Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Monday, December 17, 2007

Petition for OA to bibliographic data

Response to Working Group on the Future of Bibliographic Control (Library of Congress), a petition drafted and organized by the Open Knowledge Foundation:

The draft report of the Library of Congress's Working Group on the Future of Bibliographic Control features many interesting suggestions. In particular we wholeheartedly endorse the vision of a bibliographic ecosystem which is "collaborative, decentralized, international in scope and web-based". However, we are concerned that the report lacks any discussion of a key component for any future of bibliographic data: open licensing and access.

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. And a recent meeting of open government advocates, including people from Yahoo, Google, Stanford, and Berkeley, called for government agencies to follow eight principles of Open Data. This outpouring of support for openness has led to an incredible rise in community-led development and innovative uses.

Bibliographic records are a key part of our shared cultural heritage. They too should therefore be made available to the public for access and re-use without restriction. Not only will this allow libraries to share records more efficiently and improve quality more rapidly through better, easier feedback, but will also make possible more advanced online sites for book-lovers, easier analysis by social scientists, interesting visualizations and summary statistics by journalists and others, as well as many other possibilities we cannot predict in advance.

Government agencies and public institutions are increasingly making data open. We strongly encourage the Library of Congress to join this movement by recommending that more bibliographic data is made available for access, re-use and re-distribution without restriction.

PS:  Please consider adding your name.  Although I was an early signatory to this petition, I'm late in blogging it because I didn't realize it was ready for public disclosure.  Sorry for the delay.