Re: OCLC Formally Withdraws WorldCat Policy

From: Karen Coyle <lists_at_nyob>
Date: Thu, 2 Jul 2009 20:29:27 -0700
B.G. Sloan wrote:
> "According to OCLC's announcement, 'a new group will soon be assembled to begin work to draft a new policy with more input and participation from OCLC membership. Until then, the 'Guidelines for the Use and Transfer of OCLC-Derived Records' will continue to govern WorldCat data exchange, as it has since 1987."
I recommend that folks take a look at the committee's report, which is at:

In particular look at some of the technical assumptions in that report 
(and presumably in the thinking of the committee). One in particular, on 
page 1, is the strong affirmation that the answer (question unclear 
here) is an international union catalog. And that union catalog is 
WorldCat. If you begin with *that* assumption about the technology, you 
don't then explore other models, such as distributed data systems or 
data "in the web." This is unfortunate, in my mind, because it seems to 
reject, a priori, the NextGen catalog ideas that are floating around. It 
would have been interesting to use the opportunity that the OCLC policy 
development provides to have a discussion in our profession about future 
directions. I don't see how that can happen if the discussion cannot 
question whether a centralized union catalog is what we see serving 
libraries in the future.

There also doesn't seem to be an awareness of the technical difficulty 
of controlling downstream use of data. It has always seemed to me that 
this is patently infeasible, and therefore not a good basis on which to 
create a policy. We have good examples of how this has played out in 
other sectors -- including the failure of DRM with materials that are 
much less mutable than bibliographic data, such as sound files.


Karen Coyle / Digital Library Consultant
ph.: 510-540-7596   skype: kcoylenet
fx.: 510-848-3913
mo.: 510-435-8234
Received on Thu Jul 02 2009 - 23:31:48 EDT