Introducing the 2015 OCLC Research Collective Collections Tournament! Madness!


It’s March, and along with the approach of Spring, that means March Madness is around the corner – the NCAA Men’s and Women’s College Basketball Tournaments! This year, OCLC Research is presenting a library-themed tournament to help get you in the mood for the real thing – except this competition doesn’t require a basketball. Instead, get ready for the 2015 OCLC Research Collective Collections Tournament! #oclctourney

A collective collection is the combined collections of a group of institutions, with duplicate holdings removed, yielding the set of distinct publications held across the collections of the group’s members. Collective collections are an important concept for thinking about library collections today, as collection building and management increasingly take place within, and are informed by, the broader context of the system-wide library resource. OCLC Research has done a great deal of work with collective collections, culminating in our recently published (and award-winning!) volume Understanding Collective Collections. Our work in this area continues, but we’ve taken a little time out to have some fun with collective collections, with our own Collective Collections Tournament.

Here’s how the tournament works. Thirty-two athletic conferences receive an automatic bid into the Men’s and Women’s NCAA basketball tournaments. Using WorldCat data, we will construct the collective collection for each conference – that is, the distinct publications held across the library collections of all conference members. In the first round, the 32 conference collective collections will be randomly assigned into 16 pairs. Each pair of conference collections will then “compete” on the basis of some metric related to the contents of the collections. The “winner” of each pairing will then move on to the second round, and so on, until only two conference collections are left standing to compete for the championship!

Here are the key dates:

  • Round of 32: Results posted Friday, March 20
  • Round of 16: Results posted Friday, March 27
  • Round of 8: Results posted Tuesday, March 31
  • Round of 4: Results posted Friday, April 3
  • Championship: Results posted Monday, April 6

You can participate! The Collective Collections Tournament will have a “bracket competition”. Enter the competition using our convenient entry form. You’ll be asked to select one of the 32 competing conferences. Choose a conference, and then follow the tournament to see how your conference fares. All entrants that have selected the winning conference will be entered into a random drawing for a $100 Visa Gift Card! If no one selects the winning conference, then a random drawing will be held among all entrants to determine the winner! Entries must be received by 5 PM Eastern time, Thursday, March 19, 2015. The winner will be announced on the HangingTogether blog no later than April 8, 2015. Please read the 2015 OCLC Research Collective Collections Tournament: Bracket Competition Official Rules (“Official Rules”); submitting an Entry shall constitute acknowledgment and acceptance of the Official Rules. The Collective Collections Tournament or the Bracket Competition is not endorsed by, associated with, or sponsored by, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (“NCAA”).

Please keep in mind that the tournament is not intended to show that one conference collective collection is “better” than another (and when you see the metrics we’ve chosen to compete on, you’ll see there is no danger of that!). Our purpose is to have some fun, but also to highlight the concept of collective collections, and demonstrate how they can be constructed and analyzed with WorldCat data. In reality, of course, collective collections are not a source of competition for libraries, but a way of identifying collective strengths and complementarities within the system-wide library resource.

Our data source for the tournament is WorldCat, so all conference collective collections reflect their members’ collections as they are cataloged in WorldCat. We recognize that the NCAA basketball tournament may not be familiar to many of our non-US colleagues; we chose it because of its timeliness, and because WorldCat’s coverage of North American academic library collections is particularly strong. If you haven’t heard of the NCAA basketball tournament, we hope you’ll find our Collective Collections Tournament entertaining anyway!

Watch this space for further announcements, and we’ll see you in the first round!