New UK-wide service will transform library collaboration: The National Bibliographic Knowledgebase

The following text is the press release from Jisc and OCLC announcing their plan to collaboratively build and deliver the centrepiece system that was first envisaged in the National Monograph Strategy Roadmap (published in September 2014). That document talked about the need for a National Knowledgebase that would drive a range of functions and we are, following an extensive period of consultation, specification and service procurement, now in a position to work with OCLC and the library community to start building that system.

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As part of delivering on the vision of a UK national digital library, Jisc and OCLC announce a partnership to build a new shared service that will aggregate academic bibliographic data at scale, improving library collection management and resource discovery for students and researchers.

Jisc, the digital solutions provider for UK education and research, today announced that OCLC, the global library cooperative, has been awarded the contract to develop a new National Bibliographic Knowledgebase (NBK).

The NBK, originally proposed in Jisc’s National Monograph Strategy, will support the learning and research needs of the UK higher education community. The vision is to extend the capabilities of the current Copac service, by investing in technology that can ingest diverse library data at higher speed and greater volume. The new service will enable a shift in the way that libraries manage their print and digital collections and in the ways that people access those resources.

“This exciting collaborative partnership is an important part of building a national digital library for the UK,” explains Neil Grindley, Head of resource discovery at Jisc.

“The NBK will be a genuine knowledgebase combining information from various sources to tackle the collection management challenges facing UK academic institutions. The building of this system will be a shared community endeavor. We are working closely with RLUK, SCONUL, The British Library, individual representatives from academic libraries, publishers, licensing organisations and service providers to try and really think through how to realise transformational change.”

Neil Wilson, Head of collection metadata at The British Library, commented on their involvement:

“With its aim of combining new technology, rich metadata assets and the collective experience of leading library community members, the National Bibliographic Knowledgebase fits perfectly with The British Library’s strategic objectives for effective collaboration.”

The library community is grappling with two core challenges as budgets come under threat. Firstly, the need to make important decisions about the ongoing management of their print and digital book collections. Secondly, to ensure that researchers and learners have sustainable and convenient access to digital books.

The NBK is regarded as a key element in the delivery against these issues, providing a source of information that libraries can confidently rely upon when making decisions about the future of the resources that they manage and make accessible.

Supported by WorldCat, the world’s largest aggregation of library data, the project is due to start in January 2017, with launch of a beta service projected in January 2018.

Speaking on behalf of OCLC, Eric van Lubeek, Vice President, Managing Director OCLC EMEA and APAC said:

“We are simply delighted to be partnering with Jisc for the development of the NBK. We know the importance of this project to UK academia and will seek to engage the whole community. This change will increase the quality and comprehensiveness of information across the whole UK bibliographic ecosystem.

“The mechanisms in place as part of the NBK will enable shared bibliographic metadata to flow into WorldCat and other systems, such as global search engines. Libraries around the world are looking forward to being able to easily locate material from the rich collections of UK academic institutions. The NBK will also interoperate with a number of sources to describe where books are kept, in what formats and under what conditions they are available to be used. Going forward we will build on our collaborative approach to integrate this service with additional discovery, analysis and management tools, including WorldShare Management Services.”

Commenting on OCLC’s appointment, Grindley continues: “OCLC was selected because they are uniquely positioned to connect library data-hubs at scale to the global network. OCLC is built on collaboratively making knowledge sharable and reusable by all contributing libraries and organisations that support discovery and enhancement of that information. OCLC is also a known quantity in this area as they are already a provider of national and regional bibliographic infrastructure in a number of countries, including in Australia, France, Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands.”

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