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OCLC Record Use Policy Withdrawn

OCLC has done some serious back peddling and dropped its controversial record use policy.

After review of the recommendations, OCLC has formally withdrawn the proposed policy.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.”

More info available via their recent press release or the Review Board’s final report.

Guardian Article on OCLC, Libraries and the Internet

Good article on the OCLC record sharing controversy in last week’s Guardian. ‘Why you can’t find a library book in your search engine‘ looks at bibliographic metadata in the context of today’s internet, questions OCLC’s business model and wonders about the Open Library.

Richard Wallis from Talis, an OCLC competitor in the UK, says this about OCLC:

‘They’re still stuck in the wrong business model,’ he says. ‘It was expensive, 20 or 30 years ago, to set up a large dataset and communications, editing, storing backup tapes, and so on.’ By now, though, ‘a lot of the things that made it difficult are negligible costs’. Talis, he says, focuses on selling services, not access to data.

Provides a nice overview of the situation and is recommended reading.

Petition for OCLC to Collaboratively Re-write Policy for Use and Transfer of WorldCat Records

There is an online petition circulating asking that OCLC involve member libraries and others in the re-writing of the the Policy for Use and Transfer of WorldCat Records.

For those of you who believe OCLC should not implement the policy/FAQ as written, and who perhaps have difficulty in figuring out (and letting OCLC know) exactly how they should be re-written, this petition provides a vehicle for your consideration and support.

More information on the petition is available here.

OCLC has provided this Summary of the Policy for Use and Transfer of WorldCat® Records.

And you’ll find more information on the controversy over this OCLC policy change, including numerous blog posts, available at this code4lib wiki: OCLC Policy Change.

Gorman on RDA

Michael Gorman writes about RDA the “coming cataloguing debacle”.  No date on the paper but I think it’s fairly recent, possibly October 2007.


“… promises to be the biggest disaster to hit descriptive cataloguing since the draft rules of 1941 …”

“It is hard to believe the world’s libraries have taken metadata seriously.”

“FRBR may have some merit as a way of looking at the theory of cataloguing—it has little as a foundational document for creating a cataloguing code.”

“This is the witches’ brew of ignorance, neophilia, and the exaltation of theory over practice that given birth to the draft Resource description and access (RDA) …”

“This is a sad time for cataloguing and the millions of users of library catalogues …”

Go and read it for yourself.  Only 7 Roman numeralled pages.