As regular readers of the Open Knowledge Foundation blog will know, bibliographic metadata is a subject close to our heart (see e.g., here, here and here). Hence we were delighted to see today’s announcement that CERN Library are releasing their bibliographic metadata under an open license!
From the announcement:
Librarians are in general very favourable to the principles of Open Access, but surprisingly few libraries have so far set free the data they produce themselves. As one of the first scientific libraries in the world, the CERN Library offers now the bibliographic book records, held in its library catalog, to be freely downloaded by any third party. The records are provided under the Public Domain Data License, a license that permits colleagues around the world to reuse and upgrade the data for any purpose.
Jens Vigen, Head of the CERN Library, says: “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. Our action is made in the spirit of the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities; bibliographic data belongs to the cultural heritage.All other signatories should align their policy accordingly.”
The data of CERN Library will be used by the Open Library Project to provide a webpage for every book and allow users to add content like table of contents, classifications and summaries.
For massive reuse of data, the data will be provided soon by an open Z39.50, SRU and OAI interface via biblios.net, a repository of open bibliographic data.
This is fantastic news – and we hope that other libraries and archives consider following suit and opening up their bibliographic metadata!
We’ve created a new CKAN package for the data at:
Dr. Jonathan Gray is Lecturer in Critical Infrastructure Studies at the Department of Digital Humanities, King’s College London, where he is currently writing a book on data worlds. He is also Cofounder of the Public Data Lab; and Research Associate at the Digital Methods Initiative (University of Amsterdam) and the médialab (Sciences Po, Paris). More about his work can be found at jonathangray.org and he tweets at @jwyg.