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The New New OCLC

Just when you thought you’d gotten to know the new OCLC, it shakes things up again. OCLC is now in the ILS business and WorldCat Local is now free to FirstSearch subscribers.

My first thought on reading about all of this yesterday was that all those pilot WorldCat Local schools must be steamed that this is now free.

My second thought was almost equal parts pleased and worried. I’m pleased that this is yet another competitor against the current lumbering giants in the ILS market, and I like the idea that (if I understand correctly) this will add a hosted option to the ILS market. (Hosted options aren’t always the best, but I like the idea of having it available as a choice for people.) On the other hand, this means that that pesky new policy on the transfer and use of OCLC records really wasn’t just about protecting a bunch of member-produced data after all. There were bigger plans afoot, and these plans involved leaning even farther toward the vendor model rather than the service model. And if OCLC is a vendor rather than a service, that new policy feels even more like a land-grab rather than an effort to protect member investments.

My third thought, on further reflection, will hopefully be less nebulous and conflicted and more grounded in fact and reasoning.