Recently there seems to be a surge in activity around open bibliographic metadata.
Libraries throughout Europe have been experimenting. The British Library and the CERN library are two notable examples of libraries that have decided to release their bibliographic metadata under an open licence.
JISC has funded the LOCAH andOpenbib projects which are exploring a Linked Data approach to open bibliographic data from Cambridge University and the British Library (openbib) and Copac and the Archives Hub (LOCAH).
The experimentation isn’t limited to libraries, there is exciting work happening in related sectors such as cultural heritage. Two very good examples are the Culture Grid which is a collection of UK cultural heritage content produced by the Collections Trust and Digital New Zealand which focuses on enabling the reuse of content from New Zealand’s cultural heritage institutions.
All of this effort distributed around the world begs a number of questions. Why are all these people releasing their data under open licences? What’s in it for them? What are the costs? What are the practical considerations? How have they navigated the pitfalls inherent in licensing this data?
At JISC we think there are some intriguing benefits from taking the open approach to bibliographic metadata. We think it will maximise the possibilities for reusing the metadata to develop new and innovative services for librarians, researchers, students and teachers. But what does all this innovation and experimentation mean for UK academic librarians?
JISC commissioned David Kay, Paul Miller and Owen Stephens to think about those questions and to produce a guide that academic librarians can use to establish whether this is an area they need to investigate and, if it is, how to get started.
The Open Bibliographic Data Guide is available now and it explores 17 use cases that may be furthered by taking an open approach to bibliographic data.
The guide is intended to be a living resource not a snapshot. So we are keen for people to enrich the guide by commenting.
We will continue to develop the guide as part of the resource discovery taskforce programme of work. This programme is funding projects to ensure metadata from museums libraries and archives in Higher Education can be reused to develop services that meet the needs of researchers, students, teachers and of course those working in libraries museums and archives.
From my perspective, this is a very exciting time for bibliographic data and I’m looking forward to seeing what we can do with all the possibilities on offer.