What a week to look back and past achievements and look into the future for what may be coming down the road.

Forty five years ago on August 26, 1971 “the OCLC Online Union Catalog and Shared Cataloging System began operation. Catalogers at Ohio University cataloged 133 books online from a single terminal that day.” Today Libraryland would be unimaginable without WorldCat. Effectively WorldCat is the glue, or the matrix, that holds the world’s metadata and therefore collections together. Without WorldCat, national metadata infrastructure such as  Libraries Australia would be have difficulty functioning, more traditional services such as copy cataloguing, resource sharing and inter-library loans would be problematic. Furthermore, more future looking functionality such as the ability for libraries to provide seamless links from Google Books, Goodreads and Lexile framework for reading back to their catalogues / discovery interfaces would disappear.

And the secret to this success?…

… Cooperation and collaboration by many, many libraries over the decades as well as working within standards and best practice for a common goal.

This is important because as we face future challenges and opportunities libraries need to continue to cooperate, collaborate and work within best practice and standards as we are expected to do more with less.

This brings me to this week’s VALA webinar on Collaborative metadata management in cloud based library systems. It was an honour and a privilege to work with my colleague Ebe Kartus from the Australian Catholic University on this webinar. While my library’s circulation, inventory and discovery platforms runs on OCLC WorldShare and Ebe’s library circulation, inventory and discovery platforms uses Ex Libris Alma and Primo we demonstrated how two very different libraries (one a school and the other a university) can work together and share important metadata to the benefit of both institutions.

So what better way to celebrate forty five years of cooperation, collaboration and sharing metadata than for YOU and your library to start a project that involves enhancing, sharing and collaboration with another library.

In the meantime it is amazing to see where we are today. From those first 133 books in 1971 today we have billions of holdings shared in the cloud. Inside WorldCat offers a fascinating insight into the rich depth and breadth of what libraries have built over the last 45 years. You also get a real insight into the ongoing scope and breadth of this achievement as you  watch library holdings as they populate into WorldCat. Happy Birthday WorldCat.

Inside-WorldCat-201608Source: WorldCat as of mid 2016 at Inside WorldCat.