OCLC is recommending the Open Data Commons Attribution License (ODC-BY) for member institutions that would like to release their library catalogue data on the Web. This open data license provides the means for users to share WorldCat-derived data in a manner that is consistent with the cooperative's community norms defined in the “WorldCat Rights and Responsibilities.” Data can be freely shared subject only to attribution and OCLC's request that those making use of WorldCat derived data conform to the community norms.
The recommendation follows passage of a resolution by OCLC Global Council in April 2012 that endorsed the ODC-BY, and recommended that OCLC staff consult with opinion leaders and stakeholders for further input. After researching and experimenting with different data licenses on OCLC and WorldCat data projects, and in close consultation with the library and developer communities, the recommendation was adopted by the OCLC Board of Trustees.
Best practices in the Web environment include making data available along with a license that clearly sets out the terms under which the data is being made available. Without such a license, users can never be sure of their rights to use the data, which can impede innovation.
Members of the OCLC cooperative routinely solicit OCLC's guidance on the use and transfer of WorldCat-derived records, from both licensing and technical perspectives. They do so knowing that “WorldCat Rights and Responsibilities” is the guiding document around use and transfer of WorldCat data.
The ODC-BY license will also be used by OCLC as additional sets of WorldCat data are released, including future linked data projects. Going forward, OCLC will modify related processes and policies in order to make the cooperative's data sharing efforts more consistent with this recommendation.