The Continuing Adventures of WorldCat: Conditions, not Restrictions
by Devanshu Mehta
I won’t blame you if you haven’t been following the librarian/blogosphere coverage of the new OCLC/WorldCat use policy. Long story short: OCLC, the non-profit that controls the database of books that most libraries use and contribute to just released a new policy that makes reuse a lot more restrictive. There has already been a lot of Orwellian, corporation-like and pre-Internet thinking from the OCLC. Now for some more.
The OCLC released the newest version of the policy, but only as a PDF. Library-bloggers had already run ‘diff’s on previous HTML versions to see how each successive version changed, but now with the differently formatted (and harder to manipulate) PDF, the OCLC must be clicking their telegraphs in joy at how they foiled the new-age blogger librarians. Not so fast.
There’s already a ‘diff’ with the new version– and it gets more Orwellian. Instead of any change in actual policy, the newest version simply replaces every occurrence of the word ‘restriction’ with ‘condition’. Oh, that makes it so much better.
ALSO: the OCLC policy is nothing like Creative Commons, so I would advise them to stop making that comparison. CC does not require approval for reuse.
UPDATE: I can haz Worldcat?!?