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 ‡biblios.net 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:




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