Remember the licence!

Go for open, no banana skins

Following what might be regarded as the game-changing Harvard release of open bibliographic metadata with a CC0 licence in April 2012, OCLC has taken considerable steps to recognise the importance of open metadata to library services and wider resource discovery practice.

On 6th August, the Library Journal headlined the OCLC recommendation that member institutions that would like to release their catalogue data on the Web should do so with the Open Data Commons Attribution License (ODC-BY). For more details, see: http://bit.ly/MP63Dc.

However, the Discovery programme has consistently emphasised that attribution is a big banana skin in terms of practical implementation and on account of the associated Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt (the FUD factor), whilst ironically carrying little likelihood of practical enforcement under the law. This position is at the heart of the Discovery principles and is very well articulated in a subsequent Creative Commons blog post – see http://creativecommons.org/weblog/entry/33768

So we propose that open metadata is increasingly mission critical as libraries reach out to new services and that public domain licensing is the best (perhaps only?) way to engender widespread community confidence in this journey.

Don’t forget the licence

On the downside, Cloud of Data’s Paul Miller recently posted his analysis of the use of open licenses associated with data releases registered at the OKFN Data Hub. Paul’s headline findings were that:

  • Half of the 4,000 registered open data sets have no license at all
  • Only 12% of licensed data sets use either CC0 or ODC-PDDL

These stats do not reflect badly on libraries, archives and museums as the Data Hub has attracted open data releases from a wide variety of sources. However, it would be good to see more public references to the UK institutions and Discovery projects that have released open metadata explicitly linked to a public domain licence – i.e. CC0 or ODC-PDDL

So why not consider the following options:

The Data Hub

The Data Hub is maintained by CKAN and was the source of information for Paul Miller’s blogpost. There is a simple slideshow tutorial about registering releases (whether uploads or links) at http://docs.ckan.org/en/latest/publishing-datasets.html

The web upload form is at http://thedatahub.org/dataset/new. As well as being linked to the submitter’s details, it is limited to just

  • title
  • license
  • free text description

It would be good to see UK open metadata releases registered there, with a clear link to CC0, ODC-PDL or whatever other licence has been selected. Given the limited data entry form, why not include reference to the Discovery principles and / or your project in the free text description description.

The Creative Commons CC0 exemplars webpage

http://wiki.creativecommons.org/CC0_use_for_data

Clearly this applies only to those of you that have opted for the CCO license. As you can see, you’ll be in good company. My assumption is that you should simply email info@creativecommons.org (perhaps marked FAO Timothy Volmer) with your request to be on the page, providing a simple statement in line with the style of the page plus a logo.

Postscript – On recommending choice

Without doubt, Attribution has its place in the scheme of things digital – but not ideally in relation to the assertion of uncertain ‘rights’ amidst the mosaic of public domain information and distinct intellectual endeavour that constitutes the world’s bibliographic records.

Perhaps there are lessons to be learned from elsewhere about offering choice to contributors – for example from Flickr, which presents contributors with choices including the various variants of Attribution – see http://www.flickr.com/creativecommons/.

Similarly, the University of California at Santa Cruz recommends CC attribution options for public contributions to its Grateful Dead Online Archive (http://www.gdao.org/contribution). This seeks to encourage contribution of digital objects by guaranteeing credit to members of the public, which seems appropriate for the particular GDAO community context. Their options are set out below.

PS – I wonder if the description of the GDAO target community as one of ‘shared inspiration and adaptation’ has some equivalence to the global community of cataloguers, bibliographers, archivists and curators that have built up our scholarly metadata.

9 Responses to Remember the licence!

  1. […] Attribution (ODC-BY) License when releasing WorldCat-derived library catalogue data. You can read David Kay’s response to that announcement here on the Discovery blog. And last week there was news that OCLC and Europeana are collaborating on a project developing […]

  2. What’s up, its good post about media print, we all be familiar with media is a wonderful source of facts.

  3. Georgia says:

    Hello, I enjoy reading all of your article.
    I like to write a little comment to support you.

  4. Brigitte says:

    I’ve been exploring for a little for any high-quality articles or weblog posts on this kind of area . Exploring in Yahoo I ultimately stumbled upon this web site. Reading this information So i am glad to exhibit that I’ve a very good uncanny feeling I came upon exactly what I needed.
    I so much surely will make sure to don?t omit this site and give it a glance regularly.

  5. I want to to thank you for this great read!! I definitely loved every bit of it.
    I’ve got you book-marked to look at new stuff you post…

  6. Nice weblog right here! Also your website so much
    up very fast! What web host are you the use of?
    Can I get your affiliate hyperlink on your host? I wish my website loaded up as quickly as yours lol

  7. Good site you have got here.. It’s difficult to find quality writing like yours these days. I seriously appreciate people like you! Take care!!

  8. Hi! This post could not be written any better! Reading this post reminds me of my previous room mate!

    He always kept talking about this. I will forward this post to him.
    Pretty sure he will have a good read. Thanks for sharing!

  9. Because the admin of this web page is working, no doubt very quickly it will be renowned, due to its feature contents.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: