The OCLC Research Library Partnership: From research to action

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Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

As I reflect on all that our team has accomplished this year, I feel a sense of joy and excitement in sharing our work with you. One of the hallmarks of the OCLC RLP is our commitment to making our research outputs actionable

From research reports to toolkits and discussion syntheses, our superpower is translating our findings into actions to support your work and accomplish your strategic goals. What we do is more powerful when it is connected to networks, so today, I share stories about how our work is scaling across institutions and networks. 

Building for the Future with LIBER

I hope you’ve already heard the news that OCLC has partnered with LIBER (Ligue des Bibliothèques Européennes de Recherche—Association of European Research Libraries) to offer a multi-year engagement program based on LIBER’s 2023-2027 strategy. We’re excited that the RLP team is facilitating conversations that bring together these fantastic member networks, enabling LIBER and OCLC to present a vision for the future of research libraries—with OCLC RLP affiliates having a seat at the table. 
In this first year, the conversations are focusing on opportunities for strategic library collaboration around three topics: research data management; data-driven decision making; and AI, machine learning, and data science. The opening plenary took place on 12 October, and a facilitated discussion session has been scheduled for each topic. You can read about the discussion on research data management, and register for the upcoming discussion on data-driven decision making. All details are available at the Building for the Future page.

Continuing the work—NAFAN 

In June, we shared the exciting news that we published the research outputs from the NAFAN project. Beginning in 2020, OCLC has partnered on building a National Finding Aid Network (NAFAN), an IMLS-supported research and demonstration project to build the foundation for a national archival finding aid network that addresses the inconsistencies and inequities of current archival discovery. Our research outputs represent an unprecedented contribution to research in this area. Work on major research projects—like NAFAN—may never truly be over. The RLP will be taking more steps to socialize the research and dig into the deeper meaning of the findings, as well as the potential actions that can be taken by individual institutions and the networks that support them. 

Tell us: What does NAFAN mean to you? 

Implementing social interoperability 

Rebecca Bryant and Brian Lavoie’s work on Social Interoperability is immensely influential. In September, Rebecca presented on Social Interoperability at the Canadian national workshop, “Building a Research Data Management Community: From Strategy to Implementation,” organized and hosted by RLP member University of Waterloo. This workshop brought together university cross-functional cohorts to help them develop institutional RDM strategies and cultivate social interoperability. Seeing this work highlighted in a national context is exciting! You can read Rebecca’s summary blog post about the event.
RLP affiliates have the opportunity to engage in a community of practice around Social Interoperability, and many have participated in our exclusive-to-RLP Social Interoperability workshops. Join institutions like Montana State University in sharing with us how Social Interoperability has made a difference in your work.

Let us know: How are you using Social Interoperability in your environment?     

Reflecting on the impact of Reimagine Descriptive Workflows 

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Reimagine Descriptive Workflows (RDW) was an OCLC project that sought to better understand and address the harm caused by cultural institutions’ metadata and collection description practices. A year and a half after the publication of our community agenda, Reimagine Descriptive Workflows: A Community-informed Agenda for Reparative and Inclusive Descriptive Practice, we’re reflecting on the report and how it has influenced OCLC and the community. RLP staff presented on the project in numerous forums, including at the ALA Core Forum, American Association of Law Libraries, and the Association for Tribal Libraries, Archives and Museums (ATALM) International Conference, as well as at Te Puna libraries in New Zealand. The report has been called out for its impact on thinking and planning, including in an article about the Anti-Racism Project at the British Library, and referenced in several presentations at the IFLA satellite conference on “Empire, Indigeneity, and Colonial Heritage Collections: Confronting Difficult Pasts, Enabling Just Futures,” organized by the IFLA Rare Books and Special Collections Section (RBSC). The RDW project was cited as influential in rapidly reducing harm in WorldCat Discovery. We continue efforts alongside OCLC colleagues to reflect on the work, its meaning, and our opportunities to engage with the project’s findings. Thanks to all of you who have helped to inspire this work and make it successful!  

Tell us: What impact has this report had on you?

The successes I have shared here are due in large part to our affiliate institutions. If you are one of our affiliates, we urge you to use our new contact form to share your stories of successes and challenges and how our work has supported you. This feedback helps us on the RLP team to think about program planning for this year and beyond. Contact us directly to learn about our current programs, explore how your institution can get the most out of the Partnership, and share your strategic priorities. We always value the opportunity to connect!