Re: OCLC and Michigan State at Impasse Over SkyRiver Cataloging, Resource Sharing Costs

From: Frances Dean McNamara <fdmcnama_at_nyob>
Date: Fri, 5 Mar 2010 08:38:40 -0600
OK, so what happened to the suggestion by a Google engineer that libraries could dump their holdings and make it crawlable?  Let's do that.  

A few years ago libraries using RLIN loaded holdings to OCLC for the kind of price MSU expected.  Then RLIN folded and OCLC got a monopoly.  I think they are price gouging based on that monopoly.  There are other ways for libraries to share holdings for ILL including Direct Consortial Borrowing such as the Borrow Direct system which is not using OCLC.

I have to dispute the assumption that libraries exist to keep OCLC in business.  I don't think that is the purpose of libraries.  If libraries can dump their holdings and make them crawlable and put in place resource sharing based on that OCLC should be supporting libraries's use of newer technologies instead of trying to stop that use in order to maintain their organization.  OCLC is supposed to help libraries serve their constituencies, that is the purpose, not libraries are supposed to keep OCLC running.

In a world where every book has a full text file, how will ILL be affected?  Will the numbers of transactions go down?

I think OCLC Worldcat is useful but only in so far as it supports what the libraries need to do.  This assumption that the libraries are supposed to support OCLC at any cost and as a monopoly is just not useful.

Frances McNamara
University of Chicago Library 

-----Original Message-----
From: Next generation catalogs for libraries [mailto:NGC4LIB_at_LISTSERV.ND.EDU] On Behalf Of MJ Suhonos
Sent: Thursday, March 04, 2010 7:01 PM
Subject: Re: [NGC4LIB] OCLC and Michigan State at Impasse Over SkyRiver Cataloging, Resource Sharing Costs

>>> OCLC and Michigan State at Impasse Over SkyRiver Cataloging,
>>> Resource Sharing Costs.
>> I understand this probably incredibly naive, but why don't libraries
>> just dump their records on MARCXML on OAI-PMH servers? Surely, this
>> is a once and for all cost to develop the gateway and a small price
>> to pay for the server? It could by paid for by dropping a single
>> journal subscription...
> Frankly, I don't understand why us librarians don't do this either. I think there is some sort of fear of retaliation from OCLC.

Agreed -- [art of the approach I'm taking is to get our library's entire catalogue into Open Library so I (or anyone else) can convert it into MARCXML and drop it on an open OAI-PMH server somewhere.

Below is copied from a response I sent to the Open Library mailing list earlier today:

I wonder, for example, about libraries who deposit (or already have deposited) their MARC records into the Internet Archive (and thus made accessible to OL) -- couldn't they represent an aggregate hole in the bucket?  What recourse would OCLC take?

TPL, for example, is a net contributor of records to WorldCat due to the huge amount of original cataloguing we do, particularly for multilingual and non-English items, so OCLC would potentially be hurting themselves more than us if they decided to revoke TPL's license.  I would imagine if a few large libraries did similarly, we might see some momentum toward openness.

A follow-on thought: not that we should drag Z39.50 any further into the future than necessary, but I suspect that if OL had an open Z39.50 interface that returned MARC (or at least MARCXML) records, libraries could relatively easily use it as a surrogate for WorldCat.  Just an idea.

Received on Fri Mar 05 2010 - 09:39:08 EST