Jim Michalko retired from his position as VP, Research Libraries at OCLC in March 2016. OCLC is a non-profit global library cooperative that provides shared technology services, original research and community programs for its more than 16,000 member libraries in 100 countries. At OCLC Michalko had primary responsibility for research library relations and the activities of the OCLC Research Library Partnership.
Prior to joining OCLC in 2006, Michalko was the CEO of the Research Libraries Group (RLG) for nearly 16 years. The Research Libraries Group was a US-based international consortium of research libraries, archives, fine art and law libraries that operated collaborative programs and technical systems supporting library activities. Its 165 member organizations built and operated the RLG Union Catalog which supported cataloging and discovery for more than 1200 major libraries around the globe. RLG then provided the policies and systems to optimize lending of these materials among libraries. Some notable RLG contributions to the global library community were its support for the cooperative preservation of at-risk library materials, its pioneering computer processing of library and archival materials in languages using non-Roman alphabets, its hosting of the Art Museum Image Consortium database of images, its creation of the largest registry describing materials held in archives and its creation and promotion of relevant standards and practices including UniCode.
During his career Michalko has represented the needs of research libraries and cultural institutions in a variety of professional forums and conferences. Since 1992 he has promoted the intersecting interests of libraries, museums and archives. He has spoken and written prolifically about the future of research libraries, their role in culture and scholarship and their impact on teaching and learning. Before directing RLG, Michalko held positions in private industry (medical technology, merger and acquisition analysis), the University of Chicago libraries and the University of Pennsylvania libraries. JMichalko holds graduate degrees from the University of Chicago (MBA and MLS) and earned a bachelor of arts at Georgetown University.