Accessible overviews of key current issues for library technology
Accessible overviews of key current issues for library technology
a vendor of proprietary library system defines its position on open data:
Ex Libris, Alma and Open Data' By Carl Grant (guest post) Open Knowledge Foundation blog. 11 August 2011
'This guest post is written by Carl Grant, chief librarian at Ex Libris and past president of Ex Libris North America, in answer to some questions that Adrian Pohl, coordinator of the OKFN Working Group on Open bibliographic Data, posed in the beginning of July in response to Ex Libris’ announcement of an “Expert Advisory Group for Open Data”.
Terminology involved in this discussion:
open (and sometime linked) metadata initiatives
(Google Doc) 4th August 2011 By Ken Chad
(This is work in progress and makes no claim to be exhaustive. It covers initiative in the Libraries Archives and Museums (LAM) domain). From the document:-
'Not all open data is linked data and not all linked data is open. However in the Libraries Archives and Museum )LAM) domain the two are increasingly working together
These are metadata initiatives. Other open /linked data initiatives are not included
Open data remains a novelty. In the LAM domain its growth has been in promoted to a significant degree by the initiatives of national libraries and related bodies that have a long term vision and public mission. Their business case is strategic and visionary and they can forego an immediate return on investment. However even where organsations are committed in principle to open data they may confront business model and licensing problems in releasing particular datasets as open data.
Projects are typically moving on from open data to linked data to make the output more useful in the wider linked or semantic web world. This also means reaching out beyond the LAM domain itself. Part of this reaching out is expressed in the form of the growing number of projects related to ontologies and vocabularies to enable LAM data to be linked within and outside the LAM domain. Whilst open data is not necessarily linked data (and vice versa) the two terms increasingly cohabit. The point of delivering open and linked data is re-use which remains low. To kick start and encourage re-use there are several competitions or similar initiatives including those organised by commercial companies like Elsevier.#
As we see the market maturing and a growth in initiatives we also see the growth of international organisations and more informal groups (or sub groups of larger bodies such as W3C) engaged in enabling and promoting open and linked data. There is also the rise of ‘data markets’. A recent ReadWriteWeb posting had this to say: 'Since the open data movement has shown no declining signals, several hubs, or data markets, have been released. This was a direct consequence of the need for ways to search all different data sets. According a wide definition, data markets are platforms where the users may search, browse and discover new data sets to fulfill their needs. The added value they bring varies according the functionalities they offer, making them something more than a simple vertical search engine’
Open Bibliographic Data Guide In November 2010 JISC published their guide. Here's an extract from the home page:
'It’s all about the business case. Andy McGregor, the JISC Programme Manager explains:
Why are libraries around the world devoting time and resources to releasing their bibliographic data under an open licence? What’s in it for them and what are the costs and practical issues involved? JISC’s purpose for this guide is to try and provide some answers to these questions and to help academic librarians think about the potential implications for their own library.
One of the possibilities that open bibliographic data offers is the chance for libraries and indeed anyone to reuse the data to build innovative services for researchers, teachers, students and librarians. JISC will be exploring these possibilities through the work of the Resource Discovery Task Force.
The Guide to Open Bibliographic Data has been developed by JISC on behalf of its partners in the Resource Discovery Task Force. It is about the business cases for Open Bibliographic Data – releasing some or all of a library’s catalogue records for open use and re-use by others.
The advice is both general and specific. The guide seeks to clarify in general terms and also in the context of 17 specific Use Cases:
These Use Cases cover things you might already do or plan to do as you develop your library service. The Guide provides the rationale and the potential ripple effects of doing those things based on Open Data.
Open Bibliographic Data Flyer from the Open Knowledge Foundation (OKFN)
From the text:
'Open up bibliographic data!
Over the past few years, open licensing has facilitated the explosive growth of a 'knowledge commons'. To give a few prominent examples: Open Access journals, Open Educational Resources and Open Data in scientific research have all been enabled by licenses which permit material to be freely re-used and re-distributed.
Bibliographic records are a key part of our shared cultural heritage. They too should therefore be open, that is made available to the public for access and re-use under an open license which permits use and reuse without restriction'
The //Discovery// Initiative In May 2011 the Discovery initiative was launched under the auspices of the Resource Discovery Task Force-RDTF . It 'will help to mobilise and energise the community, engaging stakeholders to create a critical mass of open and reusable data, and explore what open data makes possible through real-world exemplars and case studies' . Discovery is advocating the adoption of open metadata for the furtherance of scholarship and innovation. That's an important business case for UK plc – but what could that mean for individual cultural and educational institutions and agencies? Is there a local business case for open data?
//Discovery// Open Metadata principles The Discovery principles, launched by the Resource Discovery Task Force on 26 May 2011, propose that 'Open metadata creates the opportunity for enhancing impact through the release of descriptive data about library, archival and museum resources. It allows such data to be made freely available and innovatively reused to serve researchers, teachers, students, service providers and the wider community in the UK and internationally.'
British Library to share millions of catalogue records 23/08/2010
Free access offered to bibliographic data to help advance research
The British Library is to make its extensive collections of bibliographic records available for free to researchers and other libraries: www.bl.uk/bibliographic/datafree.html The UK national library has around 14 million catalogue records comprising a wealth of bibliographic data. The initiative announced today will help expose this vast dataset to users worldwide, allowing researchers and other libraries to access and retrieve bibliographic records for publications dating back centuries and relating to every conceivable subject area. The new free service will operate in parallel to the British Library's priced bulk MARC data supply activity which is used extensively by large commercial customers.
(announced November 2010)
data.open.ac.uk is the home of open linked data from The Open University. It is a platform currently developed as part of the JISC LUCERO Project to extract, interlink and expose data available in various institutional repositories of the University and make it available openly for reuse. Many other datasets are currently being processed to be included here, including other institutional repositories, specific research projects and links to external datasets from the linked data cloud. These include in particular:
In addition, other access methods will also be provided, including full text search, faceted browsing and demonstrator applications of the data.
University of Florida make bibliographic data available
Beginning March 2011, the University of Florida Smathers Libraries implemented a policy to include a Creative Commons license in all of its original cataloging records. The records are considered public domain with unrestricted downstream use for any purpose.
The following MARC 588 field (Source of Description Note) is added to new records contributed to WorldCat. It has not been added retrospectively to University of Florida original records in WorldCat.
588::|a This bibliographic record is available under a Creative Commons CC0 license. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Open Bibliographic Data. The State of Play .
March 6th, 2008
The following was posted on the Open Foundation blog : 'Given the public role of libraries and the fact that bibliographic metadata (i.e. the material in library catalogues) doesn’t seem that exciting from a commercial point of view you might think that, of all the types of data out there, it would be bibliographic data that would be the most open. You might even think, given the public-spiritedness of librarians, that this is the kind of area where not only could it be openly available but it would be openly available (in nice little bzip or gzipped dumps …).
In fact the situation is quite the opposite. Most libraries appear to implicitly or explicitly exert rights over their data with some libraries licensing access to their catalogue data for substantial sums of money..'
The Economics of Open Bibliographic Data Provision.
By Thomas Krichel. ECONOMIC ANALYSIS & POLICY, VOL. 39 NO. 1, March 2009
:Organizing bibliographic information is a monumental task, as any librarian will testify. There is considerable human effort necessary to enter information, categorize it and verify it. But once this information has been compiled, it can be replicated at very little cost, just like software. And libraries have started to act.
In January 2010 the library at CERN took action.
The head of the library announced. 'Books should only be catalogued once. Currently the public purse pays for having the same book catalogued over and over again. Librarians should act as they preach: data sets created through public funding should be made freely available to anyone interested. Open Access is natural for us, here at CERN we believe in openness and reuse. There is a tremendous potential. By getting academic libraries worldwide involved in this movement, it will lead to a natural atmosphere of sharing and reusing bibliographic data in a rich landscape of so-called mash-up services, where most of the actors who will be involved, both among the users and the providers, will not even be library users or librarians'.
Jens Vigen, Head of the CERN Library.
Cologne based libraries announcement
In March 2010: Cologne-based libraries and the Library Centre of Rhineland-Palatinate (LBZ) in cooperation with the North Rhine-Westphalian Library Service Center (hbz) were the first German libraries to adopt the idea of Open Access for bibliographic data by publishing their catalog data for free public use.
Press Release. March 2010- Releasing catalogue data: Cologne-based libraries to pioneer Open Data practices.
LIBRIS and linked data
LIBRIS in Sweden have gone further than just publishing their data. In 2009 They published their catalogue as 'linked' date. 'LIBRIS was published as Linked Data on the web, exposing the entire library state with all its records, links and relations. As far as we know, this is the first union catalogue or national library catalogue to be published in its entirety as linked data. Not counting lcsh.info (which is great, but contains no bibliographic information) it is the first effort by a national library to actually be part of the semantic web.
LIBRIS – Linked Library Data. By Anders Söderbäck and Martin Malmsten. 16th January 2009, Panlibus blog.(This post later featured in Nodalities Magazine, Issue 5)
MOSAIC (Jisc) project** 'Making our shared activity information count'
A number of universities are actively interested in recommender and other user activity driven services. MOSAIC is therefore investigating the technical feasibility, service value and issues around exploiting activity data, primarily to assist users in resource discovery and selection.
Such data might be combined from:
Circulation modules of Library Management Systems (the initial project focus)
ERM systems / Open URL Resolver data covering journal article access
VLE resource and learning object download
Reading lists (without activity data)
Links to the MOSAIC 'demostrator' projects that made use of the open dataset provided by Dave Pattern (Hudddersfield University) are here
Open bibliographic data files can be found at and downloaded from the comprehensive knowledge archive network (CKAN). CKAN is a registry of open data and content packages. 'CKAN makes it easy to find, share and reuse open content and data, especially in ways that are machine automatable'.
Data files include Biblios.net, CERN bibliographic data, Ghent University Catalogue, Library of Congress Subject Headings, Talis MARC records, The Open Library, University of Hudderfield circulation and usage data and the Offene bibliogaphische Daten an der Universitats- und Stadtbibliothek Koln
'ECS has launched its own data including data about research papers in the Eprints archive, data about people in the school, research groups, teaching modules, seminars and events and buildings and rooms. This significant move, allows users to access and use all public (RDF) data from rdf.ecs.soton.ac.uk and eprints.ecs.soton.ac.uk for any legal purposes such as derivatives works and for commercial use'