Along with Monesha, I attended the first regional OCLC Member Forum at UNCG on Tuesday, October 9. The forum is a new idea for OCLC and this was only their 3rd in the country. At this time they hope to hold these forums annually.
The forum began with a short history lesson on OCLC (16,857 member institutions and 72,035 library collections with 321 million records) and an update on WorldCat Discovery and the “sunset” of FirstSearch (December 2015).
Next there were Breakout Sessions. The sessions were divided into groups discussing resource sharing, discovery and cataloging. I attended the session on resource sharing with Alisa Whitt, an OCLC Product & Services Consultant. She said her job is to sell iLLiad to libraries so she was familiar with the inter-workings of iLLiad and WorldCat. Several people in my session use OCLC’s WorldShare ILL to process their interlibrary loans so it was helpful for her to be familiar with both. While most of the enhancements that were discussed were in WorldShare ILL, she also introduced a British Library add-on that will be available in iLLiad to make those requests easier. My session had approximately 10 people so we were able to share our ideas/concerns/gripes and it certainly seemed as though the OCLC representatives there were taking notes and considering the comments made. In the past, most of my contact with OCLC has been on the receiving end of a sales pitch so it was a good change of perspective. One enhancement that was mentioned often was OCLC’s Knowledge Base which, among other things, would enable library e-journal holdings to be displayed when another library is requesting an article (thereby cutting down on time spent on cancelled requests).
I’d recommend a future Member Forum to anyone in the library who uses an OCLC product who would like to network with fellow users and have the opportunity to meet with a specialized OCLC representative.