Thirty-two conferences started this journey, and now only two remain. The OCLC Research Collective Collection tournament is just one step away from crowning a Champion. Throw your brackets away and buckle your seat belts, because the tournament semi-finals are over and the finals are next!
How many languages does your conference collective collection speak? Competition in the semi-finals centered around the number of languages represented in each conference’s collective collection.* In the first semi-finals match-up, Conference USA cruised to an easy victory over Summit League, 366 languages to 265 languages. In the second match-up, Atlantic 10 also had little trouble with its opponent, moving past Missouri Valley 374 languages to 289 languages. So Conference USA and Atlantic 10 will square off in the tournament finals, with the honor and glory of the title “2015 Collective Collections Tournament Champion” at stake!
As the results of the semi-finals competition show, conference collective collections are very multilingual. Atlantic 10 had the most languages of any competitor in this round, with more than 370. But even the conference with the fewest languages – Summit League – had 265 languages in its collective collection! Suppose that an average book is 1.25 inches thick. If Summit League stacked up one book for every language represented in its collection, the resulting pile would be almost 28 feet tall! If Atlantic 10 did it, the stack would be nearly 40 feet tall!
The mega-collective-collection of all libraries – as represented in the WorldCat bibliographic database – contains publications in 481 different languages. English is the most common language in WorldCat; here’s a look at the top 50 most frequently-found languages other than English:
After English, the most common languages in WorldCat are German, French, Spanish, and Chinese. Despite the high number of English-language materials, more than half of the materials in WorldCat are non-English! And as we’ve seen, many of these non-English-language publications have found their way into the collective collections of our tournament semi-finalists! So are you interested in reading something in Urdu? Atlantic 10 has nearly 2,300 Urdu-language publications to choose from. How about Welsh? Conference USA can furnish you with nearly 1,400 publications in Welsh. No matter what language you’re interested in, these collective collections likely have something for you – they speak a lot of languages!
Bracket competition participants: Remember, even if the conference you chose is not in the Finals, hope still flickers! If no one picked the tournament Champion, all entrants will be part of a random drawing for the big prize!
Get set for the Tournament Finals! Results will be posted April 6.
*Number of languages represented in language-based (text or spoken) publications comprising each conference collective collection. Data is current as of January 2015.
Brian Lavoie is a Research Scientist in OCLC Research. He has worked on projects in many areas, such as digital preservation, cooperative print management, and data-mining of bibliographic resources. He was a co-founder of the working group that developed the PREMIS Data Dictionary for preservation metadata, and served as co-chair of a US National Science Foundation blue-ribbon task force on economically sustainable digital preservation. Brian’s academic background is in economics; he has a Ph.D. in agricultural economics. Brian’s current research interests include stewardship of the evolving scholarly record, analysis of collective collections, and the system-wide organization of library resources.