Unique Institutions, Common Goals
There is no denying the power of many voices speaking together – this is an OCUL strength that is well-recognized. With many voices also comes the challenge of how best to ensure each distinct voice is heard. With a diversity of needs, expertise and budgets, our libraries vary in size, location, academic focus and leadership style and there are times when our individual institutional goals may not align. Yet these differences also provide alternative skill sets and points of view that, when shared, are beneficial across institutions. Certainly, we all share some clear overarching goals. These were most recently articulated in our strategic plan:
- Collaborate to provide a world-class learning experience for Ontario’s Students
- Expand Shared Digital Infrastructure
- Provide and Preserve academic resources essential for teaching, learning and research
Recent tangible initiatives demonstrate a big impact on our services when OCUL members collaborate – improvements to Scholars GeoPortal which fully launched out of the beta version this month, the switch to our in-house virtual reference solution Ask a Librarian, enhancements to our Journals and Books platforms, discussions on how to improve our e-resources licenses and purchasing processes, just to name a few.
Recognizing this, OCUL is working to increase opportunities for members to connect across institutions to share ideas, capitalize on expertise, and discuss unique experiences in order to create innovative solutions for library issues. In the first quarter of 2012, members of OCUL institutions have come together to discuss Research Support in the 21st Century, to work on the creation of a shared Recommendation Generation tool (SPLURGE) during a one-day hackfest, and for training to enhance Library Management Skills. This in addition to the cross-pollination of ideas that takes place in our Committee & Groups including the newly formed Citation Management Investigation Task Force which was struck to consider how best to serve our user’s bibliographic citation needs.
To have many speaking as one offers great power, but there is also power in many speaking from individual experiences. We will continue working to create opportunities for the betterment of our individual schools, for OCUL, and for Ontario universities.
Leslie Weir, Chair, OCUL
University Librarian, University of Ottawa