Clarification regarding WorldCat membership

19 april, 2012 Martin

There are a couple of problematic areas which ultimately lead to the decision to end negotiations.

First, the asymmetrical nature of the relationship regarding transfer and re-use of records. OCLC is given very broad rights to records uploaded to WorldCat, including commercial re-use. Downloaded records on the other hand keep their status as “WorldCat records”, regardless of where they were originally created, and as such the guidelines of the WorldCat Rights and Responsibilities (WCRR) apply. This leaves us and the participating LIBRIS libraries in a situation where we do not have full control over the description of our collections. Under the WCRR we are discouraged from exposing and exporting data in whatever way we choose, which we see as an essential right.

Secondly, the WCRR states that every member library should “work to ensure the long-term viability of WorldCat” and “not engage in [...] activities that diminish the value of WorldCat [...]“. While we definitely see value in WorldCat as a service, we simply cannot, as a National Library, bind ourselves to support a single corporate entity. We need to support competition as well as cooperation, and to do so we must treat all discovery services equally and/or support the creation of any number of large scale discovery services.

Thirdly, the National Library of Sweden see a strategic importance in complete openness for bibliographic data, namely that of competition when it comes to services built upon it. We have chosen CC0 for the National Bibliography and authority file. We chose it because we see a problem with attribution licenses such as ODB-BY and CC-BY when it comes to re-use of data over time, for example so called "attribution stacking".

To this end we urge OCLC to allow members to treat downloaded records as their own, including releasing them under any open license such as CC0. We feel that this would strengthen rather than diminish OCLCs strong status as a service provider to the library community.

Filed under: Metadata,Open data,Strategi

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