In the past few weeks there have been a number of developments related to opening up bibliographic metadata. At the end of January we blogged about CERN opening up their library data. Just recently Ghent University Library have published their data under an open license (see ugent_biblio and ugent_catalog) – which is excellent news!

At the 7th Communia Workshop there were several discussions about the value of Europeana, a major EU funded digital library initiative, opening up the metadata about items in national collections. This represents an amazing opportunity to bootstrap the ecosystem of open data about works and authors!

We’ve been interested in open bibliographic metadata for a number of years – and thought it was about time to start a working group on open bibliographic data to strengthen the network of individuals, projects and institutions with an interest in this area:

In the first instance this group will aim to:

  1. Act as a central point of reference and support for people interested in open bibliographic data
  2. Identify relevant projects and practices. Promote best practices as well as legal and technical standards for making data open (such as the Open Knowledge Definition).
  3. Act as a hub for the development and maintenance of low cost, community driven projects related to open bibliographic data.

If you’re interested in joining the conversation, you can add yourself to the open-bibliography mailing list. We’ve also started a bibliographic data group on CKAN, our open source registry of open data:

We’ve got several new projects and initiatives planned in this area – so watch this space!

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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 and he tweets at @jwyg.