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Our xISBN cache is a small subset of OCLC’s database

2006-06-19

This clarification will, I hope, relax some folks at OCLC who were concerned about the possibility that I might be allowing their competitors to have access to a copy of their xISBN database.

For the record, then:

If there are 60 ISBNs listed for Harry Potter and the Order of Fries, and only 12 of those ISBNs appear within bib records in our database, then our cache will only store those 12 ISBNs. It doesn't tell the requester that there may be other relevant ISBNs; vendors and developers who want accurate and complete cross-references should be talking to OCLC (specifically their Openly division) about using their service. Our cached subset is tailored to store only as much information as would be useful to us.

Eric Hellman of OCLC Openly has offered the suggestion that I may want to cache all 60 ISBNs so that our cache could return a list of the 12 relevant ISBNs in response to a query for a 13th. If we do so, I'll restrict non-local access so that the server refuses to give any information to requesters outside of TBLC. (I've already added a robots.txt file at OCLC's request.)

He has also mentioned that my tinkering has generated a bit of interest within OCLC. This shouldn't have surprised me as much as it did; I've also been talking with people from OCLC PICA about it. Still, it's welcome news. I'm likely to be relocating in about a year, and I'm more enthusiastic about my family's prospects when I reflect that my name is not completely unknown.

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