Understanding the System-wide Library

Our thematic area previously known as System-wide Organization has been updated and is now referred to as Understanding the System-wide Library.

Our research agenda in the system-wide library aims to improve our understanding of the factors that guide institutions in their sourcing and scaling choices as they seek maximum impact and efficient provision of library collections and services. We're exploring the shift from local provisioning of library collections and services to increased reliance on cooperative infrastructure, collective collections, shared technology platforms, and "above-the-institution" management strategies. At the same time, we're examining the array of collections and services that are best provided at the level of the local institution. Our purpose is to maintain an outcomes-based orientation that is widely applicable, yet sensitive to institutional differences, and can provide useful context for decision-making without necessarily prescribing a single "best" course of action.

For a complete overview of our approach to our work in this area and what we want to accomplish, see the Understanding the system-wide library full narrative. A list of current activities in this area is available below.

Current Activities

Interlibrary Loan Cost Calculator

OCLC Research, in collaboration with staff from OCLC Research Library Partnership institutions, is creating a Web based tool that will allow library administrators and practitioners to better understand the costs of sharing collections. This work is part of a suite of OCLC Research activities aimed at Understanding the System-wide Library.

Right-scaling Stewardship: A System-wide Perspective on Print Books in the CIC

A collaboration between OCLC Research, CIC and OSU will examine the criteria academic institutions should consider when selecting books for shared print collections and explore the scale at which library stewardship of print books might be organized in years to come.

Scope and Diffusion of National Presence in the Published Record

This report uses Scotland as a case study to illustrate this concept of national presence, explain how this presence can be operationalized in library data and demonstrate how the data can be used to define patterns of analysis characterizing the general contours of a national presence and its diffusion worldwide.

Print Management at "Mega-scale": a Regional Perspective on Print Book Collections in North America

This work provides a deep understanding of what regionally-consolidated print collections would look like if they came to pass, as what the implications would be for system-wide issues such as mass digitization, resource sharing, and preservation.

User-Centered Design of a Recommender System for a "Universal" Library Catalogue

A joint research project of OCLC Research and the Information School, University of Sheffield to investigate the development of recommender systems for the retrieval of journals, books, digital media, video, etc. in a cloud-based multi-institution, international catalog.

Cloud Library: Cloud-sourcing Shared Research Collections

This work has modeled requirements for increased institutional reliance on shared print and digital repositories, based on a case study of a single consumer institution and two representative print and digital suppliers. It offers recommendations for broader adoption of interdependent collection management regimes in the cloud.

Define Policy and Infrastructure Requirements for Building and Managing Shared Print Collections

This work aims to characterize the generic business requirements for managing physical research library collections as a shared network resource.

OhioLINK Collection and Circulation Analysis

A joint project with the OhioLINK library consortium and OhioLINK’s Collection Building Task Force, which examines bibliographic, holdings, and circulation data from Ohio college and university libraries to better understand the usage patterns of books in academic libraries.

    Some of the activities listed here have prototypes or demonstrations you can explore and play with. You can find a list of just those hands-on activities in ResearchWorks.

    A few of these activities have generated software that you can download and build upon. Go to our software page for a list of only those activities.

    The OCLC Research Library Partnership has sponsored the activities with this mark.

    OCLC Research on YouTube

    Watch OCLC Research YouTube Channel videos that feature some of our current work or recent findings

    We are a worldwide library cooperative, owned, governed and sustained by members since 1967. Our public purpose is a statement of commitment to each other—that we will work together to improve access to the information held in libraries around the globe, and find ways to reduce costs for libraries through collaboration.