Notes from the OCLC Record Use Policy Council discussion

On Saturday morning of ALA Midwinter 2010, Dr. Jennifer Younger moderated a session on the progress of the OCLC Record Use Policy Council. The meeting started with an introduction to the reasons behind the creation of the Record Use Council, the charge of the Council from the board of trustees, and how the framing of the discussion of the policy is guided by the values and history of OCLC the cooperative. There wasn’t much new here for those that have been following the progress of the policy discussion, so I am skipping over it most of it with the exception of a few notable topics. After that, I’m focusing on the lengthy question and answer session that followed Dr. Younger’s background presentation.

OCLC Introduces an API for Anyone to Access Book Data

OCLC announced on Monday the availability of a new API for querying the WorldCat database: the WorldCat Basic API. This is a big deal — it opens up part of the metadata in WorldCat to anyone who wants it (for non-commercial purposes). Previously, access to WorldCat data through the developer network was limited to institutions that are members of OCLC. Data returned includes text strings for author names and book titles, ISBN and OCLC identifiers, a link to the HTML display of the record on WorldCat.org, and an optional HTML-formatted citation.

OCLC Formally Withdraws Proposed Record Use Policy

OCLC has published the final report from the OCLC Review Board on Principles of Shared Data Creation and Stewardship and announced the formal withdrawal of the proposed Policy on Use and Transfer of WorldCat Records. In doing so, OCLC has reaffirmed the existence and applicability of the “Guidelines for the Use and Transfer of OCLC-Derived Records” (the 1987 guidelines) and announced its intention to assemble a new group to draft a policy with “with more input and participation from the OCLC membership.”

OCLC Review Board Recommends the Withdraw of Proposed Policy; Advocates for an Open Process

Earlier today, OCLC posted the recording [Flash] and presentation slides [PDF] from Jennifer Younger’s presentation to the Members Council updating them on the progress of the Review Board of Shared Data Creation and Stewardship. Although the work of the Review Board is not yet complete, they are recommending the “policy should be withdrawn.” They also acknowledge a ‘gap problem’ in understanding the role of OCLC and the social underpinnings of the cooperative. Oddly (my interpretation) this seems to be couched in a generation gap between those around when OCLC was founded and those that have come after: “But as new generations of members come into our ranks, it becomes more difficult to explain the social contract that is OCLC.” I detect a hint of us-versus-them thinking, but I hesitate to mention it and almost didn’t include it here because it is based on such a flimsy foundation. Jennifer’s report also lists some initial questions to consider in a process of forming a new policy. She acknowledges that this is work that the members of the review board need to tackle before presenting the final report.

At the Intersection of the OCLC Records Use Policy and the WorldCat Local Cloud-based Library Management Service

Last Friday, Andrew Pace (Executive Director of Networked Library Services for OCLC) was interviewed by Richard Wallis of Talis on OCLC’s recent announcement of a cloud-based library management service. As part of that conversation, Richard and Andrew touched on the ongoing debate on the OCLC record use policy. Below is a transcript from that part of the interview (with time markers from the start of the interview).

Richard Wallis (27:00)
What about [libraries’] local data? By providing data up onto the OCLC platform, will that data be restricted in its use — how they can use it — or will it be totally open for them to use it in any way that they want to?

OCLC Record Use Policy Issue Coming to a Head

In roughly a week, the OCLC membership through the Members Council will hear of the preliminary findings from the Review Board of Shared Data Creation and Stewardship. The Review Board was tasked with formulating recommendations in response to the community’s objections to the proposed Record Use policy. The charter for the Review Board says that “delegates will discuss the report at the May Members Council meeting….” In anticipation of this event, I posed this question to reviewboard@oclc.org: is the review board planning on publicly posting a draft report prior to the meeting so the Members Council delegates can bring community feedback to the meeting?

Dr. Jennifer Younger, director of libraries at the University of Notre Dame and chair of the of the review board, replied and gave permission to post her response widely:

OCLC’s WorldCat Local “Quick Start”

Last week, OCLC announced a “strategy to move library management services to Web scale.” With this move, OCLC is rebranding “WorldCat Local” to include functions typically associated with an integrated library system. From the press release:

OCLC plans to release Web-scale delivery and circulation, print and electronic acquisitions, and license management components to WorldCat Local, continuing the integration of library management services to create the Web-scale, cooperative library service. OCLC will begin piloting the Web-scale management service components this year.

Survey Responses Sought from the OCLC Review Board on Shared Data Creation and Stewardship

The OCLC Review Board on Shared Data Creation and Stewardship is conducting a survey to gather opinions on OCLC’s proposed Policy for Use and Transfer of WorldCat Records. The survey is 6 pages long and took me about 20 minutes. After the demographic information, the survey asks about your organization’s practices for acquiring and sharing cataloging data. This is followed by a series of questions stating your preference for the existing and the proposed policies, how those policies affect your organization’s plans, and opinions about the roles of OCLC and WorldCat in sharing bibliographic records. You are then offered a chance to provide your contact information to the external research organization gathering the data. (The survey states that this information will not be provided to the OCLC review board.)

Is OCLC’s Change of WorldCat Record Use/Transfer Policy Related to the Google Book Search Agreement?

Update

On the Code4Lib IRC channel Thursday afternoon, Roy Tennant, Senior Program Officer at OCLC Programs and Research, said that there is absolutely no connection between the policy change and the Google Book Search settlement.

The Original Post

OCLC WorldCat Hackathon — New York City — November 7-8

This is interesting news — Don Hamparian, Manager WorldCat Grid Portfolio at OCLC, formally announced the WorldCat Hackathon to the WorldCat Developer Network Discussion List tonight.

Join fellow coders, hackers and tech-enthusiasts for a two-day WorldCat Hackathon at the New York Public Library. Sponsored by the OCLC Developer’s Network and NYPL Labs of The New York Public Library, the WorldCat Hackathon gives participants the opportunity for two full days of brainstorming and coding mash-ups and other Web services to take advantage of all that WorldCat, the world’s largest bibliographic database, has to offer.