IFLA Spotlights OCLC, Copyright Issues, Celebrates at Helsinki Harbor
“We’ve got to do much more to deliver knowledge with all that is available to us, much more than we do today,” said OCLC President and CEO Jay Jordan at the conclusion of a presentation titled “WorldShare: Cloud Computing, Webscale, and Building the Future with Libraries.” After screening a video demonstrating how vastly the library user experience could be enhanced, Jordan envisioned how accessibility can be made easier and thoroughly appealing through technologies that are available but not yet fully harnessed in the library world.
“Unfortunately that is a fiction,” Jordan said of the video. “That is the user experience we should be delivering. The technology is there to do this. All the world’s knowledge available to all the world’s people—why would you have any other vision?” he asked.
Jordan explained OCLC history and programs and described the cooperative as “a truly a global organization” with a Global Council “to give us advice and scold us occasionally when we don’t behave as members want us to.” Invoking Fred Kilgour, Jordan said the OCLC founder created what was essentially the original social network. “Kilgore was a visionary in 1967 when computers at OCLC would have taken up this entire room,” Jordan said, “but WorldCat has a long way to go before it’s through.” He noted that about 60% of the catalog is now in languages other than English, with a new focus on Arabic records.
During the session, Andrew Pace, who is OCLC’s executive director for networked library services, explained that the “next generation management system” WorldShare works by “meeting users at the point of need and creating unified collection management and streamlined workflows for staff.”
Pace cited a Japanese proverb to illustrate OCLC’s approach to development: “Vision without action is a daydream; action without vision is a nightmare.” He emphasized that decisions are based on feedback to “ensure that our libraries remain relevant. Address issues of relevance first,” he noted, “and budget issues are not so insurmountable.” Pace observed that the WorldShare platform “is not a data warehouse, it is about cooperative management of data records as: a toolbox for developers who want to use OCLC services and data to build new or enhance existing applications, an app gallery through which libraries can easily share apps, and support for collaboration and cooperation within the library community.”
In another IFLA session titled “Copyright Law and Legal Deposit for Audiovisual Materials,” panelists discussed some of the issues facing librarians around the globe.
Eric Harbeson talked about the question of ownership of nonprint materials as addressed by his institution, the University of Colorado. He observed that ownership is not clearly defined by law, which makes libraries reluctant to make use of some of their unique holdings.
Enrico Bonadio of the United Kingdom talked about licensing across national boundaries, while Elke Brehm of Germany discussed the complications involved in research that produces or relies on something other than text. Claude Mussou of France explained the progress made by the Institut National de l’Audiovisuel, a heritage institution, in obtaining rights to nontext materials.
Joining the discussion was Reza Khanipour, who spoke about nonbook resources in the National Library and Archives of Iran and how they are acquired with the help of national acquisition laws—a process begun in 2001 that has resulted in the cataloging of some 170,000 items, many in English.
The third full day of IFLA programming ended with a “Cultural Evening” in a repurposed historic warehouse near Helsinki’s Old Harbor, where various rooms offered music performances, dancing, and buffet tables featuring plentiful and typical Finnish food, including reindeer meatballs. The IFLA conference continues through August 17.
LEONARD KNIFFEL is former editor and publisher of American Libraries.