GBS/OCLC

Something retrospectively obvious just occurred to me about the Google Book Search/OCLC partnership. If it means what I think it means, does that mean I don’t need to worry about the GBS API anymore (and it’s restriction to client-side javascript only access, bah!)—-I can just search the worldcat API instead?

I guess it probably doesn’t mean that _every_ book GBS book will be in worldcat though, so not quite. But it might be one option. Wonder how long until most/all full-text-digitized GBS books are in worldcat?

Wonder if there’s any way to limit a worldcat api search to only GBS books, or to only records which represent publically accessible fultext digitizations?

I think it’s kind of sad that Worldcat is apparently going to include GBS digitized books before it includes Internet Archive hosted books (which there are still no public plans for). I blame both parties. I’ve got nothing against GBS books being in Worldcat. I am suspicious of OCLC being more interested in wheeling-and-dealing with getting exclusive access to things from Google in return for access to things I don’t think it’s OCLC’s place to control access to in the first place—instead of prioritizing increasing access to IA’s already public access content which could use better access. I also remain frustrated with IA’s lack of attention to machine accessibility of it’s content and metadata, or interest in meeting the needs of those who would like to provide hooks into it. Although for all I know IA did approach OCLC for a partnership and were rebuffed. I am frustrated with both organizations lack of transparency. Google’s lack of transparency I am not frustrated with, only because it’s what I expect from a for-profit megacorp like Google.

The Internet Archive has in fact been trying to get OCLC to give their members ‘permission’ (that I don’t  believe is OCLC’s to give or withhold in the first place, but anyway) to share all their records with IA.  Which OCLC has markedly with-held.  Now OCLC hasn’t given members blanket ‘permission’ to share any held records with Google I don’t think, just records for titles scanned for GBS. (Unless OCLC is really going to share their entire corpus? THAT would make me angry, not that they’re sharing it, but that they are privileging Google over competitors and alternatives in this sharing). I believe the IA is now generally getting MARC records for digitized books that go into IA from libraries too. So that’s fine. But still.  The IA, unlike Google, doesn’t have anything to offer in return, because most of what the IA has they give permission to anyone to use, unlike Google, they can’t barter permission or access that would otherwise be withheld. So, good for IA. (I’m still frustrated with IA’s lack of attention to meeting the needs of those who want to write software that hooks into their corpus. But at least it’s not lack of permission that’s the barrier).

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One Response to GBS/OCLC

  1. Pingback: OCLC in the Guardian « Bibliographic Wilderness

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