Wednesday, September 07, 2005

24 countries

In our ever-shrinking, flat world, I should not be surprised by this figure. But of course I am. I was nosing around for statistics this week on the various projects we've been working on lately--OCLC Member reports, Advocacy Advertising efforts, the redesigned newsletter, the OCLC Symposiums--all of these, good things--but the statistic that stopped me in my tracks this morning?

Almost 4,000 people in 24 countries have acquired the Environmental Scan.

Okay, I admit it: I am easily impressed. But it makes me wonder now, almost two years out from the initial discussions about the document-->what bold decisions are being made in libraries today? What improvements? What trials? What tests?

Or is your library stuck in task force land? Consensus land? Pulled in too many directions and so can't get going in any one direction-land?

The Quorum of Two
It reminds me of the condo agreement my husband and I were reading last night. We're trying to buy 1/2 a big house that has been split in two condo units. So we were wading through the condo association agreements, covenants, bylaws and rules. Lots of important details about 10 business days of notice by registered mail of the annual meeting, etc.

And this is all for a condo association of essentially 2 parties: our half (we hope)and the other guy's half. Finally you read through the whole 14 pages of legalese to see, all decisions made will require a quorum of two. And then the whole thing seemed a bit silly.

I know, I know. It's important to have structure and process to guide an organization. But sometimes it makes just as much sense to knock on the other person's door (you do, after all, share the same house) and say hey, can we meet next week?

A small library, I would guess, is roughly the same: some things are important to have structure about, and some things you can be a little looser, a little freer about. (Is freer a word? Oh, Walt you'll have to correct me...)

How many of those 4,000 people in 24 countries are essentially operating with a quorum of two? Go knock on each other's doors...


walt said...

I've become a language maven? Frightening.

Yes, "freer" is a word, the comparative form of free. A9 can confirm that (it's in American Heritage Dictionary), and for that matter Word's spelling check doesn't object to it.

A true grump could possibly suggest that "free" is an absolute, but that's nonsense in the real world...

Actually, I was going to tweak you a little about "24 countries." If you're only counting people who've ordered the paper edition of the scan, that's impressive. If you're including those who've downloaded sections...well, the world really is flatter than we'd expect. Last time I looked, people in 135 countries had looked at Cites & Insights...(a figure that blows me away, but there it is).

Alice said...

Hey Walt, good to hear from you.
I understood it to be 24 countries for the paper edition.

Although 135 countries borders on the famous. Awesome.