Seven years of negotiations finished – KB /LIBRIS-libraries join WorldCat – Important success for the principle of Creative Commons

After seven years of negotiation, the National Library of Sweden (KB) has today signed an agreement to join WorldCat, one of the world’s largest library catalogs, operated by OCLC. During the entire negotiation period KB maintained that data in LIBRIS should be freely available under the Creative Commons open license (CC0) and in February 2014 OCLC and KB finally signed an agreement regarding open licensing.

The important agreement on open licensing will enable KB and the affiliated LIBRIS libraries to become members of WorldCat.

The Swedish membership means that Swedish research and Swedish publishing become more visible in the international context. For Swedish LIBRIS-libraries the agreement also means that they can now more easily download catalog records for material they purchase, particularly for non-Swedish material.

–  I am very pleased that we have reached this far with our work, says Gunilla Herdenberg, National librarian, and that we will continue to make content available as open data for all to use. It will be exciting to see what can and will be done with the information.

The Swedish union catalog LIBRIS is based on voluntary participation and cooperation between libraries. KB started negotiations with OCLC in 2006 and today’s agreement is a milestone in the Library’s work on transparency. KB has previously signed similar agreements with Library of Congress and three European national libraries, the British Library, the National Library and the Deutsche Bibliothek.

Background information:

Transparency is a key principle of KB and the question of how the records retrieved from WorldCat can be used has therefore become pivotal in the negotiations. In February, the National Library and OCLC finally agreed on the important issue and an agreement was signed. In the agreement, OCLC give KB permission to make available records downloaded from WorldCat, corresponding to holdings held by LIBRIS-libraries, with a CCO license (CC0). Catalog entries are completely free for anyone to use.

When the question of how records in LIBRIS, originating from WorldCat, would be available was agreed upon, negotiations for membership in WorldCat for KB and LIBRIS-libraries could continue. LIBRIS-libraries and KB meet the requirements for OCLC membership and:

The agreement takes effect September 1, 2014. Until then technical preparations will be made, the LIBRIS database will be loaded into WorldCat and update routines will be developed.

For more information, contact Maria Kadesjö (


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