Shortly after the 2015 annual meetings of the Music Library Association and the Music OCLC Users Group in Denver, MLA President Michael Rogan and (then) MOUG Chair Bruce Evans empaneled a joint task force with the following charge:
“Investigate OCLC’s WorldCat Discovery Services to determine if it will be sufficient to meet the needs of music users. If the Task Force determines that WorldCat Discovery Services is not sufficient, it will recommend a course of action to petition OCLC to continue to provide the FirstSearch interface for WorldCat after December 31, 2015. It will also recommend a course of action to petition OCLC for specific improvements to WorldCat Discovery Services to meet the needs of music users.”
The Joint MLA/MOUG OCLC Search and Discovery Task Force submitted its report to both Boards in May 2016. With only very minor revisions, it was ratified by both Boards. We owe the Task Force our immense gratitude for successfully fulfilling their charge and producing such an excellent and thorough report, which will provide a framework for seeking these improvements for years to come.
Last week, the report (available here) along with a cover letter (available here) was sent to select OCLC management staff, including CEO Skip Prichard. As of this writing, we have already received a response from Mary Sauer-Games, Vice President, Global Product Management, who states the following:
“The OCLC Search and Discovery Task Force Report is particularly timely, given the recent announcement that we will build a new version of FirstSearch. That new version will deliver the full-featured WorldCat searching valued by many FirstSearch users, including expert searchers in the music library community. Your recommendations will be helpful as we move forward with that product, as well as enhancements to search features in WorldCat Discovery. Several of your recommendations have also been requested by other community members and are already under consideration and prioritization by our WorldCat Discovery team.”
The full announcement from OCLC regarding the new version of FirstSearch is available here.
The MOUG Board plans to meet with select OCLC staff during its Board meeting in Columbus, Ohio early next month, with the objective of following up on this response in more detail. We are encouraged by this immediate response from OCLC and hope that it, like the decision regarding a renewed life for FirstSearch, reflects a growing awareness of all users’ needs. MLA and MOUG will continue both to advocate strenuously for these improvements and to work in cooperation with OCLC toward solutions that work for the music community.
Please don’t hesitate to contact Michael or myself with any questions or comments.
Casey A. Mullin
Michael J. Rogan