DUBLIN, Ohio, June 24, 1994--The OCLC Users Council met here May 22-24 to discuss "Knowledge Management: Methods of Managing Chaos." It was the third of three meetings devoted to the council's 1993/94 theme, "The Bibliographic Commons and Beyond: Electronic Publishing and Knowledge Management."
During the meeting, Users Council elected two new delegates to the OCLC Board of Trustees; named the 1994/95 Users Council Executive Committee; approved a document, the "Principles of Cooperation for OCLC and Member Libraries;" and discussed the role of libraries and OCLC in managing knowledge.
Elected to six-year terms on the OCLC Board of Trustees were William Gray Potter, director of libraries at the University of Georgia, and Ellen Waite, university librarian at Loyola University of Chicago.
Elaine Albright, dean of cultural affairs and libraries at the University of Maine, assumed the Users Council presidency at the end of the meeting and will serve on the 1994/95 executive committee with: George Happ, library director, Salem Public Library, who was elected vice president/president elect; and delegates-at-large, Pamela Brown, coordinator for systems and access at Arlington Heights Memorial Library; Bill Crowe, dean of libraries at the University of Kansas; and Dale Flecker, associate director of planning and systems at Harvard University.
The Users Council unanimously approved "The OCLC Online Union Catalog: Principles of Cooperation for OCLC and Member Libraries" as presented by Dr. Crowe, chair of the task force that drafted the statement. The Principles of Cooperation state that OCLC and member libraries share a commitment to ensure the continuing viability of the OCLC Online Union Catalog and related services to the library and information community.
"The OCLC Online Union Catalog and related files, and the OCLC systems and services based upon them, have become vitally important to the operations and services of many libraries in the United States and an increasing number of libraries worldwide," the document states. The document includes a commitment by OCLC "to facilitate ease of use and cost-effective access to OCLC systems and services to benefit all participating libraries and their users."
James Neal, dean of university libraries at Indiana University, spoke about "Knowledge Management: Organizing Information in Cyberspace." He noted that libraries are going through a period of expanding local and international catalog access. Increasingly, full-text and multimedia information are available to library and other users, and in such an environment standard interlibrary loan is unacceptable.
"Librarians will play an important role in the information superhighway infrastructure," said Mr. Neal. "We need to understand the communications technologies. We need to train the public in the use of that technology. We need to make sure that network connections are the quality and speed to allow access to information in all formats regardless of the location of the material or the user."
Lawrence Birnbaum, assistant professor of electrical engineering/computer science at Northwestern University's Institute for the Learning Sciences, demonstrated an interactive, multimedia learning system created by the institute and told Users Council why students learn so much from such an approach. "The basis of knowledge is in specific experiences, so natural learning is case-based," said Dr. Birnbaum. "The ideal learning system uses a simulated, information-rich environment with realistic and intrinsically motivating tasks."
K. Wayne Smith, OCLC president and CEO, told delegates that OCLC had a strong fiscal 1994. He updated delegates on OCLC's progress on current projects and told them where OCLC is headed. Dr. Smith also shared OCLC's vision of electronic publishing and knowledge management.
"OCLC is positioned to help libraries move on to the next generation of the electronic library," said Dr. Smith. "With electronic publishing, with BASISplus, with Guidon, with FirstSearch, with document delivery, with strategic alliances, with advances in cataloging and resource sharing, and with the continued growth and improvement of the OCLC Online Union Catalog, we will, for the first time, have available an integrated approach to navigating the sea of knowledge for libraries and their users."
Jim Hackbarth, president and COO of Information Dimensions Inc., told Users Council how IDI's leadership in document database management systems complements OCLC's purpose of developing better ways to access, share and manage information. IDI was aquired by OCLC in April 1993.
Martin Dillon, director of the OCLC library resources management division, introduced the OCLC Resource Sharing Strategy prior to small group discussions. Dr. Dillon also spoke to delegates about OCLC's Cataloging Strategy.
Kate Nevins, OCLC vice president for member services, presented an update session on products and services. Terry Noreault, director of the OCLC office of research, gave an overview of research projects.
Users Council welcomed Richard Van Orden as its new program manager.
The next Users Council meeting will be Oct. 2-4.
The Users Council comprises delegates from networks and service centers whose use of the OCLC System and contribution to the OCLC database qualify them for Users Council membership. Delegates represent the various interests of the General Members of OCLC and ratify amendments to the Articles of Incorporation and Code of Regulations of OCLC. The Users Council also elects six trustees to the OCLC Board of Trustees. The six Users Council-elected trustees and three other members of the library profession elected by the board assure a majority of librarians on the OCLC Board. The board possesses powers similar to those of university trustees.
OCLC is a nonprofit computer library service and research organization whose computer network and services link more than 18,000 libraries in 52 countries and territories.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CALL: Rich Van Orden (614) 761-5132 or Kent Hendrickson (402) 472-2526