An early word about the OCLC Research Library Partnership

I am very pleased to announce to our hangingtogether audience something that we’ve been working towards for some time — the OCLC Research Library Partnership. This new — or perhaps more appropriately, evolved entity will launch on 1 July 2011.

The OCLC Research Library Partnership builds on and extends the work of the current RLG Partnership. Like its predecessor, the new OCLC Research Library Partnership will include college and university libraries, municipal research libraries, national libraries and archives, privately funded research collections, plus special institutions and large-scale cultural repositories of various kinds. Current Partners are located on several continents and represent some of the world’s greatest libraries. We hope that an expanded and more inclusive Partnership will emerge over the next 2-3 years; we’d like it to become a considerably larger transnational group of research-led institutions.

OCLC Research Library Partners will be part of a leading-edge, peer-based, transnational collaborative. Institutions will participate in a challenging and rewarding set of activities designed to improve the information-driven environment in which your students and scholars work. Partners’ efforts will be backed by the full capacities of OCLC Research, and Partners will collectively influence and direct a substantial portion of the OCLC Research effort. Institutions will have an opportunity to share expertise with some of the most innovative and forward-thinking library managers and leaders in the world.

Notably, annual Partnership fees are now significantly lower for most institutions. This is possible because OCLC has increased its investment in the Partnership as a means of supporting the research library community. It’s very heartening to me to have my colleagues in OCLC management express their support for research libraries in this concrete fashion. I hope you see it as an evidence of the way OCLC wants to work with the research library community and recognizes that its future and that of research libraries is a shared one.

Below the fold is a small yet influential sampling of recent outputs. This subset of a very much larger body of work reflects the reach of the Partnership into the global community of research libraries and the issues they are facing—both individually and system-wide.

Following in the model that we’ve already established, the Partnership will continue to help research libraries operate in an environment transformed by Google, Amazon and other game-changing organizations. Distinctive strategic areas of focus for the Partnership will include: enhancing and extending rich information discovery; supporting the abilities of research libraries to mobilize unique collections; facilitating (both technically and operationally) the wide use of shared print repositories; creating a knowledge access environment that integrates all forms of research content within efficient organization and discovery processes; and exploring global approaches to research information management.

Over the last two months we have sent invitations to a roster of research libraries across the globe. We are starting to see them respond and are encouraged. If the Partnership and its work intrigue you I urge you to check with your
director about the invitation they may have received. All the materials describing the offer, the benefits, and the way to join are on our website.

We need you to co-invest in this new effort, both with your money and with your time, energy and ideas. We hope your enthusiasm for peer-based collaboration combined with the new, very affordable dues, will persuade you to join the Partnership so you may reap the benefits from this exciting and rewarding set of shared activities. If you have questions about affiliation more generally, please don’t hesitate to contact Nancy Elkington, Director, Partner Relations, at +1-614-764-6375 (voice) or

Here’s that sample of recent outputs:

White papers, such as Cloud-sourcing Research Collections: Managing Print in the Mass-digitized Library Environment (Constance Malpas, January 2011).

Position pieces, like Collaboration Contexts: Framing Local, Group and Global Solutions (Günter Waibel, August

Surveys & guided interviews, for example: Taking our Pulse: OCLC Research Survey of Special Collections and Archives (Jackie M. Dooley and Katherine Luce, October 2010) and Research Libraries, Risk and Systemic Change (Jim Michalko, Constance Malpas and Arnold Arcolio. March 2010).

Events, for instance, Yours, Mine, Ours: Leadership Through Collaboration. Hosted by the Smithsonian Institution, September 2010.

Commissioned research, e.g., A Slice of Research Life: Information Support for Research in the United States (Susan Kroll, and Rick Forsman.) June 2010.

2 Comments on “An early word about the OCLC Research Library Partnership”

  1. Congratulations everyone on making this partnership not just work but prosper! Best of luck for the future.

    Now, I just have to navigate this bizarre Captcha… but that’s another thing (;-)!

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