OCLC’s six-month Expert Community Experiment, which began in February, is now a little past the halfway point. The latest in a long series of initiatives aimed at enhancing the quality of bibliographic records in WorldCat, the experiment allows member libraries with full-level cataloging authorizations “to correct, improve and upgrade all WorldCat master records, with the exception of PCC records (BIBCO and CONSER records). Library of Congress records that are not PCC records are included in the Experiment.”

FAQs on the experiment are here, or just scroll down in the page linked above.

If your institution is interested in being part of the experiment, there is no application process; you can start right in. If you have enhanced WorldCat records before, the procedure is essentially the same as what you have already followed, except that, as noted in Chapter 5 of Bibliographic Formats and Standards, “The record replace restrictions based on authorization modes in this chapter are superseded during the Expert Community Experiment.”

Needless to say, with the kind of power OCLC is giving us comes responsibility. Please don’t participate until you have read the Guidelines for Experts and are honestly confident that you are prepared to follow them. It would be helpful to view the recorded Expert Community Experiment Webinar as well.

So far, OCLC reports that the experiment is going well. Karen Calhoun remarked at the Illinois OCLC Users’ Group annual meeting last Friday that the “cataloging wars” some had feared have not materialized.

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