The really great thing about WPopac

I’ve been a bit scarce lately. The days are shorter and I’m doing a little less “rah rah library” work and a little more staying warm and insulating the house. I’ve got a few little posts to make, but the main one is this. The thing about Casey’s grant that is so amazing is this.

The revolutionary part of the announcement, however, was that Plymouth State University would use the $50,000 to purchase Library of Congress catalog records and redistribute them free under a Creative Commons Share-Alike license or GNU. OCLC has been the source for catalog records for libraries, and its license restrictions do not permit reuse or distribution. However, catalog records have been shared via Z39.50 for several years without incident.

“Libraries’ online presence is broken. We are more than study halls in the digital age. For too long, libraries have have been coming up with unique solutions for common problems,” Bisson said. “Users are looking for an online presence that serves them in the way they expect.” He said “The intention is to bring together the free or nearly-free services available to the user.

Bisson said Plymouth State University is committed to supporting it, and will be offering it as a free download from its site, likely in the form of sample records plus WordPress with WP-OPAC included. “With nearly 140,000 registered users of Amazon Web Services, it’s time to use common solutions for our unique problems,” Bisson said.

Read it twice if you’re not sure you got it. Think how having that sort of data available to you (or your library, or your open source OPAC) could really, seriously change things.

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