[okfn-discuss] Submitting comments to the Library of Congress?

Rufus Pollock rufus.pollock at okfn.org
Wed Dec 12 11:31:32 UTC 2007

Jonathan Gray wrote:
> Hi all,
> Below is a (rather long) draft response to the LoC draft report:
>   http://www.okfn.org/wiki/FutureOfBibliographicControl
> Any comments would be much appreciated!

Main comments:

* I generally agree with Aaron that you want something short and to the 
point as your main part.

* I'd therefore strongly suggest refactoring the intro to *be* the 
response with any other stuff as 'Appendices'.

* I think it would be good if we could merge this response with Aaron's 
to get something common and simple that everyone can sign onto (though 
this is not essential). I've had a first stab at doing this below (and 
I've also uploaded this to the wiki).

* This way one can just sent round the succinct response for signon and 
leave specifics for an appendices (perhaps just submitted by the OKF and 
whoever else is happy with them).

* Even in the appendix I'm not sure one really wants to include the line 
by line critique of their report -- is this the usual approach? I 
thought responses were generally more broadbrush than this though I 
might be wrong.

* One final style point: this is a response and not an academic document 
so in general I think one wants to keep the 'footnote' stuff to a bare 
minimum (basically omit unless it something particularly controversial 
or especially in need of support).

> (Its also inline below.)
> Regards,
> Jonathan
> = Open bibliographic data? - comments on draft report by the Working 
> Group on the Future of Bibliographic Control at the Library of Congress =
> 14th December 2007
> '''Rufus Pollock, The Open Knowledge Foundation''' [[BR]]
> '''Jonathan Gray, The Open Knowledge Foundation''' [[BR]]
> '''Peter Suber, The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources 
> Coalition''' [[BR]]
> '''Aaron Schwartz, The Open Library'''[[BR]]
> == Introduction ==
> This document is a response to the call for comments on a draft released 
> by the Working Group on the Future of Bibliographic Control on 30th 
> November 2007 [1].


Ok from here on rather than doing a line by line critique I've attempted 
to do a merge of the two existing drafts (yours and Aaron's):


The draft report of the Library of Congress's Working Group on the 
Future of Bibliographic Control[1] 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.

[1]: http://www.loc.gov/bibliographic-future/

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.[3]

[3] A definition or an open license and a list of open licenses that 
could be used can be found at <http://www.opendefinition.org/>.

 > Comment: this note could be omitted but I think it worth putting in 
the footnote here to make sure it is absolutely clear what is meant by 
open licensing.

New kinds of technologies are emerging very rapidly and we think that 
one of the best ways for the library community to see the fruits of 
these developments applied to bibliographic data is to permit greater 
access (and re-use) of this data by the wider technical community - and 
the general public. Placing restrictions on how bibliographic records 
may be accessed and re-used effectively inhibits community-led 
development and innovative use of this kind.

 > Comment: this paragraph and the next overlap to some degree but 
overall I think they work well together saying different things and 
reinforcing the main message (openness => more, and more efficient, 
access and reuse). However if pushed for space one might want to cut 
this first paragraph (taken from the original JG draft) and just stick 
with para 2 (form AS draft)

Furthermore, bibliographic records are part of our shared cultural 
heritage. They 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, simpler, 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.


> == Summary of key comments ==

This is all micro stuff. This set of detailed comments (plus the section 
below of even more micro stuff) should be put in an appendix and 
probably distilled a little. Even having put in an appendix I'm a little 
concerned (as noted above) that the line by line critique looks a little 
like overkill :)


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