Sunday, November 2nd, 2008

OCLC Policy Change

Here it is:

No comment, as of now. Frankly, I haven’t even read it. February is a long time away. Long enough to discover we’re okay, make a deal or copy OCLC from scratch using nothing but periwinkle ink and passionate book lovers’ time.

Update: Depressing analysis: Terry’s Worklog. Wow.

Update #2: The non-legal page remains up, but the legalese page was taken down very early this morning

“We are reconsidering some aspects of the policy. More information will be available in the near future.”

Damn. I wish I had remembered to copy and paste. Does anyone have the original text? (For example, in your browser cache? I browse cache-less, unfortunately.)

Update #3: See Inkdroid pointing out the “viral” nature of the policy. Over a few years the libraries that now get their data from the Library of Congress, bypassing OCLC, will find uninfected records increasingly scarce. They’ll be forced to join OCLC—or do all their own original cataloging.

Update #4: A librarian-blogger managed to take a snapshot before OCLC took it down, here.

Update #4: Does anyone get Publishers Lunch Plus? Apparently it has an article called “WorldCatFight.” I don’t know the terms on forwarding that, but if it’s legal, can someone send me a copy?

It would certainly be good if publishers got into this. In my fantasy, publishers “pull a reverse-OCLC” and require unlicensed distribution of records derived from their data. Publishers have want their data out there, not restricted, and since OCLC records often start at publishers, this would shut down OCLC’s data-monopoly plans.

Update #5: The terms kill off the Open Library project completely. Not only does it involve viral terms—terms that OL could enver accept—but OCLC libraries are prohibited from participating in anything that “substantially replicates the function, purpose, and/or size of WorldCat, for example for the purpose of providing cataloging services to libraries or other organizations.”

I think that means it kills Talis too.

Update #6: Edward Corrado has an excellent summary of some of the issues.

Update #7: Jonathan Rochkind wrote a good explanation of the difference between an open source viral license—designed to keep things open—and an OCLC viral license—designed to keep them closed. He also suggests a remedy—give OCLC a virus instead, by add an Open Data license to everything your library catalogs!

Labels: oclc


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