The OCLC Global Council annual meeting is under way in Dublin, Ohio, where 44 delegates representing 17 countries have come to hear reports from library leaders and OCLC staff and to participate in discussions about the strategic direction and shared future of the OCLC cooperative.
“Our purpose is multi-faceted: to engage in discussions about new and evolving OCLC services, to carry out the governance of the Global Council and cooperative, and to enjoy the camaraderie of colleagues and friends,” said Jennifer Younger, President, OCLC Global Council, and Chair, Board of Directors, Catholic Research Resources Alliance, and Librarian, Hesburgh Libraries, University of Notre Dame, to open the meeting Monday.
Dr. Younger identified key areas where Global Council will focus its discussions, including:
- Helping libraries achieve Web-scale: cloud technology and Web-scale management services
- Open and fruitful communication to understand and nurture the consultative process, promoting transparency whenever possible and engaging members in collaborative action planning
- Maintaining, describing and enhancing WorldCat quality
- Developing cost-sharing models for growth and sustainability
“The themes running throughout the meeting demonstrate well the power of cooperative problem-solving as it is enhanced by many voices,” said Dr. Younger.
Robin Murray, Vice President, OCLC Global Product Management, described how OCLC is collaboratively building Web-scale for libraries.
“Web-scale is more than infrastructure and cloud services; it is also shared data and applications, and it is critical for the future vitality of libraries,” Mr. Murray said.
Kathryn Harnish, OCLC Senior Product Manager, explained how librarians, developers and organizations can share and deliver scale by using OCLC Web services on the OCLC cooperative platform.
She described the cooperative platform as a “toolbox” for developers to leverage OCLC services and data to build new or enhance existing applications. Libraries can easily share apps created by the community, collaborate and cooperate within the library community.
OCLC staff members offered demonstrations from the OCLC Developer Network, including mobile applications, as well as other collaborative work in theapplication gallery.
Rick Schwieterman, OCLC Executive Vice President and CFO, provided a financial update to Council. Mr. Schwieterman presented the budget for fiscal year 2011, which ends June 30, with total revenue estimates at $202 million. This compares to total revenue of $228 million for fiscal 2010. The reduction is due primarily to proactively exiting licensed content services in 2010.
Mr. Schwieterman said the budgeted loss from operations for fiscal 2011 is approximately $10 million before realized portfolio gains from the investment fund. This portfolio also currently pays libraries in North America 4 percent on funds deposited in advance with OCLC for services.
OCLC will hold prices flat in the United States on all WorldCat and WorldCat platform services for a third consecutive year, through June 2012. “We are focusing on managing costs for our members in these challenging economic times. The budgeted operating loss is the result of holding prices flat and the strategic investment in Web-scale development,” Mr. Schwieterman said.
He said OCLC’s financial position remains strong with total assets at approximately $360 million as of June 30, 2010.
John F. Helmer, Chair, Cost Sharing Models Task Force, and Executive Director, Orbis Cascade Alliance, provided an update to Council on the work of the Task Force. “The charge of the Task Force is to develop and evaluate cost-sharing models that advance the public purposes of OCLC, create a sustainable approach to cost-sharing for the cooperative, and support the use of differential pricing strategies,” said Mr. Helmer.
Kendall F. Wiggin, Member, Cost Sharing Models Task Force, and State Librarian, Connecticut State Library, reported on the work of a subcommittee to review OCLC’s broad scope of public purpose activities. Discussion of cost-sharing models followed with Task Force members leading roundtable discussions to gain feedback and direction. The Task Force will continue its work and will report back to Council.
The OCLC Global Council meeting will continue through April 13 and is being streamed live at http://www.oclc.org/livefeed/.
This is the second meeting of the Global Council since OCLC governance changed from a single Members Council to a Global Council and three Regional Councils—Americas, Asia Pacific, and Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA). Global Council comprises member delegates elected by the Regional Councils and serves as a key strategic discussion forum and communication link between member libraries, Regional Councils and OCLC management and staff.