Library Collective Collection…07.17.09

17 07 2009


The above is from OCLC’s Managing the Collective Collection By Jim Michalko and Constance Malpas which is worth a read.  The article is summarized by saying, “The next major stage in library collaboration will require a changed view of print collections, one that acknowledges the primacy of on-demand access in the online environment and the need to mobilize physical inventory more effectively across a much wider audience of users…In the long term, this may entail a large scale redistribution of library resources, with a small number of repositories serving as hubs in a distributed delivery network. As before, this next phase in the evolution of resource sharing will rely on a common framework of shared policies, operational procedures and infrastructure.”

OCLC Final Report – Use and Transfer of WorldCat Records…06.29.09

29 06 2009


From the Celeripedean blog:

“OCLC just announced that it will withdraw it policy on proposed Policy on Use and Transfer of WorldCat Records.

After review of the recommendations, OCLC has formally withdrawn the proposed policy. A new group will soon be assembled to begin work to draft a new policy with more input and participation from the OCLC membership.

The Review Board’s final report is available on the Web at

If you are at ALA and still have questions or would like more information, there will be a forum from 10:30-noon on July 12..”

OCLC’s Cloud Computing for Libraries – Ramifications…06.10.09

10 06 2009


OCLC seems to jump from one pan on the fire to the next this year. Let me point out below the Library 2.0 gang post Library System Suppliers View of OCLC Web-Scale about their most recent interesting podcast about another recent and potentially controversial announcement. It is worth a listen when you find the time.

“In last month’s show there was some speculation as to what reaction there would be from the organisations that supply ‘traditional’ library systems to the OCLC announcement of their web-scale, cloud computing, library system initiative.

In an attempt to answer that speculation I took the unusual step of bringing together a specific set of Library 2.0 Gang members from that community as against our usual open house of whoever is available.  The result was an interesting conversation between Ex Libris’ Carl Grant, Nicole Engard from LibLime, Talis’ Rob Styles and newcomer from Axiell, Boris Zetterlund…”

Library 2.0 Gang 06/09: Library System Suppliers view of OCLC Web-scale [00:50:35m]: Download

OCLC Concedes to Library Community–Ends Potential Records Reign of Terror…05.20.09

20 05 2009


The Panlibus blog post today OCLC Dumps New Record Reuse Policy reports on the demise of the library records “Death Star”:

“Jennifer Younger, Chair of the OCLC Review Board of Shared Data Creation & Stewardshipannounced in a presentation on May 18th [video stream and presentation slides here] that they are to ‘Formally withdraw the proposed policy

From her presentation:

  • We affirm that a policy is needed, but not this policy
  • Formally withdraw the proposed policy
  • Until a new policy is in place, reaffirm the existence and applicability of the Nov. 16, 1987 ‘Guidelines for the Use and Transfer of OCLC-Derived Records’

She goes on to explain how they are to move on to ‘Discuss the role and value of WorldCat in the information ecosystem, and ways in which it can be leveraged’ – ‘Devise a process for drafting and maintaining a new policy’ [quotes from slides]

In her speech [from 16 minutes in] she indicated that the process for drawing up a new policy ‘must involve the governance structure of OCLC – the proposed policy is fundamental to the functioning of OCLC’…”

OCLC Policy Change Proposals Hammered Again By Library Community…05.13.09

13 05 2009

Library Journal reported yesterday in its post OICOLC Calls for CLC To Withdraw Proposed Records Policy and Start Anew:


The International Coalition of Library Consortia (ICOLC) has joined the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) in recommending that the proposed OCLC Policy for Use and Transfer of WorldCat Records, a subject of controversy since its release last November, be withdrawn and a new record use policy be developed. (See LJ coverage at ALA Midwinter Meeting.)

In response to the controversy, OCLC delayed implementation and instead launched a Review Board to address “principles of shared data creation” and possible policy changes. That Review Board of Shared Data Creation and Stewardship is expected to present its findings and recommendations at the Members Council meeting May 17–19, and a final report is scheduled to be submitted to the OCLC Board of Trustees following the May meeting…”

QuestionPoint “Virtual Reference” Service…04.15.09

15 04 2009


Though not new, I wanted to investigae further “virtual reference” services. OCLC’s “virtual reference” service, QuestionPoint, is described as follows:

QuestionPoint is a unique virtual reference service, supported by global network of cooperating libraries worldwide, as well as an infrastructure of software tools and communications. QuestionPoint is also a source of unique centralized knowledge resources built by a collaborative network of member libraries.

QuestionPoint reference management service provides libraries with tools to interact with users in multiple ways, using both chat and email. The Web-based chat tool with co-browsing capability, coupled with the email reference component, enable seamless integration of chat, follow up and referral, as well as one-stop reporting tools for all types of reference services. In addition, libraries may opt to participate in the 24/7 Reference Cooperative to provide live around-the-clock reference service to their community…”

You can see a Flash demo here.

LibraryThing Responds to OCLC’s Questioning of Motives…02.02.09

2 02 2009

Here is an excerpt of LibraryThing‘s response [Thingology (LibraryThing's ideas blog): The evil 3.26%] to OCLC claim of self-interest in attacking their proposed monopolistic policy change which I found to be a rather enlightening and insightful perspective:

“The question has arisen of why I advocate against OCLC’s attempt to monopolize library data. Roy Tennant of OCLC, an intelligent, likeable man whom, although we disagree on some issues, has done more for libraries than most, accused me of writing and talking about the issue because:

‘… your entire business model is built on the fact that you can use catalog records for free that others created and not contribute anything back unless they pay (yes, there is a limited set of data available via an API, but then they need the chops to do something with it).’

Fair enough. Let’s look at the numbers, and the argument.

I did a comprehensive analysis, available here as a text file, with both output and PHP code. If anyone doubts it, send me an email and I’ll let run the SQL queries yourself…

Stop killing the messenger. It’s time for OCLC to recognize they made this mess, not others. They have perpetrated some astouding missteps—from attempting to sneak through a major rewrite of the core member policy in a few days without consultation, to a comic series of rewrites and policy reversals, culminating in withdrawing the policy entirely for discussion. (It now seems clear they did so on the heels of a member revolt, whether general or just of some key libraries.)

It’s also important to see that, before OCLC started threatening companies and non-profits doing interesting but non-competing things with book data—notably LibLimeOpen Library and LibraryThing—they had none of the problems they have now. Now, by attempting to control all book data, they’ve spurred the creation of LibLime’s ‡Biblios system, a free, free-data alternative to OCLC and, well, sent me, Aaron Swartz of Open Library and dozens of prominent library bloggers into orbit

Being caught so flat-footed can’t feel nice. It must be hard feeling like royalty and discovering your subjects think themselves a confederacy. But this is no time for OCLC to start attacking the credibility of its opponents. Surely LibraryThing is an unusual case—a company that has an opinionated, crusading—okay, loud—president. But the thousands of librarians and other individuals who supported our calls, or raised other objections to the OCLC policy are not less well-motivated than OCLC and its employees. They do not love libraries less. They are, rather, concerned that OCLC’s urge to control library metadata threatens longstanding library traditions of sharing, and sets libraries on a path of narrowness and restriction that will surely prove no benefit in this increasingly open, connected world.”

HathiTrust Partners with OCLC…01.28.09

28 01 2009

OCLC press release today announced:

“HathiTrust, a group of some of the largest research libraries in the United States collaborating to create a repository of their vast digital collections, and OCLC will work together to increase visibility of and access to items in the HathiTrust’s shared digital repository.

Launched jointly by the 12-university consortium known as the Committee on Institutional Cooperation and the 11 university libraries of the University of California system, HathiTrust leverages the time-honored commitment to preservation and access to information that university libraries have valued for centuries. The group’s digital collections, including millions of books, will be archived and preserved in a single repository hosted by HathiTrust. Materials in the public domain and those where rightsholders have given permission will be available for reading online.

OCLC and HathiTrust will work together to increase online visibility and accessibility of the digital collections by creating WorldCat records describing the content and linking to the collections via and WorldCat Local. The organizations will launch a project in the coming months to develop specifications and determine next steps...”

© 2008 OCLC

OCLC Yet Again Unsuccessfully Tries to Defend Controversial Major Policy Shift…01.28.09

28 01 2009

Library Journal reported from the ALA mid-winter conference on OCLC’s defensive spiel to explain their temporarily suspended new policy which has caused a big stink in the library community in OCLC Defends Records PolicyFaces QuestionsSuggestions, and  excerpted here:

“…On one level OCLC’s recently revised—and suspended—policy regarding record-sharing, aiming to ‘modernize record use and transfer practices for application on the Web, foster new uses of WorldCat data that benefit members and clarify data sharing rights and restrictions,’ was simply a matter of bad communication, a cooperative behaving in top-down rather than consultative fashion.

That, OCLC VP Karen Calhoun could easily acknowledge. However, in much of her presentation Monday at the American Library Association (ALA) Midwinter Meeting in Denver, she firmly defended the intent of the policy, suggesting that critics in the blogosphere had an unrealistic view of the library ecosystem. In response, some panelists suggested that OCLC itself was failing to modernize.

She apologized, on behalf of the study group and OCLC, for not taking the ‘value of participatory decision-making nearly seriously enough’ and said the review process will address not just the policy and process behind it but also what community norms should be in place.

A revision is expected by the third quarter of 2009. Calhoun acknowledged that ‘OCLC is caught, along with many other organizations, in this painful transition,’ one in which new business models emerge and potential competitors like the upstart ‡ provide similar services…”

©2009 Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved

My perception on the subject is reflected in this T-shirt–a long-term, greedy power grab from the dark side undermining years of cooperative data-sharing:


OCLC Policy Change Controversy Appears in International Media…01.22.09

22 01 2009


(LibraryThing Tee)

Although I don’t have direct dealings with OCLC, I found this excerpt from an interesting post today [The Guardian asks "Why you can't find a library book in your search engine?"] on LibraryThing [] interesting about a an article in the Guardian from the UK about the OCLC policy changes:

The OCLC data-grab has hit the ‘real’ media…The article asks the simple question, ‘Why you can’t find a library book in your search engine?’  

It’s an obvious question. The answer isn’t quite as simple as they put it. Libraries would be in Google if their library catalogs could be spidered. But they’d still be hampered by OCLC in various ways. Anyway the coverage of OCLC, Open Library, and LibraryThing are spot-on…” 

OCLC Says It Will Listen Regarding Policy Changes…01.14.09

14 01 2009

LISNews reports “OCLC to convene Review Board of Shared Data” []:

Good News! OCLC Board of Trustees and Members Council to convene Review Board of Shared Data Creation and Stewardship…

OCLC Members Council and the OCLC Board of Trustees will jointly convene a Review Board of Shared Data Creation and Stewardship to represent the membership and inform OCLC on the principles and best practices for sharing library data. The group will discuss the Policy for Use and Transfer of WorldCat Records with the OCLC membership and library community.

The purpose of this Review Board is to engage the membership and solicit feedback and questions before the new policy is implemented. In order to allow sufficient time for feedback and discussion, implementation of the Policy will be delayed until the third quarter of the 2009 calendar year.”

“Time to Put Up or Shut Up” About OCLC Policy Change…01.11.09

11 01 2009

The following excerpt from Thingology (LibraryThing’s ideas blog) entitled “Why libraries must reject the OCLC Policy (part 1)” [] seems to be a pretty good assessment of the OCLC policy change debate that has been ongoing.  I would recommend reading the complete post along with the forthcoming “part 2).

“…1. The Policy fundamentally changes the character of OCLC, a “member” institution, with no formal member approval and with little member input…
2. The Policy is a legal document. No other statements matter….

3. The Policy is illegitimately retroactive…
4. The Policy is perpetual and will create a perpetual monopoly….

5. OCLC can change the Policy at any time, in any way….

6. If you violate the policy your library automatically loses the right to any “OCLC-derived” records you have….

7. OCLC has sole discretion to declare a library in violation and strip it of its records…

Call to action

Librarians and interested parties have only a month before the OCLC Policy goes into effect. It is time to put up or shut up.

OCLC New Logo Design From Libraryland…12.31.08

31 12 2008

Here is yet another newly designed logo for OCLC from Libraryland displeased with the new policies over there found at LibraryThing’s blog :

OCLC and Google Policy Discussion Continues…11.19.08

19 11 2008

As the discussion about CHANGE in policies at 2 major library institutions garners rants, raves, and speculation, here [] is commentary worth reviewing from “The Library 2.0 Gang”:

“This month’s Library 2.0 Gang conversation is stimulated by recent announcements from two significant organisations in their spheres of influence.

Gang regulars Tim Spalding and Marshall Breeding chew the fat on OCLC’s policy change announcement(s) which has set the library blogosphere alight over the last couple of weeks and was the subject of a Talking with Talis podcast with OCLC’s Karen Calhoun & Roy Tennant..   What are the motivations behind it – is OCLC a good thing – what could the ramifications for the wider community – does the wider library community care enough about it?

Google Book Search and their provisional settlement with the Authors Guild and Association of American Publishers (AAP) around copyright issues.  One of the spin offs from the settlement being the setting up of Book Rights Registry, managed by authors and publishers, that will work to locate and represent copyright holders Book Rights Registry, managed by authors and publishers, that will work to locate and represent copyright holders.  Is this the beginnings of a change in the publishing industry to take on some of the attributes of the music industry?

As always another lively and entertaining conversation.”

Into the Belly of the Beast–OCLC Issues Revision of New Policy…11.05.08

5 11 2008

You can review the complete and “final” version of the much-discussed new “Policy for Use and Transfer of WorldCat Record” at OCLC here:

© 2008 OCLC

OCLC New Sharing Policy Revealed…11.03.08

3 11 2008

OCLC has officially set out its new and much blogged about policy today as follows:

“The Guidelines for the Use and Transfer of OCLC-Derived Records have been updated to become the Policy for Use and Transfer of WorldCat Records. The policy is scheduled to become effective mid-February 2009, to give OCLC member libraries and other organizations time to implement any changes resulting from the update. Until that time, the Guidelines will remain in effect.

OCLC® encourages and supports the widespread, non-commercial use of WorldCat records for scholarship and research to advance innovation that benefits libraries, museums, archives and their users. The “Policy for Use and Transfer of WorldCat® Records” is intended to foster such use while protecting the investment OCLC members have made in WorldCat, and ensuring that use of WorldCat records provides benefit to the membership.


  1. To use, reproduce, incorporate into works and display WorldCat records.
  2. To transfer WorldCat records of your library’s own holdings.


  1. Noncommercial Use. Use of WorldCat records for commercial purposes requires a separate agreement with OCLC.
  2. Noncommercial Transfer. WorldCat records may not be sold, sublicensed, or otherwise transferred for a fee, other economic gain or commercial purposes.
  3. Attribution. WorldCat and OCLC Online Computer Library Center, Inc. must be clearly identified as the source of WorldCat records.
  4. Reasonable Use. Use must not discourage the contribution of bibliographic and holdings data to WorldCat or substantially replicate the function, purpose, and/or size of WorldCat.
  5. Modification. The OCLC number, the link to the policy, and any other means of attribution may not be removed from WorldCat records.
  6. Conveyance. The policy terms and conditions remain in effect following the transfer of WorldCat records.

This brief summary of the Policy for Use and Transfer of WorldCat® Records is for informational purposes only…”

© 2008 OCLC

New “Classify” Service from OCLC to Find Class Numbers in WorldCat…07.10.08

10 07 2008

Yesterday on Lorcan Dempsy’s blog was a very interesting post [] about a new and potentially very helpful service from OCLC called “Classify” [] which he says “…is a prototype service which provides a snapshot of what class numbers (DDC, LCC, NLM) have been assigned to works in WorldCat…”  It is worth investigating further.  Access, however, to Classify will likely be for OCLC members.  You can test it out here:


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