Towards a National Metadata Agreement (with OCLC)

Those of you who have been following the Plan M discussions (and who also may have participated in the recent consultation about national metadata agreements) will no doubt be wondering where things have got to and what’s next?

By way of a recap, the objective of the consultation was to understand whether there was appetite in libraries to enter into separate national agreements with OCLC and BDS. We received extensive and nuanced responses from around 100 institutions and we’d like to thank everybody who spent time considering the issues.  We have had follow-up meetings with various stakeholder groups, and with OCLC and BDS, and we are now at a point where we can plot a path forwards and make some concrete proposals about pricing.

In relation to the BDS agreement, it was clear from the responses that the terms proposed for the national agreement, using the suggested cost modelling, did not have sufficient support from the community. We will, therefore, not be pursuing that version of a BDS national agreement, although we remain committed to working with them (and other actors in the bibliographic data supply chain) to realise the aims of Plan M. We have agreed to keep in touch and carry on exploring opportunities in relation to the evolving data marketplace.

A majority of responses were in favour of pursing a national agreement with OCLC, and we have had follow-up conversations with them (and with RLUK, SCONUL and other stakeholders) to formulate the terms of an agreement. One of the key objectives is to achieve a level of price transparency for all eligible libraries covered by a national agreement to be able to:

  • download full OCLC provenance records from the Jisc Library Hub Cataloguing system;
  • access and download full records directly from WorldCat;
  • upload library catalogues into WorldCat, either directly or via the Jisc National Bibliographic Knowledgebase (NBK).

From the OCLC perspective, it would represent a national Cataloguing and Metadata agreement for Jisc member academic libraries and other eligible NBK contributor libraries.

Based on input from the consultation, cost modelling across comparable services, and negotiations with all stakeholders, we are now in a position to propose that the following Jisc banded prices form the basis of a national agreement starting from August 1st 2021.

Banded pricing for Jisc/OCLC national metadata agreement
Banded pricing for Jisc/OCLC national metadata agreement

Discussions are ongoing between Jisc and OCLC (with input from RLUK and SCONUL) to align details and it has been proposed that the first year of an agreement should be ‘transitional’ in nature to allow time to explore and further define the benefits and future opportunities associated with a collaborative 3-way agreement between UK academic and specialist libraries, Jisc, and OCLC. The work that OCLC is doing on linked data will be a key area for discussion and activity.

By way of a response to some of the points raised by institutions during the consultation, OCLC have supplied answers to 29 questions in the following document.

Jisc WorldCat Consultation Q1-29 replies 22062021

Jisc (negotiating on behalf of RLUK and SCONUL) and OCLC have yet to reach a definitive position on this agreement but we are looking to reach a resolution by mid-July. We are following up with individual libraries where appropriate to discuss concerns raised in the consultation and to explain positions and pricing. We will provide a further update as soon as we have progress to report.







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By Neil Grindley

Director of Content & Discovery Services at Jisc. With oversight of Jisc's library and archival discovery services and content solutions for HE and FE.

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