|OBS OCLC/WLN COMMITTEE|
AALL Annual Meeting – Orlando, Florida
As I write this at the end of January, the annual meeting is still over five months away. However, the work and planning for the meeting have already begun. The OCLC Committee will meet on Monday, July 22, from 7:00-8:00 AM. I have been in contact with OCLC about arranging a speaker for the meeting. I hope that many of you will be able to attend. There will be more about the annual meeting in the June issue of the newsletter.
OCLC Committee Website
In October and November, there was a discussion on the Online Bibliographic Services electronic list about the OBS website. The consensus was that the standing committees should develop their own web pages with relevant information. This is consistent with the new OBS strategic plan for 2001-2004. Under Strategic Directive #2: OBS Educates; Outcome 2b states "OBS will maximize all available resources and seek to develop new ones in order to contribute to the continuing education of its members." One of the initiatives under this is "Review and completely revise the OBS Website by Spring 2002. Provide new educational content, including (but not limited to): links to relevant OCLC, RLIN, and local systems Websites..." In accordance with this initiative, a special ad hoc committee has been discussing and developing the OCLC Committee's website. The committee, consisting of Ellen McGrath, Sally Wambold, and myself, has thought long and hard about this, and we have become the best of email pals. We are continuing to discuss and design the web page—this is a very exciting development for the OCLC Committee and OBS, and one that we hope will become a valuable resource to other OBS members and OCLC users. Watch for the announcement of its launch later this spring.
New Interface Migration
OCLC continues to progress on the transition to the new, single integrated interface. The guide to migration on OCLC's website has been revised to reflect the latest progress and new developments. OCLC is still on schedule for the first release of the new interface in July, with Passport being supported through December 2002. Passport will cease to be operational after December 31, 2003. Depending on when the new interface is released, we may have a hot topic for our open discussion in Orlando.
I would strongly urge you to look at the revised migration guide on OCLC's website. It is located at www.oclc.org/strategy/cataloging/guidetomigration.pdf.
OCLC Annual Report
OCLC has issued its 2000/2001 Annual Report. It is available on OCLC's website or by contacting OCLC and requesting a copy. It contains Jay Jordan's report to the membership in which he has a lot to say about WorldCat, OCLC governance, collaboration, and the like. However, I believe that his most significant statement is under the topic of innovation. In his discussion of OCLC's decision to scrap its proprietary software in favor of Oracle database technology, he states "as we seek to become more agile in a web-based world, we will look to outside solutions when they make economic and technological sense." [p.3] I would argue with his contention that we are in a "web-based world," but this does show a continued evolution in OCLC's thinking and methods. This is nothing new—when I first started at Indiana University over 13 years ago, we had two OCLC-dedicated M300 double 5 1/4 inch disk drive machines and two M105 OCLC-dedicated dumb terminals (remember those terminals—to get a record to display you had to press two keys: [Display Record] and [Send]). One of my first tasks related to OCLC was to read and evaluate a packet that OCLC had sent out titled "Communications & Access Planning Guide," which discussed the changes in the communications system and the end of the M10x machines (I still have the packet in my files). I remember attending a meeting sponsored by our local network where an OCLC representative talked about these changes and made the comment that he felt that OCLC had done the membership a disservice by selling computers to libraries for accessing OCLC. He thought that OCLC had held libraries and the system back by trying to save the membership money, but in the process had prevented innovation and development. Of course, back in those days no one had even heard of the Internet or the World Wide Web, but his comments resonate with me today. The pace of change at OCLC has quickened (along with most everything else in our world it seems), with the development of CORC, Dublin Core, FirstSearch, and the new interface. I believe that we will continue to see new developments at OCLC and a continued evolution of the system, and we must be prepared to adapt and change as OCLC changes.
Please keep in mind the open discussion meeting in Orlando in July—I am sure that we will have a lot to discuss.