[open-bibliography] Wikipedia project: bibliographic-archival data base

David Weinberger self at evident.com
Tue Sep 13 17:15:25 UTC 2011

Thanks for the challenge, Jim. Thanks for the petard snipping, Roy.

As I just wrote to Jim: At this point, we cannot make all our catalog
data available for bulk download. That is a limitation we all regret
but there it is.  I would argue that because the data we make
available we make available without restriction, it is reasonable to
use "open" as a modifier. It may also be worth mentioning that the
point of LibraryCloud is not and never has been to make catalog data
available. Rather, it is to gather and make accessible less-noticed
metadata from libraries; we need catalog data so that other metadata
has a referent.

We're trying to do something useful and collaborative within the
limitations under which we labor, and we hope that what we're
contributing is of some value. Whether it merits the lofty adjective
"open" is to me an interesting discussion, but not the most
interesting one.


On Tue, Sep 13, 2011 at 1:03 PM, Roy Tennant <tennantr at oclc.org> wrote:
> On 9/13/11 9/13/11 € 9:20 AM, "Jim Pitman" <pitman at stat.Berkeley.EDU> wrote:
>> Either data is open, and it is possible to get hold of the entire
>> dataset with a clear open license for what you can so with it. Or it is not
>> open.
> Rather than sit back and allow David to be hoisted on his own petard, I feel
> it necessary to point out a few things. This list does not own the term
> "open" and neither does it get to declare when the use of it is appropriate.
> You DO get to declare a set of terms around a specific use of it, such as
> "open as defined by the Working Group on Open Bibliographic Data" but that's
> about it.
> This is also why the kind of discussion that might reveal the nuances of
> "open" cannot happen here due to religious-style zealotry. If something
> isn't "open" according to your strict standards it isn't open at all. This
> completely misses the fact that "open" as in the Harvard API may be
> completely fine and useful for nearly all real world purposes.
> If I can accomplish useful work with Harvard's API (and I likely can,
> although I haven't yet tested it out), then great. Whether I can download
> the entire dataset may be completely immaterial (and usually is) to getting
> that useful work accomplished. But then practicality isn't what this group
> is about, it's about religion. Now I will go back to lurking, where I expect
> to take my lumps like a man. Wake me up again when you're ready to have that
> nuanced discussion.
> Roy

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