Tilburg University and WorldShare Management Services

OCLC's WorldShare Management Services recognise that 'Europe is different'.

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WMS - a collaborative tool

OCLC's WorldShare Management Services (WMS) promises to harmonise print and electronic resource processing, work seamlessly with other systems and facilitate collaboration. There are now 100 libraries using WMS around the world, and it is being piloted by four libraries in Europe.  One of these, Tilburg University, has become the first European institution to fully implement the service.

Aligning WMS with European expectations

Jola Prinsen, from Tilburg University in the Netherlands, described the project at OCLC's 'Dynamic data: a world of possibilities' conference.   He was joined on stage by Henar Silvestre, from the prestigious IE Business School in Madrid, in a well-attended conference session dedicated to WMS.  

Both Tilburg University and IE (which plans to go live with WMS in March 2013) have worked closely with OCLC to pilot the platform. As one member of the audience astutely commented, "Europe is different." By selecting four early adopters in Europe, OCLC is aligning the platform with European policies and practices, taking care, in particular, to allay concerns about data security and privacy as systems move to the cloud. European WMS library data will never leave Europe, one OCLC staff-member explained in the session.

Tackling the problems that beset European libraries

In its development of WMS, OCLC has addressed the findings of a 2011 survey, in which librarians described the worries that kept them awake at night. Annette Dortmund, WMS Product Manager, said that, above all, respondents were worried about efficiency, having to deliver more with less. Libraries were also struggling to manage their electronic resources alongside their printed collections. "Our digital landscape was too complex," confirmed Prinsen. "That and the relentless pressure to reduce costs whilst maintaining the same level of service are what pushed us towards a new system."

Meanwhile, in Madrid, library staff at IE, already impressed with the way that OCLC's EZproxy tool had transformed access to electronic resources, were looking at WMS. "We found a cloud-based solution with high-quality metadata, ILL, and a very useful licence management module", recalled Silvestre.

Giving libraries the tools to collaborate

With WMS, OCLC is helping to extend collaborative practices in libraries. The global library community can share data such as vendor contact details, just as they have traditionally reused catalogue records. "Libraries will be able to search a database of records, and simply reuse the information they find", said OCLC Product Manager, Elisabeth Robinson, who gave a live demonstration of WMS in the session. "It's taking away mundane data entry tasks and making the library more efficient."

WMS also applies collaborative principles to the fraught area of electronic resource licences, which libraries have managed with a makeshift mix of filing cabinets and spreadsheets. WMS offers a shared databank into which libraries can contribute their own licences, which other libraries can then reuse, tweaking them if necessary, in the case of negotiated clauses. The licence data can then be retrieved in a range of contexts: libraries can view all live licences pertaining to one vendor, for example, or see what licensing governs the use of specific resources.

OCLC generated considerable excitement at last year's conference in Birmingham, UK, by introducing the idea of an ecosystem of features and applications, along the lines of Apple's app store. This year, Elisabeth Robinson demonstrated this area.

In 'my apps' librarians can download and reuse an app that may have been written by OCLC, a third party supplier, or even another library. That really is today's spirit of collaboration writ large.

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