Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

DLF Aquifer working towards openness

Katherine Kott, What does sharing publicly accessible material mean?  Aquifer, September 14, 2007.  Excerpt:

From the time a distributed open digital library was a glimmer in the eye of Digital Library Federation leaders, the words "shared collections" rarely appear in DLF writings without being modified by "publicly accessible" or "openly accessible". We are now implementing services for shared collections and asking contributing libraries to sign a submission agreement as we include their collections in Aquifer. The submission agreement is broad and asks libraries to agree to allow both metadata and digital objects to be aggregated within Aquifer. Some libraries have pushed back on agreeing that the objects can be collected and have marked up the submission agreements, restricting aggregation to metadata only. At this point, we can accept the restricted agreements. Currently, we are only aggregating metadata.

However, it is clear that to meet our goal of making material easier to use as well as find and identify, we will need to pool or cache more than descriptive metadata--likely some kind of surrogate for the item, as defined by asset actions. Although it is unlikely that we would need to aggregate copies of the objects themselves, future plans to enable object re-use begin to call into question what exactly we mean when we talk about "publicly accessible" or "openly accessible" collections. Do we mean that anyone can view the object or that anyone can capture the object for educational use or for commercial use? Are there any restrictions on further distribution, re-use or re-mixing?

Within the Aquifer initiative, we are considering a variety of activities to help with definitions, including...Creative Commons licenses. One goal would be to confidently re-expose Aquifer collections as open educational resources....We welcome ideas and suggestions for other activities and approaches we should consider.