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ICOLC Urges OCLC to Formulate New Records Use Policy
The International Coalition of Library Consortia (ICOLC) has issued a statement recommending that the proposed OCLC Policy for Use and Transfer of WorldCat Records be withdrawn and a new record use policy be developed (www.library.yale.edu/consortia/statement-oclcrecorduse.htm). Since the policy's release on Nov. 4, 2008, both the content of the policy and the process by which it was formulated have been challenged. As a result, OCLC has delayed implementation and has initiated a review board that will present its findings and recommendations (www.oclc.org/worldcat/catalog/policy/board/default.htm).
The member consortia endorsing the ICOLC statement specifically adds support to the Jan. 30, 2009, final report to the ARL board by the Ad Hoc Task Force to Review the Proposed OCLC Policy for Use and Transfer of WorldCat Records (www.arl.org/news/pr/oclc-policy-20feb09.shtml). The statement urges the OCLC review board "to consider the issues raised in the ARL report and by others in the community. The concerns are substantial and broad and individual ICOLC member consortia will find different concerns most compelling. Underpinning these concerns are several broad issues that we ask the Review Board to consider."
The issues identified include the following:
- The proposed policy appears to freeze OCLC's role in the library community based on historical and current relationships. We share the concern, voiced by many, that the policy hinders rather than encourages innovation.
- The scope of the proposed policy goes well beyond any concerns about inappropriate commercial exploitation of WorldCat records. It applies as well to non-commercial uses. ICOLC member consortia are member-created, member-driven innovation agents. Our initiatives are generally non-commercial and undertaken with member approval based on member needs. Any OCLC record use policy should account for the rich and diverse innovation that takes place through many consortia.
- The proposed policy is legally murky. There is no mechanism for negotiation of terms and conditions nor is it clear what constitutes acceptance by member libraries.
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