One of the ongoing issues with OCLC involves the guidelines associated with how its members can share metadata managed in WorldCat, a topic covered in the June 2012 issue of Smart Libraries Newsletter. The ways in which libraries can share bibliographic records that describe their collections derived from OCLC's WorldCat database is addressed in the guidelines articulated in the “WorldCat Rights and Responsibilities for the OCLC Cooperative” (http://www.oclc.org/worldcat/ recorduse/policy/). We noted in our previous discussion that OCLC's interpretations of these record sharing guidelines have been increasingly liberal and are now deemed to be consistent with the Creative Commons Attribution License.
Many scenarios in which libraries wish to contribute metadata involve a Creative Commons Zero public domain license (CC0). The National Library of Sweden, for example, cited the OCLC Rights and Responsibilities Statement as the basis for not joining OCLC in December 2011 since it would not allow the library's contributions to projects, such as Europeana, that require CC0.
OCLC and Europeana have recently reached an agreement that would allow member libraries to contribute data to the Europeana.eu portal and remain within the WorldCat Rights and Responsibilities guidelines. Under this agreement, OCLC member libraries can contribute metadata derived from WorldCat using the Creative Commons Zero public domain license. Europeana and OCLC would then request that subsequent users of that contributed metadata give attribution to OCLC and the contributing institution.
This approach generally satisfies OCLC's preference for Creative Commons Attribution license and the Europeana Data Exchange Agreement, which requires CC0. Such an arrangement is similar to Harvard's release of its 12 million bibliographic records under the CC0, with a recommendation that those that use the metadata give appropriate attribution. While CC0 provides no binding obligation to provide attribution, in practice OCLC accepts recommendations for attribution as consistent with the WorldCat Rights and Responsibilities guidelines. This agreement between OCLC and Europeana represents an important step in the understanding of how content from WorldCat can be used relative to increasing expectations for free exchange of metadata.