October 22, 2007

New OCLC Report about Sharing Online

Filed under: precat — jenny @ 8:43 pm

It’s taken a long time for them to release this, but OCLC has finally made their Sharing, Privacy and Trust in Our Networked World report available for free on the web.

New OCLC report on sharing, privacy, trust, and social networking

“The practice of using a social network to establish and enhance relationships based on some common ground—shared interests, related skills, or a common geographic location—is as old as human societies, but social networking has flourished due to the ease of connecting on the Web. This OCLC membership report explores this web of social participation and cooperation on the Internet and how it may impact the library’s role, including:

  • The use of social networking, social media, commercial and library services on the Web
  • How and what users and librarians share on the Web and their attitudes toward related privacy issues
  • Opinions on privacy online
  • Libraries’ current and future roles in social networking

The report is based on a survey (by Harris Interactive on behalf of OCLC) of the general public from six countries—Canada, France, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States—and of library directors from the U.S. The research provides insights into the values and social-networking habits of library users.”

I’ve heard OCLC staff say they don’t believe they asked the right questions for some of the topics, which I agree with, so I think we have to take the data with the proverbial grain of salt. You’ll be able to order a 280-page paper copy starting October 28, which is how I’ll read this if I can get my hands on a copy. I couldn’t totally resist, though, so I did jump ahead to the conclusion (PDF) and already I’m intrigued.

“In the 18 months since the publication of the Perceptions of Libraries and Information Resources report, the use of search engines and e-mail has grown by more than 20% over what were already enormous participation levels. User participation in basic Internet services, such as searching and e-mailing, is approaching total participation. More than twice as many respondents are using blogs now as then….
Internet use has not simply increased, it has infiltrated our lives, offering more and more services at more and more service points. Use has grown for almost every Internet service we measured in this survey—well, almost every service.
The percentage of Internet users that have used a library Web site has decreased. Library Web site use declined from 30% of respondents in Canada, the U.K. and the U.S. in 2005 to 20% of the general public in these same countries in 2007, a 33%
The more intriguing question is—what are the services and incentives that online libraries could offer users to entice them to come back or to visit more often or even devote some of their own time to help create a social library site?…
If convenience does trump quality, then it is the librarians’ job to make quality convenient. If sharing will trump privacy on the social Web, it is the librarians’
On the social Web, the library brand must go from institutional to personal….
The social Web is not being built by augmenting traditional Web sites with new tools. And a social library will not be created by implementing a list of social software features on our current sites. The social Web is being created by opening the doors to the production of the Web, dismantling the current structures and inviting users in to create their content and establish new rules.
Open the library doors, invite mass participation by users and relax the rules of privacy. It will be messy. The rules of the new social Web are messy. The rules of the new social library will be equally messy. But mass participation and a little chaos often create the most exciting venues for collaboration, creativity, community building—and transformation. It is right on mission….
The new Web is a very different thing. Libraries need to be very different, too.”

Now, I give full credit to OCLC for running, analyzing, and publishing (especially freely) this report (I so wish MPOW published this kind of wonderful data this freely), but I have to dock them points for the way they invite feedback on this report. On social networking. And sharing online. And privacy concerns.

OCLC - thank you for sending us your one-way comment

Where do the points come off? The only way to submit feedback is via a form that has your name and email address as required fields and which sends the message off into the ether instead of posting it online. No discussion at all on the report’s site. Given the social efforts OCLC is making elsewhere (WorldCat, WebJunction, etc.), I have to believe they have something in the works that just wasn’t ready yet, but this certainly does fill the belly of the irony beast.
Update: And indeed, the online community is now live via open comments on what appears to be a blog. Discuss away.


  1. […] der Bloggerin  Jenny Levine ist der Umgang fon OCLC mit eben diesem Thema – keine öffentliche Diskussions- oder Kommentar […]

    Pingback by OCLC Report zur vernetzten Welt « Globolibro: das internationale Bibliotheksblog — October 23, 2007 @ 2:17 am

  2. I thought it was interesting that out of 4,000 postcards mailed to U.S. librarians, only 382 completed the survey. Of course, I realize this is fairly typical for survey response….

    Comment by Talking Books Librarian — October 23, 2007 @ 8:06 am

  3. “Open the library doors, invite mass participation by users and relax the rules of privacy.” LOL… We would need a PSA!
    The message below can be the disclaimer:

    Comment by Woeful — October 23, 2007 @ 9:59 am

  4. […] The Shifted Librarian’s commentary […]

    Pingback by Shifted Librarian: New OCLC Report About Sharing Online « UW-Madison SLISIT — October 23, 2007 @ 7:37 pm

  5. […] blogger 的報導:Jenny Levine、Michael Stephens、 Stephen Abram […]

    Pingback by Library Views 圖書館觀點 :: OCLC 最新報告出爐 - 「Sharing, Privacy and Trust in Our Networked World」 :: October :: 2007 — October 26, 2007 @ 5:42 pm

  6. Yes, the commenting page for the report is live. I commented on this OCLC report and asked for more information about “Online Activities” by age. They answered my question and even posted an additional pdf with a chart of “Online Activities by Age”! I really appreciate that the staff at OCLC went to the trouble of making this data public.

    Comment by Isabelle Fetherston — November 1, 2007 @ 8:28 pm

  7. […] Read the rest of this great post here […]

    Pingback by internet service » New OCLC Report about Sharing Online — November 29, 2007 @ 5:15 am

  8. […] New OCLC Report about Sharing Online (The Shifted Librarian) […]

    Pingback by The OPLIN 4cast » Blog Archive » 4cast #77: IL2007, OCLC Report, Twine, Catalogs — December 12, 2007 @ 10:12 am

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