January 24, 2022

Blog Post: "OCLC, WorldCat Rights and Responsibilities, and Open Data Licensing"

A new guest blog post on the Open Knowledge Foundation Blog by Jim Michalko, VP in charge of the OCLC Research Library Partnership.

Michalko Writes:

In a recent presentation to OCLC Global Council, OCLC provided some preliminary thoughts on open data licensing of member library catalog data. A number of OCLC members and groups have contacted OCLC staff in recent months asking for OCLC’s views on open data licensing of WorldCat metadata. These tend not to be casual inquiries; many libraries around the world have substantial amounts of metadata derived from WorldCat in their local or group catalogs.

A few libraries, like the University of Michigan, have begun providing MARC21 and/or MARCXML original cataloging records under a Creative Commons CC0 license. OCLC is, of course, paying close attention to these developments. These developments are of particular interest in the context of the recent implementation of a new OCLC record use policy, called WorldCat Rights and Responsibilities for the OCLC Cooperative. The policy covers not only WorldCat itself, but also the metadata stored in library catalogs whose source was the WorldCat bibliographic database.


OCLC has a preference for ODC-BY and major reservations about PDDL and CC0. This is where OCLC’s thinking is at the moment. OCLC intends to formulate a proposed course of action based on real world requests and then seek additional input from OCLC members and the community of stakeholders around open data licensing and Linked Open Data. Because open data licensing is relatively new and there isn’t a long tradition of best practice to rely on, OCLC has engaged Jordan Hatcher, an attorney with considerable expertise in this area, to consult with OCLC on the broad issues as well as particular use cases.

Source: OKFN Blog

Hat Tips and Thanks: @KarenCoyle and @TAC_NISO

Coyle includes a comment about the blog post.

See Also: “OCLC to Release 1 Million Bib Records”

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.