Well said, ICOLC

This, from the ICOLC statement on the OCLC record use policy,  is precisely and conscisely right:

The proposed policy appears to freeze OCLC’s role in the library community based on historical and current relationships. We share the concern, voiced by many, that the policy hinders rather than encourages innovation, and we urge the Review Board to carefully examine this issue. It is unclear that the policy has been constructed with a focus on an evolving role of OCLC in enhancing the missions of an international library community with diverse and complex interests….

…The ICOLC community is mindful of the complex set of relationships and operations that are necessary for libraries to be successful in today’s content rich and technology driven world. There is no single way all the resources necessary for success will be utilized by each library or library consortium. OCLC is one vital component among many that libraries will use.

Exactly. Nailed it. Thanks ICOLC.

The signatures on that statement seem to be influential, important, and reasonably powerful (as library institution ‘power’ goes, heh).  I am pleasantly surprised to see ICOLC and ARL statements on OCLC record use policy that seem to ‘get it’.  I didn’t expect these kinds of players to pay much attention to this, and to understand the nature of the issues and their importance very well. I am pleased to have ICOCL and ARL make me overly pessimistic on both accounts.

So one way or another, OCLC won’t be able to just ignore statements like this. What will the end result be, however? I’m not sure, but I’m starting to be cautiously optimistic instead.

We could start talking about what we think an OCLC record use policy should look like, instead of just what it should not look like.  But I think it would be hard to do that without some significant participation from one or more lawyers who are expert in the issues at hand.  Something that, surprisingly and disconcertingly, it didn’t look like happened with the first policy draft.  You’d think OCLC would be a big enough organization to have some counsel with real expertise in intellectual property and contract law, key issues in their core business.

But I guess the first step is figuring out what you want to accomplish, you don’t need a lawyer for that, you just need a lawyer to figure out how to accomplish it, and if it’s accomplishable.  Presumably what they want to accomplish is what the review board is thinking about? Curious to see what they end up saying.  The composition of the review board seems generally reasonable to me, it wasn’t necessarily stacked with people who were going to have prejudices in a certain direction, as far as I can tell.

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