The new policy outlines the rights and responsibilities associated with stewardship of the WorldCat bibliographic and holdings database by and for the OCLC cooperative, including the use and exchange of OCLC member-contributed data comprising WorldCat.
The policy was drafted by the Record Use Policy Council, a group of 12 library leaders charged by the OCLC Board of Trustees to craft a replacement for the Guidelines for Use and Transfer of OCLC Derived Records, which was developed in 1987.
In April 2010, the Record Use Policy Council submitted to the library community and to the OCLC Board a draft policy that began a two-month period of community review and discussion. More than 275 comments were gathered via e-mail, phone, meetings and letters, in an online forum, and by monitoring blogs, listservs, and Twitter. At the end of May, community input was incorporated and a policy statement was submitted to the OCLC Board, which approved the revised document during its June meeting.
"We decided to emphasize a code of good practice for members of the cooperative, based on shared values, trust and reciprocity," said Jennifer Younger, Co-Chair of the Record Use Policy Council, President-Elect, OCLC Global Council and Chair, Board of Directors, Catholic Research Resources Alliance. "The focus of the new policy is on member rights and responsibilities—instead of data ownership issues, detailed provisions or restrictions—with the general aim of fostering innovation in our ever-changing information landscape."
The policy is based on the premise that OCLC members value WorldCat as a comprehensive, timely, and accurate reflection of the consolidated holdings of those members. The policy's intent is to encourage the widespread use of WorldCat bibliographic data while also supporting the ongoing and long-term sustainability and utility of WorldCat and of WorldCat-based services such as resource sharing, cataloging, and discovery.
"The new policy supports library choice in a hybrid environment of metadata types and content standards,” said Barbara Gubbin, Co-Chair of the Record Use Policy Council and Director, Jacksonville (Florida) Public Library. "It recognizes as essential the need for OCLC members to share and reuse their data with many partners, across many systems, sites, and applications."
The Record Use Policy Council was named in September 2009 to develop this new policy by providing a broad and inclusive set of perspectives and experiences, determining the current and future information needs of the library community, and gathering and including feedback from the library community.