May 6, 2010

OCLC and Cassidy Cataloging Services, Inc.- Re: OCLC WorldCat Local

By Joni L. Cassidy
Cassidy Cataloging Services, Inc,

On March 17, 2010, my post about and OCLC included the following statement:

“OCLC and Cassidy Cataloguing Services, Inc. may finally reach a compromise. OCLC may grant permission to allow a WorldCat Local institution that has purchased Cassidy MARC record sets to view the records as part of its WorldCat Local subscription.”

Cassidy Cataloguing is very happy to report that we have signed an agreement with OCLC that enables us to display our records in WorldCat Local for Cassidy subscribers using that service as their OPAC. The records will only display to users of that institution’s WorldCat Local OPAC and will not be available to other libraries, or other commercial members, for copy cataloguing or to attach holding codes.

Cassidy Cataloguing will continue to upload P-CIP (cataloging-in-publication) MARC records into WorldCat on a monthly basis. Cassidy Cataloguing has also been offered the right to edit their records uploaded to WorldCat without having to relinquish the rights to them.

If you need additional information, please contact us at

March 17, 2010


Posted by : Joni L. Cassidy, Cassidy Cataloguing Services, Inc. 3/17/10


OCLC WorldCat – the union database of bibliographic and authority records contributed by member libraries, the Library of Congress, the National Library of Medicine, the National Agriculture Library, the U.S. Government Printing Office and several other national libraries from around the globe. Records are accessible to all OCLC members. – the version of OCLC WorldCat that is mounted on the Internet and searchable for free.

WorldCat Local – OCLC’s service to replace the online public access catalog (OPAC). It is a direct competitor to the OPAC module of all the high-end integrated library systems, such as Innovative Interfaces’ Millenium, SIRSIDynix Symphony, and Ex Libris’ Aleph and Voyager.



On December 12, 2007, Steven Essig posted to the Criminal Law Library Blog about Cassidy Cataloguing’s MARC21 record sets. He noted:

“UCLA has contracted to receive Lexis and Westlaw [MARC record sets] but hasn't taken possession of them because to move them to their new union catalog requires that all UC holdings be a part of OCLC. At this time, Cassidy [Cataloguing Services] has asked subscribers not to upload the Westlaw or Lexis MARC records to OCLC.”

The reason why was simple: Cassidy’s contractual agreement with its subscribers had to prohibit uploading of records to OCLC because of the transfer of intellectual property rights to OCLC as records enter WorldCat. To illustrate how it works, here is an excerpt from an OCLC agreement for the delivery of MARC records to WorldCat:

OCLC Agreement for the Delivery of Bibliographic Records, Section 2.3 –
“Vendor hereby grants to OCLC, OCLC participants and non-participant users, and OCLC designees, a perpetual, irrevocable, non-exclusive, royalty-free, transferable right to copy, display, publish, prepare derivative works from, distribute and use (including, without limitation, use in forming new compilations of information and loading into WorldCat) Total Records, and any other bibliographic records, holdings and other information supplied to OCLC, during the term of this Agreement with Vendor..."

More than two years later, OCLC and Cassidy Cataloguing Services, Inc. may finally reach a compromise. OCLC may grant permission to allow a WorldCat Local institution that has purchased Cassidy MARC record sets to view the records as part of its WorldCat Local subscription. Another catalog record provider negotiated a deal whereby no other libraries are permitted to view the records, use them for cataloging, or attach holdings to them. Cassidy Cataloguing is trying to negotiate that deal. But, OCLC’s right to load and display these records in WorldCat is still a sticking point.


When OCLC issued the proposed “Policy on the Use and Transfer of WorldCat
Records” on November 4, 2008, they unleashed a perfect storm in their newly dubbed “Information ecosystem.”

In hopes of calming the storm, NYLINK (New York State regional OCLC service center) hosted “Policy for use and transfer of WorldCat records – A moderated discussion” at New York Public Library’s research branch on January 16, 2009. Karen Calhoun, VP for OCLC, was the featured speaker. Her prepared presentation and handouts emphasized that the focus of the new “Policy…” was to expand the rights and flexibility of non-commercial OCLC members while, at the same time, making every effort to curtail any commercial use of WorldCat records.

During Q&A, Ms. Calhoun explained that OCLC was victimized by a commercial cataloging company “somewhere in the world” that downloaded a large portion of the WorldCat database and then used it to support their business. She cited that incident as the reason for OCLC’s aggressive position against commercial use in the new “Policy…” Additional questions regarding legal action against the rogue company, instead of the writing of the new “Policy…,” did not lead to any satisfactory conclusion for the audience.

The final issue to be addressed at NYLINK’s moderated discussion was the creation by OCLC of It is the free, searchable version of the WorldCat database mounted on the Internet. As the spokesperson for OCLC, Ms. Calhoun insisted that overwhelming support from member libraries drove the decision to create this free-to-the-whole-world version of member records. But, several special collection librarians spoke out against having their collections revealed to the public without their explicit permission (i.e. no contract, no release form, no signature on any agreement releasing protected information).

All this negative feedback – the perfect storm in the “Information Ecosystem” – led to the creation of an OCLC Record Use Policy Council. Their recommendations included abandoning the “Policy for use and transfer of WorldCat records” and returning to the 1987 “Guidelines for the use and transfer of OCLC-derived records” while a new policy is being drafted.


How did we get here? Without much fanfare, OCLC strategically absorbed all the other bibliographic utilities in the western world. For the last several years, an institution wanting to be part of a bibliographic utility could join OCLC, or not.

That changed in October 2009, when a new company called SkyRiver launched a bibliographic utility to compete with OCLC. It is accessible at and is the creation of Jerry Kline, the owner and co-founder of Innovative Interfaces, also known as “Innovative” for short.

SkyRiver aims to:
1. Save institutions up to 40% off their costs for bibliographic utility services.
2. Maintain a database built entirely of high-quality MARC records, similar to RLIN.
3. Maintain a database free of duplicate records.
4. Be a focused resource for cataloging, not a “bibliographic superstore.”

SkyRiver is currently populated with bibliographic records from the Library of Congress and the British Library, and it does not intend to lay claim to any of the MARC records added to its database. Institutions contributing records will be free to use them any way they want. [FULL ARTICLE]

In theory, a library that joins SkyRiver for cataloging could continue to be an OCLC member for other services such as interlibrary loan (ILL). The first institution to test this arrangement was Michigan State University (MSU). As a new cataloging member of SkyRiver, MSU expected to drop their cataloging membership with OCLC but pay a fee to upload their holdings periodically for the purpose of ILL. A fee of $0.23 per record appears in OCLC’s current price list. Based on that, MSU expected their annual cost to be in the neighborhood of $6,000.00. Instead, a post on Karen Coyle’s InFormation blog reports that OCLC offered MSU a price of $2.85 per record, or $74,000.00 for an expected 26,000 record upload.

The following article includes the full explanation from OCLC of the charges invoiced to MSU.

MSU was not the only institution misled by the $0.23 per record quote. On her blog Karen Coyle quotes from a letter written by Roman Kochan, Dean and Director of Library Services at the California State University, Long Beach. Plans to accommodate their budget cuts included a switch from OCLC to Skyriver for cataloging, based on the $0.23 per record charge for batch upload posted on the OCLC website.

In the Library Journal article, “OCLC and Michigan State at impasse over SkyRiver cataloging, resource sharing costs,” 2/26/10, SkyRiver President Leslie Straus said, “We certainly expected some sort of nominal and reasonable fee. If we can’t assure potential customers there’s a nominal and published price, it’s problematic.”


Imagine for a moment the opportunity to contribute your institution’s bibliographic records to a spanking clean utility committed to high quality and little to no duplication. SkyRiver could offer that to the law library community, and the chance to be the foundation for a NEW interlibrary loan network based on our own subject specialty: Law. This approach would completely eliminate the need to upload holdings back into OCLC, thereby sidestepping their fee. Coincidentally, Innovative Interfaces already has an ILL service, Link+.
Just imagine the opportunity…

Any views or opinions presented in this posting are solely those of the author, except where specifically attributed to another source.


September 14, 2009

AACR Move Over! Here Comes RDA!

Here is the companion article to "In Appreciation of Library Catalogers and Cataloging Standards" posted by me 7/23/09. At the end of that article I wrote that I had asked Joni Cassidy to consider writing an article for this blog that woud explore RDA in greater depth. Joni agreed, I am proud to present to you the article below prepared by Joni and two senior members of her staff at Cassidy Cataloging Services.

David Badertscher

AACR Move Over! Here Comes RDA!

By Joni L. Cassidy, Paula J. Perry, Donna Rosinski Kauz,
Cassidy Cataloguing Services, Inc.

First, our heartfelt thanks to David for defending the utility of catalogs and the work of catalogers. It is good to hear from an Administrator who understands and appreciates the value of controlled vocabularies and targeted access points, and doesn’t believe the myth that "keyword searching on the Internet" will solve all information needs.

Executive Summary –

RDA stands for “Resource Description and Access.”
It will replace the AACR2, “Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules, 2nd ed.”, as The Cataloger’s Bible.
The draft version is available for review now, but adoption dates are uncertain.

The emphasis of this new cataloguing code is to help users find the information they seek, to somewhat simplify the descriptive cataloguing process, and to support the conceptual model known as FRBR, “Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Data.”

Unlike AACR2 which focuses first on the format of the item-in-hand to be cataloged, FRBR focuses first on the elements describing the work and its creator, followed by the format, then the description, and, finally, the item details such as copy number or barcodes. For the cataloger, it will be somewhat of a reversal of the intellectual process of creating a catalog record.

Perhaps the most important question is: “Will law libraries continue to require the services of Technical Services Librarians?” The answer is a resounding “Yes!” Whether we are called “Catalogers” or “Metadata Specialists” or “Technical Services Professionals”, our skill-set will be essential to the successful information-gathering of the end-user. Plans are well underway to re-educate the practitioners.

If you work in the Technical Services sector, you’ve probably been reading about the RDA, or Resource Description and Access, for quite some time. But, if you work in Administration or Public Services, you may be reading about it here for the first time. So, we will begin at the beginning: the RDA is, in essence, the AACR3 or Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules, 3rd edition. It is meant to be the "cataloguing standard for the 21st century". It is a new code that is written to put a stronger emphasis on helping users "find, identify, select and obtain" the information they are looking for, chiefly through the use of clustering of bibliographic records.

Clustering is based on a new conceptual model developed by the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) nicknamed FRBR. That stands for "Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Data" and it is pronounced FER-BER. A FRBR record shows the relationship between a work and its creator, as well as relationships with any translations, interpretations, adaptations, or physical formats of that same work. The four sections of the FRBR record are referred to as: "work", "expression", "manifestation" and "item".

For example, in a FRBR-ized catalog, a search for Inherit the Wind, for example, might yield several clusters: book editions, film, stage plays, etc. and each cluster might have sub-clusters: book translations, or DVD and VHS editions. Although RDA focuses on the information describing a resource, and NOT how to display the information, the two are, of course, intertwined.

RDA emphasizes "taking what you see” on the resource, and making a number of cataloging choices based on the form found in the first resource received (cataloged). Catalogers will have the flexibility to create a devised title for a compilation that lacks a collective title.

RDA lifts the limitations set by AACR2 in many areas. Here is a partial list:
1) Transcribing the entire statement of responsibility, no matter how many persons or bodies it contains.
2) Including “other title” information.
3) The number of added entries for collections of works by different persons or bodies.
4) Added entries for all parties on each side of a Treaty.

There are a number of changes in RDA regarding “Headings for Persons,” or how to cite a person’s name. A few notables: Terms indicating relationship, such as “Jr.”, are treated as part of the name, if there are variant spellings of a person’s name, choose the form found in the first resource received (cataloged), for compound surnames, refer to IFLA’s “Names of persons…”

Abbreviations will be replaced by fully spelled out words and phrases:
v. (loose-leaf) becomes volumes (loose-leaf)
p. becomes pages
ill. becomes illustrations
cent. becomes century
ca. becomes approximately

Latin abbreviations will be abandoned in favor of natural-language phrases:
s.l. becomes place of publication not identified
s.n. becomes publisher not identified

This means that each cataloging community will have to re-create records in their own language since standardization (sometimes in the form of Latin) will no longer apply.

“Some things will never change.” Up until now, that could be said of the standard ISBD punctuation originally designed to identify each data element on a catalog card and carried forward in time by the MARC formats. The RDA proposes to make ISBD punctuation optional, but has included information on presenting RDA-data in an ISBD display in Appendix D.

Moving away from the ISBD standard in electronic records allows libraries to have more flexibility in the record exchange formats that can be accepted by their library software systems. The MARC format could be reconfigured to work without the ISBD punctuation. Other record exchange formats, such as Dublin Core and ONIX, can already accept information that does not include the use of ISBD punctuation. Removing the expectation of a display that looks similar to a catalog card would allow software designers more latitude in the presentation of information.

It's not yet clear how (or how soon) the OPAC and ILS vendors will begin incorporating RDA and FRBR elements into their software and displays. Furthermore, it's also not clear how soon the Library of Congress and OCLC will adopt the new standards. We do know that 26 testing partners have been selected to participate formally in the Library of Congress’ planned test of the content and functionality of RDA. The final report from this group is expected 9-12 months from now.

We’ve begun to see baby-steps of forward motion. There is a new Specific Material Designation of “online resource” to be used in the MARC 300 field. This is already in use in the recently approved “Provider-Neutral Record Guidelines.”

The development and use of RDA and FRBR hold promise for a more facile information discovery process, but system developers and software designers will need to implement the new standards and will need to design products that take full advantage of the information that will be available in records following the RDA standard and FRBR concepts.

There have been discussions on Autocat, the worldwide cataloger’s listserv, recently about results being retrieved using, OCLC’s free Internet version of its own bibliographical database, that show holdings for titles that libraries do not actually possess, and the problem seems to be related to a FRBR grouping of different editions and different carriers of information. The libraries might hold the item as a microform, but they are listed as holding the item as a book. Understandably, this leads to problems with ILL requests, among other issues.

From: An Academic Librarian
Sent: Monday, August 31, 2009 9:55 AM
To: OCLC-CAT@OCLC.ORG [The OCLC Cataloger’s Listserv]
Subject: Discrepancies between actual holdings and displays

I’m just curious because this problem has come up twice within the last week. The first situation was someone finding a book in that said we had a copy, but there was nothing in our ILS. When I went into OCLC Connexion Client and searched by the OCLC number, there were no holdings attached to the record. I couldn’t find any other record for the book to which holdings were attached, either.

The second situation is similar, but the holdings were showing in the OCLC Resource Sharing product. I again searched through OCLC Connexion Client and didn’t find any instance of us having holdings attached. I also double checked this title in to see if there was a link between the two situations, but couldn’t find any records with our holdings attached.

From: A Rare Book Librarian
Sent: Monday, August 31, 2009 1:18 PM
Subject: Re: Discrepancies between actual holdings and displays

What you are experiencing is the “FRBRized” display in “OCLC WorldCat” which groups all editions and formats under one record as “holdings”. To “deFRBRize” you need to click on the very tiny link “Show libraries holding *just this edition*”. As a rare book library we find this feature incredibly frustrating and misleading. One of the rare book curators and I spent two hours trying to track down a rare Italian translation of a classical work that he thought we were matched to, though we had no copy in our OPAC. Turns out that our *microform* copy of the original LATIN text from a different year was what was showing up on the “OCLC WorldCat” display.

From: The Same Academic Librarian
Sent: Monday, August 31, 2009 2:48 PM
Subject: Re: Discrepancies between actual holdings and displays

Thank you to everyone who responded. It appears that the FRBR “feature” in Worldcat is the culprit, and I’ve informed our instruction librarian. I can’t imagine how challenging a situation this will be for us as more and more students start their research on Google and are directed to (OCLC’s free Internet version). It seems to me like it should work the other way around: users click on a specific manifestation that they want and then have the option to search for all other manifestations. The way it works now is just misleading and frustrating for users who are actually sure exactly which manifestation they want.


Click here to see an example of an FRBR record taken from, which is a Library of Congress site. FRBR will allow library OPAC displays to show the relationships among works and expressions with multiple manifestations, e.g.,

OCLC needs to refine their information-parsing in order to improve the searching results, which demonstrates the need for software developers to work proactively toward utilizing the promise of RDA and FRBR in terms of information retrieval. Libraries that are still using a card catalog will find the new standards not integrating easily with their current model, and may need to continue using AACR2 and ISBD punctuation as it currently exists, which may create a barrier to sharing resources and using cataloging copy records.

Meanwhile, plans are in motion for the national libraries in the United States, Canada, Great Britain and Australia to take the lead in re-tooling catalogers and metadata specialists. Other training initiatives will come from the Program for Cooperative Cataloging Training Committee, the RDA Outreach Group, and the American Library Association’s RDA Implementation Task Force.

Bibliographic references:

Quotations in this article are from the brochure "RDA, Resource Description and Access: the cataloging standard for the 21st century" and the Joint Steering Committee for the Development of RDA website and the Joint Steering Committee FAQ website

February 1, 2008

MARC21 Records for World Trial Library Available for Cassidy Cataloguing

From Cassidy Cataloguing Inc.

"We are pleased to announce that... Cassidy Cataloguing [is offering] MARC21 records for the World Trials Library. The MARC21 records for this collection will be developed and managed wholly by Cassidy Cataloguing, who is offering the records at a one-time subscription price. A subscription will include MARC21 records for up to 1,900 titles comprising Phase I of the World Trials Library. It will also include monthly updates that will coincide with new content released in Phase I of this library in HeinOnline. On average, we have been adding approximately 100 titles per month to the World Trials Collection and will continue to do so until the digitization of the Cornell Law collection is completed. After the digitization of Phase I is complete, we plan to further develop this library by adding additional historically significant trial collections, providing even greater access to trials that have been locked away for hundreds of years!"

If you have any questions about this service, please contact Cassidy Cataloguing at or 973-586-3200