The OCLC Conference

During Monday, September 29th, I attended the OCLC (Online Computer Library Center) Forum that was held at Wayne State in the Undergraduate Library (Bernath Auditorium). It was an eye-opener as to what I will expect when working as a librarian. Although I came about fifteen minutes late, I did not miss out on too much information. I was given a small packet about OCLC, their mission, and information about where they will hold other events as well. During the presentation, Ms. Sites and other speakers were presenting information about the library system and updates about FirstSearch and how it would change to WorldCat Discovery. FirstSearch will still be available until December 15, 2015. They also informed the librarians in the audience about the change and how they need to apply the changes to their institutions in the month of October. Other features presented about WorldCat Discovery were lender costs, statistics for borrowing and lending, and options for staff to buy or borrow. Some technical details such as the “enter my symbol twice” would save time, 15-symbol lender strings (sending requests to other libraries), and even item availability displayed on the actual availability of the item were presented. Even though I did not have a clue as to the process of doing so, I thought it was interesting to see the lives of other librarians and how they receive beneficial information at the conferences and using it to update their systems. They even provided us information about actively posting to their Twitter account to answer any questions that we may have had through Twitter throughout the entire conference.

After this session, there were breakout sessions in Instruction Labs A, B, and C. Lab A held the session about the FirstSearch and WorldCat Discovery. Lab B had information about metadata and cataloging (in which majority of the people attended). I ended up in Lab C, which was about WorldShare Interlibrary Loan and Resource Sharing. Some of the ideas and news presented was that during the first week of October, the British Library would open their libraries digital for the first time to the world. Articles can also be exchanged with WorldShare Interlibrary Loan by using an alert button. Patrons can even e-mail articles to themselves with this feature as well. Updates to WorldShare libraries includes searches that are easier to find, Select All/Clear All options are available, and printing pages can be selected (instead of continuous pages). Performance can be increased in libraries that have WorldShare and even rush lending is supported for as low as $43 up to $100, depending on if one needs it within 2 hours, 24 hours, or 4 days. One of the main things that I remembered from the session was that there was the ongoing issue of e-books and how it can be rented to only one patron without being copied. One of their solutions to the problem was that they could send the patron a personalized link that would only be accessible to them. However, once they click on the link and download the e-book, the link would expire and no one (not even the patron) would be able to re-access the link after downloading. I thought this was a very interesting process of eliminating the problem of copyright infringement and piracy.

After the sessions, everyone mingled in the community room on the third floor where they served free lunch. I spoke with two other librarians that worked together. Their names were Breanna and Maureen. They provided me very interesting information about the profession. After we all introduced ourselves, I told them that I was a Masters Student at Wayne State, trying to learn more information about the profession by attending the event. Some insight that they both provided was that a librarian has to decide on which events or functions that should be funded and that one year, there may be a surplus in funding and the next year, the library may be underfunded. They both agreed that these situations level themselves out within a span of a couple of years. I asked them when and why did they want to become librarians and I received a response that surprised me. Both Breanna and Maureen did not know what to expect when they wanted to become librarians, but they enjoyed the profession as well as the aspects of a librarian (such as smelling the new books from the shelves and even working with others in their community). When they were ready to leave, we all exchanged business cards/information for further contact after the convention.

After the luncheon, there was a final closing session where there was an overview of the conference. They briefly discussed the information from the three sessions. With the cataloging session, they discussed metadata, API (Machine interface), e-content (books and serials), transitioning to WorldShare platforms, a collection manager versus the record manager, and authority control (records management and integration). The FirstSearch/WorldCat Discovery session discussed the integration of WorldCat into its newer counterpart, expansion of data and knowledge, and registering user links for the new database. Although Ms. Sites encouraged others in the audience to ask questions, there were very few responses. I wish I had a question, but because so much of the information was so new to me, I could not even form one at the moment. After the conference was over, they handed out business cards just in case if we ever needed to contact them. I feel that I have learned much from this conference and it has helped me gain much needed insight as to what I should expect to encounter after graduation.

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