Library Journal report on the OCLC WorldCat policy discussion

There really wasn’t much new reported by Library Journal about the WorlCat Record Use policy discussion at ALA MW but it is still worth a read. I wish I could have stayed around Denver to attend the session. One thing that I found interesting is that Karen Calhoun is reported to have “clarified that the FAQ was indeed part of the policy.” This is an interesting development because the way I and many others read what is up there it does not appear to be, I have asked via a comment on Karen Calhoun’s blog post about the session to confirm that this is so. Karen also posted the slides from her portion of the session, Creating and Sustaining Communities Around Shared Data: The Case of OCLC, on SlideShare. I looked through them briefly and I think they are worth taking a look at if you are interested in this issue (and if you are a librarian, IMHO you should be).

Calhoun is quoted in LJ as saying OCLC regrets that the “value of participatory decision-making nearly seriously enough.” I am happy to see OCLC openly discussing this new policy (which is now set to be put into place 3Q 2009). I think that they now have a review process in place is a big positive. Obviously, I (and I’m guessing in retrospect OCLC) wish this was done from the beginning. However hindsight is 20/20 and it is better late then never. OCLC pushing back the policy implementation in order to take time to take and consider input is a huge positive. I’m sure many of us won’t agree with the whole policy in the end, but I will feel much better about the situation with a more open discussion then was originally taking place.


  1. Karen Calhoun said,

    January 28, 2009 at 15:01:26

    Hi Ed,
    Uh oh, our messages crossed. I responded to your comment on my blog, saying “Hi Edward, I checked with OCLC’s legal department before making the statement [about the FAQs] at the ALCTS Forum. They said that any legal interpretation of the revised policy would include the statements in the FAQ and it would be very difficult for OCLC not to stand by them. In any case, now that the Review Board is in place, we do not know the policy will look like in the end and how it will relate to an FAQ document.” Karen

  2. Tim said,

    January 28, 2009 at 16:01:38

    If the FAQ are part of the Policy, they need to remove the section of the policy that explicitly states that the Policy is the “final, complete and exclusive statement of the parties with respect to the subject matter hereof” (Section E.7).

    I’ll bet you $20 they won’t do that.