[Open-contentmining] IFLA supports TDM

Peter Murray-Rust pm286 at cam.ac.uk
Fri Dec 13 15:06:26 UTC 2013

Yesterday The International Federation of Library Associations and
Institutions (IFLA)  issued a welcome statement on TDM:


*IFLA maintains that legal certainty for text and data mining (TDM) can
only be achieved by (statutory) exceptions. As an organization committed to
the principle of freedom of access to information, and the belief that
information should be utilised without restriction in ways vital to the
educational and cultural well-being of communities, IFLA believes TDM to be
an essential tool to the advancement of learning, and new forms of


*We live in an era of “Big Data”. OECD figures show that more digital
information was created between 2008 – 2011 than in all previous recorded
history (World Economic Forum (2012) ‘Global Information Technology Report:
living in a hyper-connected world’
p.59, http://www3.weforum.org/docs/Global_IT_Report_2012.pdf
<http://www3.weforum.org/docs/Global_IT_Report_2012.pdf>) No human can read
such vast volumes of information, which is why “computer based reading”,
using tools such as text and data mining, is so important.*


*Research organisations see TDM as an engine to improve the performance of
science by speeding up new potential discoveries based upon existing
literature without the need for further laboratory based research.  TDM is
a tool also increasingly being used by researchers and creators in the arts
and humanities fields, to offer new interpretations of history, literature
and art. Libraries are also increasingly undertaking TDM themselves, to
improve information services and offer new insights into their collections.
Government data sets are also increasingly being made available to
researchers, archives and libraries undertaking TDM, as they offer much
potential economic value in an era of Big Data. Commercial innovators are
also utilising TDM.*


*The technical act of copying involved in the process of TDM falls by
accident, not intention, within the complexity of copyright laws – in fact
analysis of facts and data has been the basis of learning for millennia. As
TDM simply employs computers to “read” material and extract facts one
already has the right as a human to read and extract facts from, it is
difficult to see how the technical copying by a computer can be used to
justify copyright and database laws regulating this activity. *

*“That these new uses happen to fall within the scope of copyright
regulation is essentially a side effect of how copyright has been defined,
rather than being directly relevant to what copyright is supposed to
protect.” (Hargreaves Review of Intellectual Property and Growth (2011), UK
Intellectual Property Office, http://www.ipo.gov.uk/ipreview.htm
<http://www.ipo.gov.uk/ipreview-doc-t.pdf>)   *

*TDM is one of several new tools in the digital environment to which
copyright norms devised 300 years ago do not readily apply. *
*…* *Solution             *

*Researchers must be able to share the results of text and data mining, as
long as these results are not substitutable for the original copyright work
- irrespective of copyright law, database law or contractual terms to the
contrary. Without this right, legal uncertainty may prevent important
research and data driven innovation putting researchers, institutions and
innovators at risk. *

*IFLA does not support licensing as an appropriate solution for TDM. If a
researcher or research institution, or another user accessing information
through their library, has lawfully acquired digital content, including
databases, the right to read this content should encompass the right to
mine. Further, the sheer volume and diversity of information that can be
utilised for text and data mining, which extends far beyond already
licensed research data bases, and which are not viewed in silos, makes a
licence-driven solution close to impossible. *

Peter Murray-Rust
Reader in Molecular Informatics
Unilever Centre, Dep. Of Chemistry
University of Cambridge
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