Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category


OCLC should share WorldCat data for commercial and noncommercial use


OCLC’s Review Board of Shared Data Creation and Stewardship asked for comments on OCLC’s policy on sharing bibliographic information with partners who make a profit.  Here’s my comment, which I’ve also submitted to the board:

OCLC supports “WorldCat data sharing that encourages innovation and benefits libraries, museums and archives while protecting OCLC’s members’ investment in WorldCat.”

Sharing bibliographic data freely, without worrying about whether it advances profitable causes, achieves all these criteria.  It certainly encourages innovation; it certainly will benefit libraries, museums, and archives; and the wealth of innovative services based on freeing the records will handsomely repay members’ investment in WorldCat while benefiting the world at large as well.  Let us not hoard metadata like a jealous dragon.

As librarians, we don’t ask our patrons whether their in-house use of business reference books is intended to help a for-profit entity. We don’t have separate usage policies for entrepreneurs and non-entrepreneurs. We trust that the use of our information will benefit society at large in many ways, some obvious and some subtle. Why should OCLC behave differently?


The thing about grant-funded positions is…


Grant-funded positions are liable to run out of funding, and that’s exactly what has happened with my most recent large-scale consulting project.  I’m still available as a consultant, and I’m also looking for work in Atlanta.  Thanks to those who have already wished me luck—I’m sure you’ll be nearly as happy as I am when I have good news about employment!


A new plugin for Nagios


There’s nothing particularly library-oriented about my latest project. On the other hand, libraries send email, and it’s a good idea to make sure nobody thinks of it as spam. That’s why I created check_dnsbl, a Nagios plugin that checks whether an address is listed as a source of spam, or under various other categories.

Nagios is a great tool for sysadmins. It’s extensible (supra) and highly configurable, but it’s also a pain in the neck to set up properly. On the other hand, when you’re running a cutting-edge Z39.50 network, it helps to know when one of your servers needs attention. And when you’ve got dozens of servers to think about (or even a dozen PCs), you’ll save time in the long run by investing in Nagios setup.

And yes, of course, the code is available under the GPL.