an interesting debate instigated by a presentation of
the Internet Archive's OpenLibrary by its primary
technical engineer, aaron swartz, at the berkman
center at harvard. tim spaulding of librarything
was in attendance:
"Q: Why won't OCLC give you the data?
A: We'd take it in any form. We'd be willing to pay.
Getting through the library bureaucracy is difficult...
A: (terry) You need to find the right person at OCLC.
A: We've talked with them at a high level and they won't
give us any information. Too bad since they're a non-
profit. Library records are not copyrightable. OCLC
contractually binds libraries.
"Q: (tim) The greatest thing about OL is that it's an
OCLC killer. Libraries shouldn't pay for it. Why not
just explicitly say that the enormous value is that
libraries won't have to pay for cataloging records.
A: (librarian) Who's going to create the records?
A: They're created already. We just need to get a couple
of libraries to provide their collections.
"Q: (sj) OCLC culls and curates. OL will need this.
A: I'd love to talk about this with the OCLC more. Their
mission is the same as ours, but they have this enormous
revenue stream from the records. They've gotten more open
maybe partially in response to us. "