Columbus Business First

Columbus Business First provides valuable business, leadership and industry information.  Central Ohioans and those seeking to learn more can use the news to make important business decisions, understand industry front runners and learn more about Central Ohio executives and rising leaders. The paper, owned by American City Business Journals (ACBJ), offers an insightful weekly publication and a variety of other resources including The Book of Lists, Forty Under 40 awards, daily and breaking news emails and other business awards.


Columbus Business First monthly publications

Research Director Robin Smith creates, edits and manages the paper’s many lists which are featured in weekly publications and collected annually to form The Book of Lists.  Robin leverages the company’s proprietary database, commercial databases, public records and online surveys to gather and analyze data for the lists. Topics for the list are decided by Robin, the editorial staff and ACBJ. In 2016, The Book of Lists contained 72 lists, but the number varies from year to year, depending on the market and relevant topics. June’s featured list explores Ohio’s Craft Brewers.


Reception at Columbus Business First

Robin shared her process for creating the lists. She sends surveys to businesses in the category of the list she is building six weeks in advance of the list’s publication date, and she follows up several times to ensure that the companies can participate. Information is self reported by the companies and verified through research and comparison from previous years. Lists are based on quantitative data and vary depending on the industry. Often, Robin works with the editorial staff when creating a list and stories related to the list subject are run in the same issue.

The job requires understanding and processing large amounts of data. Robin noted the largest list she complied examined 850 companies! As a member of an investigative reporting organization, she has learned new tips and tricks to help manage these kinds of data-intensive projects.


Research Director Robin Smith

Robin began her career in graphic design and worked with Business First as an ad designer for six years. Later, she performed freelance research services and co-authored Ohio Then & Now: Contemporary Rephotography. Her research and time in libraries and archives sparked her interest, which led her to complete her master’s degree in library science.

Robin enjoys that her work provides difficult to attain information, demonstrating a valuable skill for many businesses and individuals. In addition to her research, she leads classes for Columbus Business First subscribers on how to harness the power of The Book of Lists. Interaction with users gives her the opportunity to learn first-hand the value of her work. One small business owner featured in the minority-owned business list shared her company’s clients significantly increased after being featured. Now that’s making a positive difference!

Companies and individuals use Columbus Business First’s information for sales, recruiting, purchasing decisions and many other research purposes.  The work of Robin Smith and Columbus Business First is crucial for many in our community.

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OCLC Library


OCLC Library’s ample and comfortable seating

The OCLC Library plays an important part in a global company that supports libraries worldwide.  Part archive, museum, research library and community space, the library illustrates OCLC’s heritage while actively collaborating in the development of new products and services.


OCLC Dublin, Ohio headquarters

OCLC serves 16,000+ members in more than 100 countries.  It is a nonprofit “library cooperative that provides shared technology services, original research and community programs for its membership and the library community at large.”  The OCLC Library, Archive & Museum serves OCLC staff worldwide with the largest number of staff located in Dublin – which is approximately 700 staff.


Stories give OCLC a rich heritage

As an archive and museum, the OCLC Library connects new hires to the deep legacy of the organization and helps them understand how to move forward.  Started in 1967, OCLC became widely known for creating a shared, computerized catalog for its member institutions.  Consequently, members benefited by reducing the time needed to create catalog records for duplicate titles across members’ libraries.  Over the years services have evolved; however, core themes of cooperation, innovation, engagement and advocacy remain the same.


The history of OCLC through core themes

As a research partner, the library collaborates with marketing, software developers and human resources.  The library fact checks, provides user insights on new software and assists in OCLC Research projects.  Over time, the library has created a knowledge base for the organization, and librarians are able to answer how the company and its services operated in previous years.  As a result, teams avoid potential pitfalls and focus on more probable successes.


Looking into OCLC Library’s conference room (Image courtesy of OCLC)

As a community space, the library is open and inviting.  After a year-long renovation that concluded in August 2016, the library is highly visible with comfortable seating often used for lunches and informal meetings.  Additionally, a large conference room is available which provides more privacy for staff to conduct meetings.  The library has also become alternative venue for small events.


Library Manager and Corporate Archivist Kem Lang

OCLC Library Manager and Corporate Archivist Kemberly “Kem” Lang believes in the value of special libraries.  For over 30 years she has worked within corporate libraries, and OCLC has given her the opportunity to further develop stories that ignite and inspire her colleagues.


OCLC’s beautiful light-filled atrium (Image courtesy of OCLC)

The OCLC Library operates as a dynamic, integral part of the organization while keeping OCLC’s heritage alive.

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Columbus Dispatch Library


Library Director, Julie Fulton, stands with a display on Central Ohio Neighborhoods


The Columbus Dispatch library employs four librarians to provide research and archival services for the newspaper.  The library is unique because many newspapers the size of The Dispatch do not have a large library – as Web resources have become available, news libraries have dwindled.

Dispatch librarians maintain the paper’s physical collection of magazines, newspapers and literary journals, along with a quiet space for reporters to read.  They are responsible for archiving the paper daily, maintaining electronic research tools like Nexis, Accruent and Smartlinks, and resources in the collection that are unique to the library:

  • Clip files (thousands of news clippings)
  • Photo files which range from the late 1940’s-1998
  • Microfilm of the paper dating back to 1971
  • Electronic archive of the paper dating back to 1985

The library staff view themselves as a customer service organization.  They provide data analytics and due diligence.  One librarian works in the same space as the reporters to offer embedded research services.

Julie Fulton, director, shared that her job requires a great deal accuracy and integrity, balanced with a sense of urgency around helping reporters build a better story.



The Columbus Dispatch



A notebook with cold newspaper clips


Image Files

Image files in the Dispatch Library