The University of Delaware Library is switching to the cloud-based OCLC WorldShare Management Services. Some 33 libraries have begun using OCLC WorldShare Management Services since its launch in July 2011 (as Web-scale Management Services; OCLC rebranded it in December 2011). Some 117 libraries worldwide have committed to using the service. However the University of Delaware Library is the first academic research library and the first member of the 126-library Association of Research Libraries(ARL) to implement WorldShare.
The process will begin next week, and the nonprofit’s system will handle metadata management, acquisitions, circulation, discovery, license management and workflow improvements by the summer of 2013.
Gregg A. Silvis, assistant director for Library Computing Systems at UD, said, “The current infrastructure represents a huge duplication of effort of library staff. With something like WMS we’ve centralized all of that. The expectation is that in moving to WMS we’ll be able to free up library staff for other more pressing priorities.” Among those priorities are cataloging special collections and digitizing library materials.
Delaware became an early adopter, said Susan Brynteson, U.D.’s vice provost for libraries, said, because, “It seemed the right time and we wanted to be at the forefront. It seemed also the best way for the utilization of library resources.” She noted that U.D. has a long relationship with OCLC, having been one of the first to sign on with the nonprofit when it expanded beyond Ohio. Silvis adds another motivation: the “opportunity to work with OCLC and help develop the system to better meet the needs of research libraries.”
“Research libraries typically have more complex collections so you’ve got to make sure that you’re dealing with those complexities,” Andrew Pace, executive director, Networked Library Services, of OCLC, said. “Delaware had a distinct advantage in that they had already implemented WorldCat Local,” OCLC’s Webscale discovery and delivery service.
The library was one of the first research institutions to implement WorldCat Local in 2008. Since then, 29 ARL libraries have implemented WorldCat Local.
By working with the knowledge base the library hopes to improve the user experience of WorldCat much sooner than the summer 2013 deadline for the transition as a whole, perhaps as quickly as this summer. And a few special features that the library and OCLC are developing in collaboration, such as a media booking module, may extend beyond that time.
Said Pace, “Delaware had done a lot of their own development. One of the things that attracted them is when we said, ‘you can build the same kind of services; you can build even more.’ They have a real commitment to library cooperation and they see that if they can build things then other people will benefit. I think research libraries in particular feel a strong sense of responsibility in that area. They’ve felt it for cataloging; they’ve felt it for resource sharing; now they’re feeling it for app development.”
App development is a significant component of the WorldShare platform, which allows outside app developers to create and share applications using OCLC web services and application programming interfaces (APIs).