Monday, November 17, 2008

Also, OCLC is really dumb

I admittedly do not have much of a horse in this race, because as an archivist any cataloging I do is by definition unique, but this is still a dumb change:

I took a sometime this morning to read through the proposed changes as well as the FAQs, and essentially OCLC is looking for a way to tell libraries that they don’t own the data that’s in their own catalogs. In essence — this is what this policy comes down to. The policy wraps some very nice changes for non-members into the statement in order to hide some really sucky changes that I don’t believe that they have the ability to ask for or enforce. And OCLC has some real balls here, because starting in Feb., records downloaded from OCLC will potentially include a license statement. Per the FAQ:

  • Prospectively. As of the effective date of the Policy, every record downloaded from WorldCat will automatically contain field 996 populated with the following:
    MARC:
    996 $aOCLCWCRUP $iUse and transfer of this record is governed by
    the OCLC® Policy for Use and Transfer of WorldCat® Records.
    $uhttp://purl.org/oclc/wcrup

    There is no need to add the 996 field to records by hand. OCLC systems will do this for you.

  • Retrospectively. For records that already exist in your local system, we encourage you to use the 996 field, which should have an explicit note like the examples below:
    MARC:
    996 $aOCLCWCRUP $iUse and transfer of this record is governed by
    the OCLC® Policy for Use and Transfer of WorldCat® Records.
    $uhttp://purl.org/oclc/wcrup
  • Hott. So, we pay you to give you copies of the records we catalog, and in return you tell us that those records, 95% of each of which is composed of factual information, now belong to you, the distributor, rather than the original cataloger. Oh, and by the way, "Use must not discourage the contribution of bibliographic and holdings data to WorldCat or substantially replicate the function, purpose, and/or size of WorldCat." Smoooth.

    So, it appears that OCLC is positioning itself as the RIAA of the Library world in terms of its attitude towards intellectual property. Hey, how's that working out for the RIAA? I'm just askin'.

    That said, I think I agree with the Annoyed Librarian that, at least for the short term, OCLC is going to win this fight, because any organization that can get libraries to pay for their service TWICE is pretty obviously much smarter than its clients, and because librarians as a group are not so good at effective advocacy on this kind of stuff. Still, from a PR perspective and from a perspective of using vs. fighting against Web 2.0, I suspect this will come back to bite OCLC in the ass down the road.

    2 comments:

    Mike said...
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Mike said...

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