Tuesday, October 28, 2008

OCLC deletes personal cataloging?

Something's going on over at OCLC. And it looks very worrisome.

LibraryThing members who care about library data should gird their loins. Ditto those who support the Open Library project, and other efforts to free library data.

Note: Sorry I can't give more details yet. I will when I can. So far it's a mix of messages on AUTOCAT and phone calls I can't disclose. Also, I'm figuring someone in the library world who has more access to OCLC communication will post about it soon. So far, no posts.

Updates: Will post 'em here:


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can we get a little more info please?

10/28/2008 11:41 AM  
Blogger Jessamyn said...

less handwavey, more details pls.

10/28/2008 11:46 AM  
OpenID DataGazetteer said...

Anything to do with the newly anticipated change to the OCLC record use policy? (http://serials.infomotions.com/ngc4lib/archive/2008/200810/1187.html)

Agreeing with Jessamyn -- less FUD, more details please.

10/28/2008 12:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

On the WorldCat Blog there was a post at 11:08am today (10/28/2008) about a Webinar 2:00pm-3:00pm this afternoon to: "...demo of all the cool social features on WorldCat, such as tagging, reviews, and ratings. Plus you'll get a sneak preview of what's to come and get to ask questions of the WorldCat team."

10/28/2008 12:45 PM  
Blogger Mark Barnes said...

Here is OCLC's response. It was posted on a publically available mail-list, so I presume can be reposted here.

I am responding to the messages regarding OCLC's policy for the use and transfer of WorldCat records, which was discussed at the recent OCLC Members Council meeting last week.

I regret NYLINK's premature messages to its member libraries during this week. This week was intended as the updated policy's discussion period with Members Council delegates and directors of OCLC's regional networks. NYLINK's message expresses the understanding that "access and
use of OCLC online systems by any institution after November 2nd will be taken as acceptance of the new policy." Because of concerns expressed by the Members Council delegates and network directors since last Monday, October 20, the sentence to which the NYLINK message refers is no longer
in the policy.

It's unfortunate that an update to the existing policy has been announced to you in this way, because I believe the updated policy will be generally welcomed by the OCLC membership, as it opens WorldCat records to new, noncommercial uses by members and non-member libraries alike. The existing Guidelines for the Use and Transfer of OCLC-Derived Records (http://www.oclc.org/us/en/support/documentation/worldcat/records/guidelines/default.htm) was last updated in 1987. In response to changing needs and opportunities for the sharing of WorldCat records, OCLC has
been working in recent months to update the twenty-one year old policy.
In the process, OCLC impaneled a group of experts from member libraries and partners around the world, who advised us how to update the existing Guidelines.

The intent of the updated policy, due for release next week, is to:

* Respond to the changing information landscape
* Modernize the language of the Guidelines
* Make it clearer how WorldCat records can be used and shared
* Expand the opportunities for record sharing among members and
* Clarify OCLC's support for WorldCat data sharing that encourages innovation and benefits libraries while protecting OCLC members' investment in WorldCat

The week of Nov. 2, OCLC is putting up new Web pages to inform members about the updated policy and provide its text. You will be seeing a variety of announcements giving the URL. In the meantime, if your library is a member of NYLINK, and you have questions about the message you have received from NYLINK, please don't hesitate to contact me at
800-848-5878. If I am not available to talk with you, your call will be routed to a team that is prepared to respond to your concerns.

Karen Calhoun
Vice President, WorldCat and Metadata Services

10/28/2008 12:49 PM  
Blogger Jessamyn said...

I still don't get what the oogy boogey part is.

10/28/2008 12:58 PM  
Anonymous lorax said...

So as I read it, it's like a shrink-wrap license? They're making changes on Nov 2, by using the services after Nov 2 you're agreeing to the new terms, but they won't actually tell you what the new terms are until Nov 2?

Real classy.

Other than making sure my backup copy is up-to-date, is there anything non-librarians on LT can do? Does this mean we won't be able to get library data anymore?

10/28/2008 1:50 PM  
Blogger Tim said...

Frankly, I don't know. I don't think will be any rapid changes.

10/28/2008 1:53 PM  
Blogger Steve Lawson said...

Whatever the hell you are talking about, I'm certainly against it.

10/28/2008 8:53 PM  
Blogger Edwin Mijnsbergen said...

Is it an option to call Karen? I'm quite confused about this one. I tend to think they will open up further, but since the reactions are negative I presume I misunderstand the whole thing...

10/29/2008 7:40 AM  
Blogger amandaellis said...

It's quite confusing. Can you post again, once it's clear what it all means? Thanks.

10/29/2008 8:57 AM  
Blogger prosfilaes said...

Thanks, Mark. It looks like they were trying to shove it out November 2, with no warning, but they've backed off on that.

Edwin, my concern here is that "clarify" especially while "protecting OCLC members' investment in WorldCat" tend to be restricting things that are commonly down. I get the big concern that they will act like they're expanding things when the practical effect will be to close things off.

10/29/2008 12:42 PM  
Anonymous Jon Goran said...

Well, from what I can tell of the current agreement (http://www.oclc.org/support/documentation/worldcat/records/guidelines/default.htm) , almost nothing is allowed.

You can share records with other libraries, but records are defined not to include bibliographic records from another library or groups original cataloging.

You are allowed to share holdings information (ie whether or not you have a book) with other libraries and noncommercial groups. You can share holdings with commercial groups as long as there's a signed agreement. The clear intent is for third party groups who might be doing things like maintaining holding records/fixing them up etc.

OCLC so far seems to have chosen to not exercise the ability to go after violators who are doing things like setting up Z39.50 servers and the like.

I can't see how it could get much more restrictive but I suppose it's possible.

Most of the current guidelines seem muddled and seem to feel like they were written to address fears of record sharing that probably are not as prevalent in individual institutions as they may have once been.

10/29/2008 1:55 PM  
Blogger Esther said...

This perhaps is helpful:
On slideshare slides of Calhouns presentation in the Data Sharing Panel are available:
I assume this gives the general background on the upcoming policy document. It seems that OCLC will adopt a policy stepping into the non-commercial use dichotomy. This will lead to the conclusion that - in case we must accept that metadata are commodified and protected by copyright- the OCLC metadata will not be useable within Wikipedia.

10/30/2008 6:41 AM  
Blogger Mark Barnes said...

Tim has said elsewhere:

My guess is that OCLC is going to tighten its rules, requiring libraries to deny records to commercial companies and to institutions that may share them with others. Non-commercial use will be broadened, but with licensing terms forbidding resharing.

This will hit sites like LibraryThing and ISBNdb hard. We are not going to pay for access to records, particularly records from the government-funded institutions that do most of OCLC's work.

And I suspect it will shut down the Open Library project, as they won't accept data unless it has no restrictions on it.


10/30/2008 11:41 AM  
Anonymous lorax said...

Ouch. That doesn't sound good at all. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it's not as bad as Tim fears, but they wouldn't be all close-mouthed if they were making things more open.

10/30/2008 3:06 PM  
Anonymous Jon Gorman said...

Tim, could you clarify how this is allowed under the current rules? It seems that all that would really be required to cause your worse-case scenario is enforcement of the current policy.

Not that I'm saying OCLC is great, just that this is the same ongoing concern that has been present since...well...the late 1980's. (In other words, I'll wait to see the new policy before deciding if I'm even more nervous about it than the current one)

10/31/2008 10:34 AM  

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