as an advocate for libraries in various communities.

OCLC: Advocate for libraries

For example, OCLC researchers represent the library community in various standards activities. In our advocacy role, we also develop studies and other information sources that OCLC members can use in their planning and, indeed, their own advocacy activities. Last year we issued a number of reports on topics of vital interest to our worldwide library cooperative. They are available at the OCLC Web site.
Let me briefly review a few. gFive-Year Information Format Trendsh outlines trends in popular and scholarly materials, digitization projects and Web resources.
gLibraries: How they stack uph compares library economics and activities to other sectors, professions and destinations in the worldwide economy. One of many interesting facts: gOne out of every six people in the world is a registered library user.h

OCLC Library Training & Education Market Needs Assessment Study

gOCLC Library Training & Education Market Needs Assessment Study.h In 2002, OCLC commissioned a market research firm to survey libraries about the training and education needs of library workers. The resulting report provides libraries with information to support training and education activities at their institutions. This survey focused on online training, and
analyzed the results in the context of those who planned to use web-based training. There were 2,112 responses, with 32 percent from outside the United States. Both gconsumersh and ginfluencersh responded. Consumers were library workers who select their own training. Influencers were library workers who select training for others. Letfs look at some of the conclusions of the study, which is available at the OCLC web site.

Study conclusions

The study found that areas of great need for training include library standards and practices, management skills, and computing and information technology. There are, of course, a variety of training courses and materials in these areas. There are critical training needs, however, for which the training options are either unavailable or difficult to obtain. There are training availability gapes in the following areas: creating and organizing a digital library, collection development and management of digital materials, management of change and innovation, and library automation. Both influencers and consumers of training agree that the number one reason for continuing education for library workers is gkeeping current.h The study also found that respondents believe that they are under-spending on training and education programs and that Web-based distance learning is regarded as a cost-effective ption. While the average annual amount spent per employee is $531, respondents said a reasonable amount would be some 30% higher at $692.


In October 2003, the OCLC Task Force on E-Learning issued a white paper on e-learning strategies for libraries. There were 13 librarians and faculty members in instructional technology and curriculum on the task force. This white paper will help frame discussions as to what roles libraries and the OCLC cooperative might play in e-learning, a concept that today includes not only distance learning, but more traditional courses that have incorporated electronic elements into the traditional teaching and learning process. OCLC is already following through on one of the task forcefs recommendations by partnering with 10 U.S. and U.K. universities to study integrating virtual reference services within course management systems. Instructors at each participating institution have agreed to have a link to QuestionPoint placed on their course home pages so that students are able to access virtual reference services from within the course itself.

Environmental Scan

In January, we made available on the OCLC Web site a new publication, gThe 2003 OCLC Environmental Scan: Pattern Recognition.h As part of our strategic planning process, we took an in-depth look at the environment in which the OCLC cooperative seeks to thrive. The 2003 Environmental Scan includes 100 interviews with information professionals, a review of 250 articles and papers and extensive global research. It was intended to stimulate strategic discussion with our Board of Trustees and Members Council. It met that objective with great success. The Scan is an important resource for our planning in both the near and long terms. We are making the Scan available on the OCLC Web site as an online resource. Letfs take a look at the Scan.


The report explores trends in a variety of landscapes, including: social, economic, technology, research and learning, and library. It looks at changes that are likely to have the most influence on the lives of information consumers. The landscapes are highly interconnected, and trends in one landscape are shaping the future in others. The Scan discusses the new information consumer, who is increasingly using the World Wide Web, Google, and other search engines instead of the library. Perhaps the Scan may useful in helping in the design of training programs for university librarians because it shows the type of environment in which they will be working. Letfs take a look at highlights of a few of the landscapes.

Social Landscape

In the social landscape, the report explores the rapid move of information consumers to self-service and self-sufficiency. These information consumers are spending more time online doing things for themselves, whether for banking, shopping, travel, research or entertainment. They are comfortable with Web-based information and content, such as Google. They are generally satisfied with the results that they get, whether from Google or from their other online activities, even though the results may not be as authoritative, reliable and accurate as librarians would like. Todayfs information consumers, especially young adults, expect seamless access to whatever they want whenever they want it.
This slide shows some of the collaborative technologies that are out there. Obviously, libraries need to start using more of them. Letfs look at the economic landscape.

Economic Landscape

This chart from the report shows 75 percent of the worldfs library spending is concentrated in five countries?the United States, Japan, the United Kingdom, Italy and France. Public funding for libraries and allied organizations will likely continue to decline or remain at low levels for several years. No matter what the worldwide economy does in 2004, the saga of limited resources versus unlimited needs will continue.
Libraries must reexamine their internal resource allocations in an increasingly digital world. Most important, libraries and allied organizations must be able to do a better job of demonstrating their value more explicitly to their funding agencies. This has huge implications for the training of university librarians. Now, letfs go to the library landscape.

Library Landscape

The library landscape section of the report examines the people, content, issues, and technology that are affecting libraries today. For example, many librarians and highly trained information professionals will retire within 5-10 years. It will be necessary to fill those positions or reallocate resources to new types of jobs resulting from libraries taking on new roles, such as in e-learning and scholarly communication. There is an increasing need for libraries to interconnect with non-library systems such as Blackboard or WebCT or campus portals. Libraries will increasingly have to manage varied and complex digital content, and there will be increased focus on standards for repositories, preservation, content packaging and exchange, and metadata. Over the next few years, it is likely that most new protocol development will be in a Web services context, which is to say, business processes delivered over the Web based on industry standards. Thatfs just a sample. The report is out there on the OCLC Web site. I urge you to take a look.

2000QStrategic Plan

In this environment, what is OCLC doing and where is it going? In 2000, we shared with libraries our three-year strategic plan to extend the OCLC cooperative and transform WorldCat into a globally networked information resource through new services and a new technological platform. In 2004, I am pleased to report significant progress. We have modified our governance structure to make it more inclusive and more international. We have developed and are now operating the new services that you see listed here on the screen. An integrated metadata/cataloging system (OCLC Connexion)c a 24x7 virtual, cooperative reference service (QuestionPoint)ca public access computing portal for public libraries (WebJunction)ce-Books through netLibrary, and Digital collection and preservation services. We are also well along in the transformation of WorldCat.
Let me say a few words about some of these new services.


In 2002, with the Library of Congress, we launched QuestionPoint, a virtual reference desk collaborative service. To date, about 1,000 libraries are using QuestionPoint in 20 countries. In Japan, the Agricultural, Forestry and Fisheries Research Center and International Christian University are participating in QuestionPoint. About 60 public libraries in the Netherlands are now participating, and the Netherlands Public Library Association has created a web site that makes it possible for any public library user to access QuestionPoint.
The service has handled nearly 300,000 questions, including more than 57,000 chat sessions. In the first three months of 2004, 65,800 answers were sent via QuestionPoint. The Global Knowledge Base now contains nearly 7,000 question-and-answer records. With QuestionPoint, we are developing a new model for collaboration in reference services.


In 2002, OCLC acquired netLibrary, a provider of e-Books. netLibraryfs collection now contains more than 65,000 titles, representing copyrighted titles from 450 publishers. 90% of new, incoming content is published within the last three years. About 8,670 libraries presently use netLibrary eBook content and tools, including 598 institutions in 33 countries outside the U.S.
Last month, the Northwest Academic Libraries (NoWAL) consortium of the United Kingdom University and Higher Education Institution libraries has agreed to share access to nearly 16,000 eBook titles from netLibrary. This is the first academic consortium purchase of eBooks in the United Kingdom. It forms the largest eBook collection serving the highest number of users (165,000) in Europe.


Earlier I mentioned that we are transforming WorldCat from a bibliographic database and online union catalog to a globally networked resource of text, graphics, sound and motion.
For over 30 years, OCLC had built and maintained WorldCat on its own proprietary system, a system that had served the membership very well.
In 2001, though, as we sought to become more agile in a Web world, we began to transform WorldCat with an outside solution based on Oracle database technology.

WorldCat tomorrow

We are now migrating WorldCat to this new platform and will be off all proprietary databases and the old systems by the third quarter 2005.
The new WorldCat will support not only MARC, but Dublin Core and IFLAfs Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records.
And, perhaps most important for a global library cooperative, the new WorldCat will also support Unicode, which will give us the foundation to provide access to information in a number of languages and character sets.

OCLC PICA Dutch Catalog GGC

For example, OCLC members now have access to the OCLC PICA Dutch Catalogue GGC. This database contains some 18 million bibliographic and authority records for European publications and Dutch language materials. You can access the Catalogue through the OCLC Connexion browser. You can pull records from the OCLC PICA GGC catalogue and input them into WorldCat.
This is the first database outside our computer room in Dublin to be linked through OCLC Connexion. Another benefit is that approximately 300 Dutch libraries now qualify for OCLC membership.

Open WorldCat Pilot

As a final example of how we are transforming WorldCat, we are now engaged in the largest, and potentially one of the most significant, test programs in the history of the cooperative?the Open WorldCat pilot. We are making abbreviated WorldCat records available to the general public via the World Wide Web for the first time. For example, users can search a variety of book vendor Web sites where they have the option of finding a book in a WorldCat library. Users are doing about 50,000 searches a month on these sites. Most recently, in partnership with the Google search service, we are making a subset of 2 million abbreviated records from WorldCat available on Google, with links to the Web-based catalogs and sites of 12,000 academic, public and school libraries participating in OCLC. In this pilot, an information seeker who starts a search using Google could end up finding the items needed in a nearby library. Users are already doing about 10,000 click-throughs a month. Having WorldCat revealed in Google and other search engines is an important advance.

OCLC: a global cooperative

Today I have just touched the surface of OCLCfs involvement with the emerging digital library. As we have seen, big changes are ahead. The emerging digital library will be a global network of catalogs, metadata and library collection based on open systems architectures and technical standards that promote the cost-effective, worldwide sharing of information across platforms, scripts, languages and materials.
As we have seen, there will be many challenges and opportunities for training the next generation of university librarians. This is an exciting time to be in the library and information profession. We are starting to realize some long-held, mutually shared dreams about providing information to people when and where they need it, in a form they want. From our perspective at OCLC, cooperation will be the key to the digital libraries of the future. Thank you!