Friday, May 18, 2007

Why I joined OCLC ...

... is the title of a short Library Journal piece by Roy Tennant. In it, Roy, a popular and much respected library speaker and author explains his decision to leave the California Digital Library and take a job at OCLC.

Roy's decision drew some flack among anti-OCLC librarians and related pundits who view OCLC as—in Steve Oberg's phrase—the "Microsoft of the library world."

I'm in that camp, as Roy knows well. After we presented in the same session at Computers in Libraries Roy and I went out to dinner, with another prominent librarian. I subjected them both to a long, Greek-food-fueled rant about open data and the problems with OCLC and its approach to the web. I had my shot. A day or two later, he announced he was moving to OCLC. Apparently I didn't convince him! :)

OCLC needs people like Roy—passionate librarians with a vision for the future. If OCLC is to change, people like Roy are going to be the ones to do it. I have great hopes for him there.

But they're not going to do it alone. People on the outside are going to change OCLC too. They're going to keep the pressure on. I applaud that Roy took the time to explain his move, and his vision for OCLC and the future of libraries. He was eloquent and persuasive. But I'm also glad he felt he had to.

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