Presentations (Communicative Events)

Global Collaboration and the Future of the OCLC Cooperative

Neal, James G.

"I was originally asked to attend this Members Council program to provide an update on our progress in advancing RLG programs as part of OCLC. Then your president, Ernie Ingles, contacted me and indicated that this was not acceptable and that a talk exploring the future of the organization and its strategic and global role was required. A relatively comfortable and innocent assignment became this challenging and provocative treatise.
I was born professionally, like many in this audience, during the infancy of OCLC in the late 1960s and 1970s. You know what they say about those wonderful years—if you remember them, you weren't there. We have lived through OCLC's adolescence and now its full maturity as a global enterprise serving the library community's voracious appetite for cost-effective access to worldwide information. I have been involved, like you, in its regional networks. I have served on and chaired its Research Libraries Advisory Council. I addressed the Members Council in 1993 when the most controversial topic was boxed wine at the receptions. I fought OCLC as part of the "Save MARC" group during the battle over the copyrighting of the database. And now I chair the board committee on RLG Programs and serve on the RLG Program Council. Clearly, we all have OCLC in our professional genes and see our success as libraries serving our communities as intimately bundled up in OCLC's vitality and relevance. As Martin Buber once noted, we no longer just stand side by side, but with one another.
My plan this afternoon is to outline briefly a context for my ideas and then to describe a series of things that I want from OCLC: first, I will identify the things I want OCLC to [End Page 263] watch and observe with more intensity; second, I will list the things that I want OCLC to sense and feel with more passion; and then third, I will enumerate the things that I want OCLC to commit to and to do with more investment." -- page 263


Also Published In

Portal: Libraries and the Academy

More About This Work

Academic Units
Libraries and Information Services
Johns Hopkins University Press
Published Here
May 16, 2014


Presentation at the OCLC Members Council Meeting in Quebec City on February 6, 2007