From the catalogs of babes

{February 19, 2009}   Facebook or OCLC? Perhaps both.

I was going to write up a little ditty about how Facebook’s recent change to the Terms of Service seemed to eerily parallel the changes in OCLC’s Record Use Policy, but it seems like Steve Lawson has already done it for me. I don’t think I could say it any better.

s1525700367_30196467_9281What’s interesting to me is how fast the Facebook retaliation started, and how quickly it was addressed (to the extent it was addressed, anyway). In less than 24 hours, everyone on Facebook heard the news about the TOS changes, and everyone was all hot & bothered by them, posting status updates and alerts, removing content, joining protest groups and even uploading blank profile photos with the message “This is in protest of Facebook’s Terms of Service.” In contrast, when OCLC announced their policy changes, I saw some blog posts and listserv messages, but I didn’t see anyone remove records from OCLC.

Facebook is in the public spotlight. Almost everyone in my demographic is a member. Heck, even my sixtysomething aunts and uncles are on Facebook, connecting with their families. Or, if not, they’ve at least heard about it and know what it is. I can’t say the same for OCLC. Some librariansI know don’t even know what OCLC is.

But here’s what I’m thinking, and what I wanted to write: everyone I can think of on Facebook has, at some point or another, used a library. School, public, academic, it doesn’t matter. Sometime in their studies or career or family life, they’ve checked out a book. So each and every one of those people on Facebook who were so up in arms about the TOS change has been touched by OCLC (where do you think the bibliographic records for those library books came from)? This isn’t something that only affects a few select catalogers. OCLC’s policy changes affect every library user, everywhere. If we can make those Facebook users see the parallels, and raise as much of a stink about OCLC as they did two days ago for Facebook, we might just have a chance.


Joe says:

It makes no sense that Facebook would risk messing up a good thing by edging in on people’s intellectual property. They had people’s trust and then they go and risk losing it; not smart.

Ivy says:

Likewise, what is smart about OCLC’s policy change?

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