June 25, 2022

David Rapp About David Rapp

Associate editor David Rapp previously covered technology for Library Journal.


  1. I suppose all libraries are under extreme economic press, especially as of late. However, as a representative of an academic publisher of unique titles that really no-one else offers, I’ve noticed that libraries handle the situation differently. Some do it more gracefully and respectfully (to both the reader and content producer communities) than others. Working with cataloging and orders, you get to know your national libraries around the world. And KB (as we call it) has been one of my greatest disappointments both as concerns their acquisitions politics and level of competence/service. So I am not surprised at all that from the very nation of the “Pirate Party” we hear moaning about OCLC’s rights management terms.

    We’ve actually gone ahead and made both ONIX and MARC content available free of charge since 2006 through our “Libraries” page. Interestingly, from the information on use, I can say that those libraries that are NOT out there complaining about OCLC (i.e. “Why can’t we get it all for free?”) have made most efficient use of our FREE cataloguing data! The complainers such as KB, despite being informed already in 2006 have made NO USE of the data, even though it is FREE! Go figure, I say! Speaking with other (Canadian, US) publishers, I can hardly find anyone in our network who has a book at KB that was actually acquired through purchase!

    Thus, I believe we are here recounting a tale of our old friend (or foe)- open vs. fair compensation (through rights management). And again, I will raise the “fair compensation” banner and declare- Someone did the work to produce the content and records. Someone paid them a salary or fee to do this. Someone is using their infrastructure and buying software or subscriptions to standards all and sundry, calling back repairmen who didn’t get it fixed the first time and taking countless criticisms and suggestions on how the format or record could be better! And, incidentally, would the readers want vital information or infrastructure handled on a “volunteer” basis and provided “as-is with no warranty” ?

    My experience has been that most often (not always) those who feel that services and products should be entirely free of charges and restrictions have little or no idea of the sweat and tears that goes into them or they receive state funding. And if anyone out there has found a way to survive and run a business for free, please be so kind as to offer that information… free of charge or any restrictions on use, naturally!