RLG and OCLC

Many years ago, my wife Ann worked as a cataloguer on the small team at The British Library creating the Eighteenth Century Short Title Catalogue (ESTC). It was a good project to work on as people knew that they were making something special. It was also interesting in that the cataloging was done remotely, working over a dedicated telecommunications link. It seems stange now, but this was before the spread of the internet, and long before the web had appeared. Working in this way also seemed special, maybe even a little magic. It was a new experience: working on a shared task with people from the other side of the world. And the link was very 'real' in that people knew that they depended on the availability of that single transatlantic pipe. The cataloging environment they used was RLIN. This was my first real working exposure to RLG.

I have been thinking about this and my subsequent interactions with RLG colleagues as we plan new working arrangements. Pending approval by the RLG membership, the newly created RLG-Programs unit will work closely with OCLC Research. In addition, we hope that existing RLG members, and others who are not currently RLG members, will chose to affiliate with RLG-programs as partners, contributing dues to support further incremental capacity.

The combined resource of RLG programmatic activity, OCLC Research, and the partner-supported resource will create a major new presence. We will have the capacity to significantly advance agendas across libraries, archives, museums as they evolve to support research, learning and cultural engagement in new environments. This capacity stretches across consensus-making intiatives, research, prototoyping, and architecture and standards work. We are looking forward to making it happen!

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