Last week in Anaheim, CA, I gave the opening keynote at an Online Computer Library Center event. OCLC is trying to embrace platform thinking and its leadership heard about The Age of the Platform. One thing led to another, and a few months later I found myself speaking to about 400 people about platforms.
It turns out that OCLC is doing some very interesting things with data. Really cool stuff. For instance, it recently announced an important enhancement to WorldCat (a global catalog of library collections). From the press release:
OCLC is taking the first step toward adding linked data to WorldCat by appending Schema.org descriptive mark-up to WorldCat.org pages. WorldCat.org now offers the largest set of linked bibliographic data on the Web. With the addition of Schema.org mark-up to all book, journal and other bibliographic resources in WorldCat.org, the entire publicly available version of WorldCat is now available for use by intelligent Web crawlers, like Google and Bing, that can make use of this metadata in search indexes and other applications.
Playing in the same sandbox as Microsoft and Google is just plain smart. OCLC realizes that there’s no turning back the clock; most people aren’t going to find basic information these days at libraries. Increasingly, that information is available to them via smartphones. Part of remaining relevant in The Digital Age requires finding ways to work with powerful companies and organizations. To their credit, the folks at OCLC get it. Embracing partnerships is imperative these days.
The night before my speech, I had dinner with a number of OCLC folks, including Andrew K. Pace – Executive Director for Networked Library Services at OCLC. We discussed some of the benefits of working with – not against – organizations that seek to increase education and general understanding. Here’s a short talk of his:
Simon Says: Enhance The Data Collective
Think of what OCLC is doing as enhancing The Data Collective. (As it happens, there is an organization by that very name.) Here, though, I am speaking more broadly. I am talking about
- Adding to the world’s collective knowledge
- Consolidating data and metadata
- Putting this data in universally accessible formats and locations
- Finding new and innovative uses of this data and metadata
If libraries can do this, why can’t your organization?
What say you?