WMS Global Community + User Group Meeting in Dublin, Ohio 26-29 September 2017

Posted on January 01, 2018

Once a year, people from the global community using WorldShare Management Services, come together in the form of a User Group Meeting, sharing their expertise and experiences within the facilities of OCLC in Dublin, Ohio, USA.  I was privileged to be given the opportunity to attend this special two-day event at the end of September in 2017.

It was really hard to choose which of the parallel sessions to attend and knowing that sessions would be recorded for later access helped me to focus on the sessions closest to my portfolio, such as WorldCat Discovery, future developments and the sessions that involved anything around support.  Our University library is fairly new to WorldShare Management Services and I wanted to attend every session in the hope to learn as much as possible about our new library management system.

Many of the sessions, which I attended, ended in open discussions and it was very comforting to learn that we are part of a big community of librarians who strive to be the best at delivering information to their users, by being involved in the development of a system that can provide the best level of service to their staff and users.  More comforting was the fact that the experts from OCLC also attended these sessions, which gave us the opportunity to share our ideas and experiences with them.  The developers did not hesitate to participate in these open discussions, trying to understand our needs and giving us immediate feedback on what is possible, and what is not.  It really left me with a feeling that WorldShare is a system developed by librarians for librarians.  Ultimately, librarians know how to run their libraries and even though it is a rather young system, the system should constantly change to evolve into a system that will meet the requirements from librarians all over the world.  It is certainly a community effort and becoming actively involved in the OCLC Community is the only way to raise our voice and ensure that we become part of building the library management system that fulfils our needs.

The User Group Meeting was preceded by an extra day of pre-meeting sessions that consisted of a combination of training sessions and workshops.  I have learned a great deal during these sessions and can assure my colleagues that SABINET has provided excellent training during our implementation phase to equip us with the necessary skills to work on WMS.  I have once again realised how integrated the various functionalities within WMS are and believe that we should get used to a system that constantly changes for the better.  It is a rather comforting thought to know that OCLC is keeping up with technology and strives to deliver a system that constantly evolves, optimising the delivery and discovery of subscribed content and information for libraries.

As the User Group Meeting concluded, I felt that our library was in a very good position.  We have the same questions as our peers and share the same frustrations with some shortcomings of the system, but ultimately can identify with the same needs as our peers.  We should not be afraid to become more involved in the community and should add our voice to the conversations that will ensure the development of a better WorldShare Management System, not only for us, but also to the benefit of all libraries using WorldShare.

Our visit to OCLC concluded with post-meeting tours of some libraries in Columbus and included the following facilities:

●       Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum at Ohio State Univeristy

●       The Ohio State University Thompson Library (video tour)

●       Columbus Metropolitan Library’s Main Library

The session recordings and presentations can be accessed at https://www.oclc.org/community/worldshare/global2017.en.html and for my personal collection of photographs please access the shared folder at https://drive.google.com/open?id=1e75Wm4i14QlOXI7Q1h-Ge89M7L-kRcSF

- Author Carike Schoeman

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