Update: OCLC Policy On Record Use

Late in October 2008 rumors were circulating around the lbrary community that OCLC was in the process of updating its Guidelines for the Use and Transfer of OCLC Derived Records These rumors proved true; OCLC published its new policy on Sunday November 2, 2008. The reaction to these changes was sufficiently “swift and harsh” that on November 19, 2008 OCLC removed the original updated version and released a second updated version on November 19. Since that time reaction has continued to be animated, resulting in a continuing series of meetings, proposed changes, commentaries etc.

What is the present status of this discussion? To help answer that question Phyllis Post, who attended the May 2009 OCLC Members Council Meeting where a presentation was made by OCLC, has provided a brief but most helpful update which I received as an e-mail. With the permission of Phyllis I am posting her message below:


I just got in from the May OCLC Members Council meeting. One of the agenda items was a report from Jennifer Younger who chaired the Review Board of Shared Data Creation & Stewardship. The actual written report from this committee is not quite finished. When complete it will be submitted to the OCLC Board of Trustees in June and hopefully made available to the public before ALA. Meanwhile, Ms. Younger’s presentation to Members Council & her presentation slides are now available for viewing here: http://www.oclc.org/us/en/memberscouncil/meetings/2009/default.htm#may

In a nutshell, remember that for now the original 1987 policy remains in effect. The Review Board has concluded that an updated policy is necessary, but not the policy as written late last year. Assuming the Board of Trustees agrees with the Review Board’s conclusions, a task force will be convened to reconsider the policy and write a new one that we can all live with. Informally I conclude that OCLC will seek greater member input and community discussion if/when it creates a new policy.

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