[open-bibliography] Openbiblio Principles was: Virtual meeting today

Karen Coyle kcoyle at kcoyle.net
Sun Dec 19 21:21:38 UTC 2010

Quoting Peter Murray-Rust <pm286 at cam.ac.uk>:

>> > 1. Do not use "free", which is ambiguous. Use "without cost" or "without
>> > restriction" as appropriate.

>> The Open Source terms are "gratis" and "libre" which work well there. They
> have finally been carried over to Open Access where they also work well. (If
> this had been done 10 years agao I beleieve that freedom of data would be
> much advanced)

Peter, not sure what you are suggesting here: that we use 'gratis' and  
'libre' or 'Open Access'?

> It may be helpful to visualize my motivation as from a scientist who until
> recently had no interaction with mainstream library practice. The motivation
> springs from the fact that secondary publishers use metadata to control our
> actions and also charge us money for it. We live in occupied territory.
> In science the action location or condition of an artifact is irrelevant
> unlike monographs and incunabula. The article is platonic and there is a
> platonic abstraction of the route to find and identify it - that's what I
> mean by scientific bibliography. "Current contents" (does it still exist?)
> is bibliography which should be ours by right.

I think I'm beginning to understand. To me "locate" isn't limited to  
physical items -- essentially Google "locates" things for you with its  
search. The OpenURL concept (used heavily for academic articles) is  
that of locating the most appropriate copy -- it recognizes that there  
is often more than one "instance" of a scientific article; some  
instances may be physical, some may be electronic; some are in the  
library, some are covered by the library's subscription. It is often  
referred to as a "locator service" (which I would feel comfortable  
using for something like Google as well).

Does your term "address" have the sense of providing one or more  
actual links? In other words, would both of these be an address?:

Journal of X, vol 3 n 6, pp 746

> I think I mean something different by "location" - I mean the ability to
> find any copy of the platonic article whereas for a physical book this is
> different for each exemplar. That is valuable for a particularly library and
> I'm happy for it to be considered but it's not part of my struggle. (BTW I
> am supportive of all aspects of bibliography - I'm just keener on one part!)

Right. This is also what library functions aim to do.

>> I think the enumeration is valuable but need not be in the main body - it
> could be an addendum. The purpose was to point out that these were things
> that belonged by right to the commons. The great mistake of Open Access was
> not spelling out in detail what they wanted and it was confused with
> meaningless terms such as "light green". So we must not allow the publishers
> to grab bits of our territory. The principles must - somewhere - address
> that.
> This is not quibbling. Failure to free bibliography costs academia hundreds
> of millions of dollars a year

It wasn't clear to me the purpose of that list. Yes, if you feel that  
particular elements are public domain, it would be good to provide a  
list. For readability, it may be best included in an appendix or  
addendum. I think that lists in the middle of text tend to drive  
readers away. :-)

>> Regarding the location function we must first make clear what we mean
>> by that (see above). I think Peter had something other in mind when he
>> proposed this.
>> > 5. I'm not sure why the heading in this first section is "Bibliographic
>> data
>> > already in the public domain", unless the intention is "Why we maintain
>> that
>> > bibliographic data is not covered by copyright." The wording does not say
>> > that to me.
>> The wording isn't clear but I couldn't think of anything better. It
>> should indicate that the  section covers those parts of bibliographic
>> descriptions which are not copyrightable and thus from the point of
>> their creation in the public domain. Any ideas for a better wording?
>> Then please change it.
>> Yes, please do Karen! Adrian and I have wrestled with this and it reflects
> our backgrounds. A third party would be valuable here. You need to try to
> get into both our brains!

I think it was the "already" that threw me on this. If you want it to  
be declarative, you could say:

Bibliographic Data is Public Domain Data

If the following paragraphs are an argument for open bib data, you could say:

Why Bibliographic Data is Public Domain Information (or Data)

>> > 6. the section on URIs seems to be aimed at online resources, not
>> > bibliographic data in the web environment. We have bib data in the web
>> > environment that does not have URIs or URLs.
>> ...on the other side we can identify print resources with URIs. I
>> think the text in this part is ok because of being vague enough ("can
>> be achieved" and now "is possible").
>> I am a practising TBList and believe that all Web data *should* carry
> URIs==URLs

Well, maybe it should, but the vast majority does not, and we wouldn't  
want that data to be excluded from the discussion. Think about all of  
the citations in articles and digitized books. I wouldn't  
over-emphasize URIs. That's not really about the data but about the  
technical format, and it seems to me that we want bib data, not just  
bib data in certain formats, to be open.

> If a third party wishes to take Open (libre) bibliography and tag it and
> posses the result, fine. What we have to avoid is the use of tagging to
> restrict us from our common right

So maybe that is a good point to make: that although someone may add  
to bibliographic information, and those additions may be worthy of  
some kind of IP ownership, it should not be the case that those  
additions change the copyright status of the bib data itself. There is  
an easy analogy in this for books: publishers often take a public  
domain title, add an introduction or some other text, and then  
republish to PD book. They can copyright the introduction or other  
added text, but the original PD work remains in the public domain.  
Publishers slap copyrights on these books, but if you look at the  
small print the (c) only applies to the new part.

We should say that adding to bibliographic description does NOT change  
the public domain status of the factual part of the description; only  
the added parts *may* be covered by copyright. By saying this, a whole  
database (like EBSCO) therefore contains some copyrighted material,  
but they have not gained copyright over the names of authors or titles  
of articles, only over the part that they contributed that is creative  
in nature (well, the creative part is from US law, so we probably  
can't use that term).

>> Hmm, I don't see this problem. We could contribute to making "public
>> domain" a common term. I think it is already used quite often.
>> The Pantonistas spent 2 years on this. It's not easy, but Jordan hatcher
> and John Wilbanks converged on Public Domain being the only workable
> solution for science data. This is because it *has* to conform with laws and
> while these vary between jurisdictions the Public Domain was a universal
> solution.
> PD doesn't apply to - say - scholarly content because *automatically* that
> carries copyright - by law. In contrast we argued that scientific data did
> NOT, de facto, carry copyright. However to make this abundantly clear we
> need to go through a conscious (but now simple) process of dedicating the
> content to the PD - the PDDL. My guess is that this works for bibliography
> as well - it is not, de facto, copyright.

I'll go along with this as long as we are very clear about what we  
mean by public domain and why certain aspects of bib data are not  
covered by copyright. Unfortunately, we haven't had a court decision  
to back us up, and so we are kind of whistling in the dark. I think it  
would make sense to say that we are declaring this to be in the public  
domain (which is a kind of challenge) rather than stating that  
"factually" it *is* in the public domain, which is not (yet) true.

>> > 11. #3 of the recommendations should refer to ANY restrictions on the
>> data,
>> > including attribution. Once we start mashing up data, anything but pure
>> open
>> > use becomes impossible. So perhaps this point should be about ANY
>> > restrictions, of which non-commercial is one, attribution is another, and
>> > even share-alike is another. (Note, if W3C provenance work becomes a
>> > reality, we could say that people should pass on provenance data that is
>> > received. This wouldn't so much be for the rights issue, in my mind, but
>> so
>> > that people can make selections based on whose data they trust most. One
>> > issue with provenance is that is could give people a way to attempt to
>> > control their data, and we will probably need to address that if it
>> becomes
>> > a reality.)
>> I don't agree with this. The recommendations built on each other and
>> it's #4 which says what you propose for #3. So you basically are
>> proposing deleting #3 and - if we do so - we could also delete #1 and
>> #2 because anybody who complies to #4 also complies to the three
>> principles before that.

I went back and read the earlier statements and it is true that they  
would all have to be removed. So I think it would be worth discussing  
this. AFter all, if we've spent the entire document saying that  
factual bib data is in the public domain, then there shouldn't be any  
need for talk about licenses. I'm now quite confused about the overall  
goals of this document.

> FWIW I am stuck in Barcelona because of the snow

I can think of worse places, and hope you are at least comfortable,  
warm, with a drink in hand. :-)


Karen Coyle
kcoyle at kcoyle.net http://kcoyle.net
ph: 1-510-540-7596
m: 1-510-435-8234
skype: kcoylenet

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