A brief pointer to Jonathan Rochkind’s OCLC, and What We Lose Without Openness (A True Story), talking about the closed nature of OCLC and how the xID services, like xISBN, would benefit from opening up the source and data:
But maybe someone else wanted to work on an algorithm for doing this. Maybe they come up with something good. Maybe they want to provide such a service. As test data for their development, and to make such a finished service useful, they’d need a big corpus, like, WorldCat. Maybe OCLC would give them permission to use the WorldCat corpus like that–if they are willing to sign away certain rights on what to do with it, and if OCLC doens’t think it threatens WorldCat’s business model. But even having to ask and negotiate is a barrier to agile experimentation and innovation–there are plenty of people doing interesting stuff with not enough time, they don’t have time for legal negotiations with OCLC, and shouldn’t need to engage in them, it doesn’t serve us.
Preach it. Xiaoming Liu’s doing a great job, but he’s just one programmer.