Keep in mind that while it is in the best interests of librarians to access to bibliographic records be as open as possible — to facilitate record-sharing, search and retrieval of items in a library and just our collective knowledgebase generally — it is often NOT in the interests of library companies, or libraries who act like companies, to share their data such that other people or libraries can use it to do what they want with it. So goes the saga of NYPL vs ibiblio, a long and not at all complicated tale concerning their records and what is or is not copyrightable about them. Special appearance by OCLC and their revised policies about records sharing.
Tim made the announcement of the announcement (pdf), so I guess this is the announcement of that. Simon Spero, superhero, has released an almost-complete copy of the LoC authority files. You can just … have them. I have a copy. I like to grep through it for fun on snowy evenings (that is how my Nerve personal ad will start, I am certain of it). I am interested to see what happens next. You can’t copyright this data, but you can sell it. Now that it’s available for free, it will be interesting to see if you can even do that.
This phase of the project is dedicated to the men and women at the Library of Congress and outside, who have worked for the past 108 years to build these authorities, often in the face of technology seemingly designed to make the task as difficult as possible.