Clarification on OCLC/OAIster Transfer

Earlier in the week I posted “The Straight Dope on OAIster” in an effort to bring the OAI community up to date on the transition of this service from the University of Michigan to OCLC, and our intentions for it going forward. A comment on that post, as well as chatter via Twitter and on some mailing lists has prompted us to clarify the terms and conditions to make it absolutely clear that they only apply to the harvested metadata.

It was never our intent to harvest anything other than metadata. Unfortunately, the terminology used in the OAIster terms and conditions did not accurately state the rights that OCLC needs to make the OAIster data available.  As a result, the OAIster terms and conditions have been corrected and are being re-sent to OAIster data providers.

We are sorry for causing a misunderstanding. Our intent has always been to simply transition the good work of the University of Michigan to our infrastructure and support. We will strive to be more accurate and clear in the future so as not to distract us all from the important work of maintaining and expanding access to open access content.

7 Comments on “Clarification on OCLC/OAIster Transfer”

  1. As a service manager for an NYU repository, I happened to receive the message sent last week about this license, and flagged it for further discussion with relevant folks at my institution. So far I have received nothing further.

    However, I only stumbled across these blog posts, and am not on the oai-implementers listserv mentioned by Kat Hagedorn in the comments on the previous post, which appear to be providing basic information about this transition.

    My point is that the clarifications are not being effectively shared with the community so far. In my opinion, getting updates via blog commentary is inadequate for something that raises such broad intellectual property issues. Given that October begins next week, will we have time to sort through these concerns before our data is or is not harvested and shared on WorldCat, etc.?

    Speaking only for myself, not my institution.

  2. WHY does OCLC need to sign a licence with the OAIster providers? The metadata of our repository is currently being harvested by a number of harvesters, including Google Scholar, the European DRIVER portal, the Bielefeld Academic Search Engine etc. but we have never signed any terms and conditions with any of these harvesters. Why should OAIster be different?

  3. Our records are provided “AS IS” and have NO WARRANTY. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user. By harvesting our records, you agree to our terms.

    “Institution will defend, indemnify and hold harmless OCLC from and against any and all claims, suits, actions, demands or proceedings (whether threatened, asserted, or filed) and all related damages, losses, liabilities, cost and expenses (including, but not limited to, reasonable attorneys’ fees) arising out of or relating to: (i) Institution’s breach of the warranties it has made in these Terms; (ii) Institution’s breach of these Terms (iii) any damages caused to OCLC’s systems by Institution’s Content; (iv) any actual or alleged violation of any third party proprietary rights by any Institution Content; and (v) Institution’s Content, or its access or use by third parties.”

  4. There’s another condition in the agreement that’s unacceptable as well, especially in the light of overbearing claims like the one originally made. That was the one where we agree to automatically accept any changes in the agreement after OCLC posts them on the website and we don’t take down our site. Will that be removed as well?

  5. It strikes me that harvested metadata consists primarily of directory-type information, which is usually not protected under copyright, and abstracts. Either the abstracts are excerpts, and covered by fair use; or they’re protected by copyright, and (in all the repositories I work with) each abstract’s copyright is owned by its author. So the question remains – exactly what is OCLC asking for permission to use, that they don’t already have, and that they think we are in a position to grant?

  6. How does this seem to happen so much to an organization like OCLC that they send out things that do “not accurately state” what they intend to do?

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