RLG, a nonprofit organization of over 150 research libraries, archives, museums and other cultural memory institutions that designs and delivers information discovery services, organizes collaborative programs, and creates and promotes relevant standards and practices, and OCLC Online Computer Library Center a nonprofit, membership, library service and research organization that provides computer-based cataloging, reference, resource sharing, eContent, preservation services, and research to 54,000 libraries in 109 countries, have agreed to come together.
The combined organization will offer an integrated product and service line, and is designed to give libraries, archives, and museums new leverage in developing services, standards, and software to support research and disseminate knowledge online. The RLG board of directors and OCLC board of trustees have recommended that the two service and research organizations be combined effective July 1, 2006. If approved by RLG member institutions, RLG's online products and services will be integrated with OCLC products and services, and RLG's program initiatives will be brought forward as a new division of OCLC Programs and Research. RLG's program initiatives would be continued as RLG-Programs, a new division of OCLC Programs and Research that would provide programs to support architecture, standards development, and best practices, to name a few. James Michalko, who currently leads RLG, would serve as VP of RLG-programs development, working under the leadership of Lorcan Dempsey, VP of research and OCLC chief strategist.
RLG-Programs would remain a membership-based organization. Its agenda would be shaped by the needs of its members and guided by a program council. RLG's online products and services would be integrated with OCLC service offerings as appropriate. Any change in RLG service offerings will be announced well in advance. Approval of the agreement requires the assent of two-thirds of voting RLG member institutions. Voting will conclude in early June. RLG-Programs would maintain an office in Mountain View, California. Staffing decisions will be made in the weeks leading up to the proposed transition.