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Become a Friend of The Public Domain Review

- June 25, 2015 in Featured, Featured Project, Free Culture, Open GLAM, Open Knowledge, Public Domain, public domain review

Open Knowledge project The Public Domain Review launches a major new fundraising drive, encouraging people to become Friends of the site by giving an annual donation. For those not yet in the know, The Public Domain Review is a project dedicated to protecting and celebrating, in all its richness and variety, the cultural public domain. In particular, our focus is on the digital copies of public domain works, the mission being to facilitate the appreciation, use and growth of a digital cultural commons which is open for everyone. We create collections of openly licensed works comprised of highlights from a variety of galleries, libraries, archives, and museums, many of whom also contribute to our popular Curator’s Choice series (including The British Library, Rijksmuseum, and The Getty). We also host a fortnightly essay series in which top academics and authors write about interesting and unusual public domain works which are available online. Founded in 2011, the site has gone from strength to strength. In its 4 plus years it has seen contributions from the likes of Jack Zipes, Frank Delaney, and Julian Barnes – and garnered praise from such media luminaries as The Paris Review, who called us “one of their favourite journals”, and The Guardian, who hailed us as a “model of digital curation”. This is all very exciting but we need your help to continue the project into the future. We are currently only bringing in around half of the base minimum required – the amount we need in order to tick along in a healthy manner. (And around a third of our ideal goal, which would allow us to pay contributors). So it is of urgent importance that we increase our donations if we want the project to continue. Hence the launch of a brand new fundraising model through which we hope to make The Public Domain Review sustainable and able to continue into the future. Introducing “Friends of The Public Domain Review”
Image 1: one of the eight postcards included in the inaugural postcard set. The theme is "Flight" and the set will be sent out to all Friends donating $30/£20/€27.50 or more before 8th July - Source.

Image 1: one of the eight postcards included in the inaugural postcard set. The theme is “Flight” and the set will be sent out to all Friends donating $30/£20/€27.50 or more before 8th July. Source =

What is it?

This new model revolves around building a group of loyal PDR (Public Domain Review) supporters – the “Friends” – each of whom makes an annual donation to the project. This club of patrons will form the beating heart of the site, creating a bedrock of support vital to the project’s survival.

How can one become a Friend?

There is no fixed yearly cost to become a Friend – any annual donation will qualify you – but there is a guide price of $60 a year (£40/€55).

Are there any perks of being a Friend?

Yes! Any donation above $30 will make you eligible to receive our exclusive twice-a-year “postcard set” – 8 beautiful postcards curated around a theme, with a textual insert. Friends will also be honoured in a special section of the site and on a dedicated page in all PDR Press publications. They will also get first refusal in all future limited edition PDR Press creations, and receive a special end of year letter from the Editor.

How do I make my donation?

We’ve worked hard to make it as easy as possible to donate. You no longer have to use PayPal on the PDR site, but can rather donate using your credit or debit card directly on the site. For more info, and to make your donation, visit: Become a Friend before 8th July to receive the inaugural postcard set upon the theme of “Flight”
Image 2: one of the eight postcards included in the inaugural postcard set. The theme is "Flight" and the set will be sent out to all Friends donating $30/£20/€27.50 or more before 8th July - Source.

Image 2: one of the eight postcards included in the inaugural postcard set. The theme is “Flight” and the set will be sent out to all Friends donating $30/£20/€27.50 or more before 8th July. Source =

No Camera Zones

- July 2, 2014 in Uncategorized

Some of us are shy and some of us love the limelight. Regardless, we're all thinking a little harder about our privacy online these days.

The Open Knowledge Foundation Newsletter, February 2014

- February 3, 2014 in Newsletter

Sign up here for monthly updates to your inbox.


One month into 2014, there’s plenty going on around the Open Knowledge Foundation, including lots of activity for Copyright Week mid-January as well as preparation for Open Data Day towards the end of February. As ever, the global Open Knowledge Foundation network has been busy, including Bangladesh supporting the regional Math Olympiad, Nepal celbrating Education Freedom Day, and Scotland collaborating with other organisations to create Datafest Scotland 2014 – see for yourself what the various communities have been up to at the Community Stories Tumblr, and do add your own stories! So here’s your monthly digest: grab a cuppa, put your feet up and settle back for a coffee-break celebration of all things Open.

Open Knowledge Foundation Germany rejects cease and desist order in the cause of Open

fragdenstaat Say you use the Freedom Of Information (FOI) process to access some information. You decide to use, an FOI portal, as it will publish the results, which makes sense as anyone else could access this if they also submitted an FOI. You wouldn’t expect to be prohibited from publishing the requested information freely, and certainly not because of copyright, a tool created to defend the creative works of artists and authors for their own livelihood… Right? Wrong! A cease and desist order has been issued to Open Knowledge Foundation Germany, the of, for publishing a document received under the German federal FOI law. The German Federal Ministry of the Interior claims copyright as the reason for this order, and is refusing to comply, standing “against this blatant misuse of copyright” and “looking forward to a court decision that will strengthen freedom of speech, freedom of the press and freedom of information rights in Germany” (in the words of Stefan Wehrmeyer in his blog post). Want to help?
  • Help support the court case by donating at or through you bank (using these details – Open Knowledge Foundation Deutschland e.V /IBAN: DE89830944950003009670 /BIC: GENO DE F1 ETK)
  • Tell the EU to fix copyright (see article mentioned below for more details on this public consultation)
For full information refer to the campaign site.

Open Copyright Week 2014

New Licenses approved as Open Copyright Infringement Big news preceeding Copyright Week was that Creative Commons 4.0 BY and BY-SA licenses were approved conformant with the Open Definition. The Open Definition, one of the first projects of the Open Knowledge Foundation, is the reference-point for understanding what Open is and how you can determine whether something is Open or not. Being able to release data and information openly is one of the most important steps in making Open the norm – thanks, Creative Commons! Want to have your say in what licenses are needed and should be reviewed and approved? Join the Open Definition Discuss email list. Fix EU Copyright! This was the cry during Copyright Week, encouraging input to the public consultation on the review of the EU copyright rules. Creativity for Copyright and volunteer coders put together an online version of the paper document (attention EU: bringing us right into the 21st Century, only 14 years in) at to create a multilingual form for easy submission. You still have a few days to contribute (deadline is 5th Feb) so if you haven’t done so already, get your opinion heard. For more background on copyright and Open Access, have a read of this article by the Open Access Working Group, and the work on Public Domain Calculators by the Public Domain and OpenGLAM Working Groups along with OKF-France.

Who is the Open Spending Data Community?

This question was answered through an in-depth mapping project, investigating how citizens, journalists, and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) around the world use government finance data to further their civic missions. The results – well, we won’t give spoilers here, you’ll just have to read for yourself and see if you feature! To set the scene, check out this video series, “Athens to Berlin”, in which various members of CSOs reflect on their work in this area and look ahead to future opportunities.

Coming Up:

Open Data Day is coming… In preparation for February 22nd’s big event, the cry to participate went up, spearheaded by the Open Knowledge Foundation’s Events Manager, Beatrice Martini. The Hangout, held on the 21st January, was hosted by Beatrice, Heather Leson and the founder of Open Data Day, David Eaves. This gave the history of the event, tips and advice on planning events (following up on this article from December), and a Q&A session. Sorry you missed it? Join the mailing list to know more and get planning. Already planning? Add your event to the website. Watch this space for news about the one-and-only OKFestival, coming very soon! Copyright infringement cartoon by Hartboy

Network Summit

- July 19, 2013 in network, OKF, OKFN Local, Open GLAM, Open Government Data, Open Humanities, Open Science, Our Work, Talks, Working Groups

Twice-yearly the whole community of the Open Knowledge Foundation gathers together to share with, learn from and support one another. The Summer Summit 2013 took place in Cambridge (UK) last week (10th-14th July), with staff updates on the Thursday and network representatives joining on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday. It was so inspiring to hear what our network has been doing to further the Open movement recently and over the last 6 months! We heard from Local Groups about how these groups have been effecting change in all our locations around the world:
  • Alberto for OKFN Spain has been promoting open transparency in budgets, including their own, and using the power of events to gather people;
  • OKFN Taiwan, represented by TH (who we believe travelled the furthest to be with us in person), has also been investing in many large events, including one event for developers and others attracting 2,000 people! They have also been supporting local and central governments on open data regulation;
  • Charalampos of OKFN Greece highlighted the recent support of their works by Neelie Kroes, and took us through which maps accidents using data from police departments and census data along with crowd-sourced data;
  • Pierre at OKF France reported that they have been helping redesign the national open data portal, as well as developing an open data portal for children and young people which kids which may align well with School of Data;
  •, the Swiss Chapter of the Open Knowledge Foundation of course is hosting OKCon in September, and Hannes updated on exciting developments here. He also reported on work to lobby and support government by developing visualisations of budget proposals, developing a federal-level open data strategy and policy, and promoting a national open data portal. Thanks to their efforts, a new law was accepted on open weather data, with geodata next up;
  • David updated on OKFN Australia where there is support from government to further the strong mandate for open scientific data. The newspaper the Age has been a firm ally, making data available for expenses and submissions to political parties, and a project to map Melbourne bicycle routes was very successful;
  • Francesca of OKF Italy has been working alongside Open Streetmap and Wikimedia Italy, as well as with parliament on the Open Transport manifesto. They have also been opening up ecological data, from “spaghetti open data”;
  • OKFN Netherlands was represented by Kersti, who reported a shared sense of strength in open government data and open development, as well as in the movement Open for Change (where OKCon is listed as the top ‘Open Development Event’!);
  • Dennis, for OKF Ireland, has been pushing the local events and gathering high-profile ‘rock stars’ of the open data world as well as senior government representatives. He has also presented on open data in parliament;
  • OKF Scotland is a growing grassroots community, as conveyed by Ewan – an Open Data Day asserted the importance of connecting to established grassroots communities who are already doing interesting things with data. They are also working closely with government to release data and organised local hackdays with children and young people;
  • Bill joined us remotely to update on OKF Hong Kong, where regular meet-ups and hackdays are providing a great platform for people to gather around open knowledge. Although not able to join us in person (like Everton / Tom from OKF Brasil) Bill was keen to report that OKF Hong Kong will be represented at OKCon!
  • OKF Austria‘s update was given by Walter, who informed us that transport data is now properly openly licensed and that several local instances of the international Working Groups have been set up. Which segues nicely, as…
It wasn’t just during the planned sessions where community-building and networking occurred: despite the scorching 30°C (86°F) heat – somewhat warmer than the Winter Summit in January! – people made the most of lunchtimes and breaks to share ideas and plan. We also heard from Working Groups about how crossing international boundaries is making a difference to Open for all of us:
  • Open Sustainability was represented by Jack who explained Cleanweb (an initiative to use clean technologies for good, engaging with ESPA to open up data) and has set up @opensusty on Twitter as a communication route for anyone wanting to connect;
  • Ben, newly involved with Open Development, explained about the group’s plans to make IATI‘s released data useful, and bringing together existing initiatives to create a data revolution;
  • Open Science, represented by Ross, has been very active with lobbying and events, with the mailing list constantly buzzing with discussions on open data, licensing and convincing others;
  • Daniel explained that Open Government Data, being one of the largest groups with 924 mailing list members, has provided an important role as being at the heart of the Open Government Data movement, as a place for people to go to for questions and – hopefully! – answers. Daniel will be stepping down, so get in touch if you would like to help lead this group; in the meantime, the Steering Committee will be helping support the group;
  • OpenGLAM has also developed an Advisory Board, said Joris. There is good global reach for Open GLAM advocacy, and people are meeting every month. Documents, case studies, slide-decks and debates are available to new joiners to get started, and the Austrian instance of the Working Group demonstrated the process works. (Joris has now sadly left Open Knowledge Foundation ‘Central’, but we are delighted he will stay on as volunteer Coordinator for this group!);
  • Public Domain, with Primavera reporting, has been working on Public Domain Calculators in partnership with the government. PD Remix launched in France in May, and Culture de l’Europe will present at OKCon;
  • Primavera also updated on Open Design, where future planning has taken priority. The Open Design Definition has been a highlight but funding would help further activity and there are plans to seek this proactively. Chuff, the Open Knowledge Foundation Mascot, was pleased to get a mention…
It should be noted that these activities and updates are brief highlights only – distilling the activities of our groups into one or two sentences each is very much unrepresentative of the amount of things we could talk about here! We also made time for socialising at the Summit, and much fun was had with Scrabble, playing frisbee and punting – not to mention celebrating Nigel‘s birthday! As an aside, I was going to state that “we only need an Antarctic representative and the Open Knowledge Foundation will have all seven continents in our network”; however, it appears there is no definitive number of continents or agreed land-masses! An amalgamated list is Africa (Africa/Middle East and North Africa), America (Central/North/South), Antarctica, Australia (Australia/Oceania) and Eurasia (Europe/Asia)… but, however you wish to define the global divisions (and isn’t it pleasing that it’s difficult to do so?), Antarctica is the only area the Open Knowledge Foundation is not represented! Are you reading this from an outstation at the South Pole, or know someone there, and want to contribute to open knowledge? Apply to become an Ambassador and be the person to cement the Open Knowledge Foundation as the fully global demonstration of the Open movement. If you’re in an unrepresented area – geographic or topic – we’d love to hear from you, and if you’re in a represented area we’d love to put you in touch with others. Get Involved and connect with the Open Knowledge Foundation Network – and maybe we’ll see you at the next Summit! Images 1, 4-7 and front page: Velichka Dimitrova. Images 2 and 3: Marieke Guy, CC-BY-NC-ND

News from the Open Knowledge Foundation Events Team

- June 11, 2013 in Events, Join us, network, News, OKCon, OKFest

IMGP4492 Events have a significant role for the Open Knowledge Foundation. They focus attention on the key issues of the day, gather interested individuals and organisations around specific topics, and represent the public face of the open knowledge community and its many and various projects. They also provide occasions for open data enthusiasts to meet face-to-face, working and learning (and socialising) together. The Open Knowledge Foundation runs a multitude of events every year, from major international events to local meetups, and supports events organised by others around open topics. Also, we are involved in many events at which our staff and community speak on the Foundation’s behalf. So what are our main events – OKCon and OKFestival – and what’s coming up this year and next?
  • OKCon A conference-style event, OKCon is primarily organised by Local Groups – an Initiative or Chapter – in collaboration with OKF Central. It can be more formal than OKFestival, with a centrally-planned 2-3 day conference format rather than a big multi-stream festival, and can have a specific focus (such as a topic or local emphasis). The programme may be topic and/or region specific. This year, OKCon in Geneva will be running over 3 days (16th-18th September) with a fantastic programme plus additional workshops and exhibitions. We’re currently working on how to develop the format for future events, in different countries and with variable frequency.
  • OKFestival This is our major international event for the whole community, with an informal, relaxed and celebratory feel. Organised by OKF Central, it is a place for debate and networking where all elements of open knowledge are welcome. Offering a crowd-sourced multi-layered programme spanning about a week, it also includes lots of satellite events, workshops – and parties! Our next one will be in 2014 – just in time for the 10th anniversary celebrations of the Open Knowledge Foundation!
We want to ensure all these events get excellent support and promotion, and for this reason we have strengthened our team in 2013:
  • Beatrice Martini joined us in January as Events Coordinator. She kicked off her work developing how-to guides, encouraging our project managers and Local Groups to run great events for the organisation and community, both big and small, online and offline. While supporting events of all formats, from the global Open Data Day to a great School of Data workshop in Berlin, Beatrice has been working with our community and the Swiss Chapter on OKCon 2013 and is preparing a brand new Events page premiering soon on the Open Knowledge Foundation website.
  • Elaine Shaughnessy joined the team as Marketing and Events Manager in May, and is working with Beatrice on the Foundation’s global events as well as with the Network Team on marketing activities.
(Want to know more about how we can support you locally in running open knowledge events? Apply to become a Local Group Ambassador today!). We will keep you posted about all our events; in the meantime, keep yourself up-to-date following the OKCon Blog, join us in Geneva (Early Bird tickets are on sale until 23rd June!) and watch this space to be the first to know about the upcoming plans of our Events team. See you soon!

#OpenDataEDB 3

- September 14, 2012 in Bibliographic, Events, Join us, linked-open-data, Meetups, OKF, OKScotland, Open Data, Open GLAM, Open Government Data

Amidst the kerfuffle and cacophony of the Fringe Festival packing up for another year, the Edinburgh contingent came together again to meet, greet, present and argue all aspects of Open Data and Knowledge. OKFN Meet-ups are friendly and informal evenings for people to get together to share and debate all areas of openness. Depending on the number of people on a given evening, we have presentations and/or round-table discussions about Open Knowledge and Open Data – from politics and philosophy to the practicalities of theory and practice. We have had two previous events (see here for the ‘launch’ write-up and here for the invitation to the second instalment); this time we were kindly hosted by the Informatics Forum, and the weather stayed fine enough to explore the roof terrace (complete with vegetable garden, gizmos to record wind-speed and weather, a view across the city to Arthur’s Seat and even a blue moon). Around 20 of us gathered together and presentations were given by the following people:
  • James Baster – Open Tech Calendar: an introduction to this early-stage project to bring tech meet-ups together, talk about the different ways we are trying to be open and ask for feedback and help;
  • Ewan Klein – a short overview of business models for Open Data, including for government bodies;
  • Gordon Dunsire – library standards and linked data;
  • Gill Hamilton – National Library of Scotland’s perspective of library standards and open data;
  • Bob Kerr – State of the Map Scotland (see here for Bob’s featured OKFN blog post);
  • Naomi Lillie – OKFN as part of the Scottish Open effort.
What struck me overall was that everybody already knows each-other… As well as cross-over in the talks, I kept trying to introduce people who would exclaim, “Ah yes! How was the holiday / conference / wedding?” or similar. This was quite useful, though, as it emphasised the point I made in my talk: OKFN doesn’t need to start anything in Scotland, as efforts towards Open are already ongoing and to great effect, we just want to provide support and possibly a brand under which these activities can be coordinated and promoted. With this in mind, we are going to look into a Scotland OKFN group as soon as things settle down again after OKFest – keep your eyes open for updates to follow! To keep up-to-date with #OpenDataEDB and similar events, with the above and other interesting folks, and with the emerging Scotland OKFN group:

Wolfpack Meeting Notes, 10/9/2012

- September 10, 2012 in Meeting Notes

Team Meeting

Team meeting 10/09, around 1.30 pm UK time. (12:30 UTC)


  • We get asked for ‘official’ OKFN responses – topics / events needing responses should be flagged up; in some cases we will produce a blog post in response, in others we will take as a topic for a future community team discussion
  • SL updated on Social Analytics for OKFN and is storing this information for comparisons at later stage
  • Notebook posts are public-facing, although the feed has been removed from in order to reduce prevalence. If anyone has concerns (about content or visibility on web searches) speak to LJ
  • Update on an OKFN office – the Management Team is looking into it and welcomes views
  • One thing that wasn’t discussed: no meeting next week due to OKFestival! Whoop! :-D


  • LN / RGRP / MF to discuss in more detail (ongoing)


  • OKFest: helping throughout the week
    • Meeting tomorrow (Tues 11th, SL to arrange) of comm-coords to go over requirements and take to wider community if further help needed

Updates (paste your notebook link in here name):


  • Irina Bolychevsky
  • Lucy Chambers
  • Marcus Dapp
  • Velichka Dimitrova
  • Meg Foulkes
  • Jonathan Gray
  • Laura James
  • Sam Leon
  • Naomi Lillie
  • Joris Pekel
  • Darwin Peltan
  • Rufus Pollock
  • Tom Rees


  • Kat Braybrooke
  • Daniel Dietrich
  • Jonathan Gray
  • Laura Newman
  • Joris Pekel

Openstreetmap Conference 2012 October 19th-20th Edinburgh

- September 10, 2012 in Events, External, Featured, OKScotland

This guest post was submitted by Bob Kerr of has just had its 8th Birthday. For those new to the name, Openstreetmap is the wikipedia of maps or rather a single map, the map of our world. Initially born because the cost of licensing Ordnance Survey data was £5000 for a single use, the people who wanted to make maps of their own neighbourhood decided to create their own data and share it. Open Street Map If you visit our website you will see the standard map – much like google maps, you can zoom in and explore. You can also view the data displayed as a transport map or cycle map. The cycle map is popular because it shows exactly what cyclists want: how steep are the hills, where are the official cycle routes, cycling shops, pubs (and toilets) etc. These maps are windows into our database. Our database is big, 250 Gigabytes of data created by over 700,000 people of whom 30,000 contribute on a weekly basis. 90% of the 850,000 named roads of the UK are shown; we hope to get them all by next year. The highest quality of mapping is in Europe but the rest of the world is hearing about us and following our lead. My passion for this data stems from my volunteer work in developing countries. Not many people realise that only about 20 percent of the world has up to date maps. If you were the head of a local community of 20,000 folk and you want to organise sanitation, medicine, water, education, land use management or tax collection you would find it a lot easier if you had a map. A map in your own language that you can share with everyone and that can be updated when it changes. At present for a huge number of people this is not possible. haiti.osm.20090114180900 A few years ago there was a tsunami in Thailand; not many people realised that there was no map of the area until 3 months after the disaster. After the Haiti earthquake Openstreetmap was given Satellite imagery of the island and within 2 weeks had mapped the entire country, including blocked roads and refugee camps. The map became the standard map for all aid agencies including the US Military. The map was recognised by the UN and the World Health Organisation. If you don’t have a map, how do you distribute aid, vaccinate large populations of children, know where your schools are? Amazingly enough there are lots of good Non-Government Organisations doing great work without maps, but this stops and is forgotten when they leave because there is no local government to take it over. A map can show not only what is there but who: community groups, doctors, lawyers, teachers, police, businesses, transport, hobbyists, farmers, historians or even people that believe in Open Knowledge. I have a second reason for liking this data: maps were the first visualisation of complex data. We can now add statistics on top of that data to create heat maps or to start bending the data in interesting ways. I believe that we are starting to see an evolution in a new language, a language of visualising complex data. We have not got to the point of defining the language yet but the first letter of that language is an undistorted map of the world. We now need to define other letters, and the structure and rules, so that everyone can learn and enjoy it. Openstreetmap is having a conference in Scotland. It is not often that there is a place to meet with crowd sourced groups. We are a diverse group of people and would like to invite you to meet us to find out what we do and how we make the map – it is a lot easier than you think. We are also reserving some time in the afternoon so that you can come and talk to us about your projects. We have open half-hour slots which can be used for presentations, discussions or open questions. Naomi Lillie will be giving a talk on an overview of the Open Knowledge Foundation. If you would like to speak at our conference please contact me: Openstreetmapcraigmillar [at] As I stand on my high hill and look down into the valley of my adopted virtual impoverished town, my mind spins with all the myriad of things that could help alleviate the worst suffering that ignorance can bring. Before the aid workers, doctors and teachers arrive, before people are questioned to see if they can read, before even the food arrives… I need to start with a drawing that everyone can share. A drawing that says “this is where we are, now we can start to organise ourselves”. Please come and join us, the event is free, and we want to meet you too. To find out more please search for “State of the Map Scotland 2012” and click on the wiki page. Booking is through Eventbrite.

Minutes: 25th Virtual Meeting of the OKFN Working Group for Open Bibliographic Data

- September 5, 2012 in BibServer, event, Events, minutes, OKFN Openbiblio

Date: September, 4th 2012, 15:00 GMT Channels: Meeting was held via Skype and Etherpad


  • Peter Murray-Rust
  • Naomi Lillie
NB Karen Coyle apologies due to attendance at DublinCore conference


As there was just PeterMR and me attending this call, we abandoned any formal agenda and had a very pleasant chat discussing PeterMR’s engagements and the upcoming OKFestival. PeterMR has been presenting various Bibliographic tools (including BibSoup) at a number of events lately, including VIVO12, and will do so at the upcoming Digital Science 2012 in Oxford. We discussed support for the existing tools we have in the Open Knowledge Foundation, in terms of person-resource and funding, and the importance of BiBServer as an underlying tool for much of the work to be done in and around Open Bibliography and Access. OKFest is less than 2 weeks away now and there is so much potential here for collaboration and idea generation… We agreed we are very excited and looking forward to meeting the pillars of Open society as well as those brand-new to this world which will only grow in influence and importance. Now is the time to embrace Open! There were no particular actions, but it was helpful to consider how we can make a difference on the world of bibliography, for OKFN and GLAM institutions in general (ie galleries, libraries, archives and museums). To join the Open Bibliography community sign up here – you may also be interested in the Open Access Working Group which is closely aligned in its outlook and aims.

JISC Open Biblio 2 project – final report

- August 23, 2012 in Bibliographic, jiscopenbiblio2, OKF Projects, Open GLAM, openbiblio, WG Open Bibliographic Data, Working Groups

This is cross-posted from Following on from the success of the first JISC Open Bibliography project we have now completed a further year of development and advocacy as part of the JISC Discovery programme. Our stated aims at the beginning of the second year of development were to show our community (namely all those interested in furthering the cause of Open via bibliographic data, including: coders; academics; those with interest in supporting Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums; etc) what we are missing if we do not commit to Open Bibliography, and to show that Open Bibliography is a fundamental requirement of a community committed to discovery and dissemination of ideas. We intended to do this by demonstrating the value of carefully managed metadata collections of particular interest to individuals and small groups, thus realising the potential of the open access to large collections of metadata we now enjoy. We have been successful overall in achieving our aims, and we present here a summary of our output to date (it may be useful to refer to this guide to terms).


BibServer and FacetView

The BibServer open source software package enables individuals and small groups to present their bibliographic collections easily online. BibServer utilises elasticsearch in the background to index supplied records, and these are presented via the frontend using the FacetView javascript library. This use of javascript at the front end allows easy embedding of result displays on any web page.

BibSoup and more demonstrations

Our own version of BibServer is up and running at, where we have seen over 100 users sharing more than 14000 records across over 60 collections. Some particularly interesting example collections include: Additionally, we have created some niche instances of BibServer for solving specific problems – for example, check out; here we have used BibServer to analyse and display collections specific to malaria researchers, as a demonstration of the extent of open access materials in the field. Further analysis allowed us to show where best to look for relevant materials that could be expected to be openly available, and to begin work on the concept of an Open Access Index for research. Another example is the German National Bibliography, as provided by the German National Library, which is in progress (as explained by Adrian Pohl and Etienne Posthumus here). We have and are building similar collections for all other national bibliographies that we receive.


At we have produced a simple convention for presenting bibliographic records in JSON. This has seen good uptake so far, with additional use in the JISC TEXTUS project and in Total Impact, amongst others.


Pubcrawler collects bibliographic metadata, via parsers created for particular sites, and we have used it to create collections of articles. The full post provides more information.

datahub collections

We have continued to collect useful bibliographic collections throughout the year, and these along with all others discovered by the community can be found on the datahub in the bibliographic group.

Open Access / Bibliography advocacy videos and presentations

As part of a Sprint in January we recorded videos of the work we were doing and the roles we play in this project and wider biblio promotion; we also made a how-to for using BibServer, including feedback from a new user: Setting up a Bibserver and Faceted Browsing (Mark MacGillivray) from Bibsoup Project on Vimeo. Peter and Tom Murray-Rust’s video, made into a prezi, has proven useful in explaining the basics of the need for Open Bibliography and Open Access:

Community activities

The Open Biblio community have gathered for a number of different reasons over the duration of this project: the project team met in Cambridge and Edinburgh to plan work in Sprints; Edinburgh also played host to a couple of Meet-ups for the wider open community, as did London; and London hosted BiblioHack – a hackathon / workshop for established enthusasiasts as well as new faces, both with and without technical know-how. These events – particularly BiblioHack – attracted people from all over the UK and Europe, and we were pleased that the work we are doing is gaining attention from similar projects world-wide.

Further collaborations


Over the course of this project we have learnt that open source development provides great flexibility and power to do what we need to do, and open access in general frees us from many difficult constraints. There is now a lot of useful information available online for how to do open source and open access. Whilst licensing remains an issue, it becomes clear that making everything publicly and freely available to the fullest extent possible is the simplest solution, causing no further complications down the line. See the open definition as well as our principles for more information. We discovered during the BibJSON spec development that it must be clear whether a specification is centrally controlled, or more of a communal agreement on use. There are advantages and disadvantages to each method, however they are not compatible – although one may become the other. We took the communal agreement approach, as we found that in the early stages there was more value in exposing the spec to people as widely and openly as possible than in maintaining close control. Moving to a close control format requires specific and ongoing commitment. Community building remains tricky and somewhat serendipitous. Just as word-of-mouth can enhance reputation, failure of certain communities can detrimentally impact other parts of the project. Again, the best solution is to ensure everything is as open as possible from the outset, thereby reducing the impact of any one particular failure.

Opportunities and Possibilities

Over the two years, the concept of open bibliography has gone from requiring justification to being an expectation; the value of making this metadata openly available to the public is now obvious, and getting such access is no longer so difficult; where access is not yet available, many groups are now moving toward making it available. And of course, there are now plenty tools to make good use of available metadata. Future opportunities now lie in the more general field of Open Scholarship, where a default of Open Bibliography can be leveraged to great effect. For example, recent Open Access mandates by many UK funding councils (eg Finch Report) could be backed up by investigative checks on the accessibility of research outputs, supporting provision of an open access corpus of scholarly material. We intend now to continue work in this wider context, and we will soon publicise our more specific ideas; we would appreciate contact with other groups interested in working further in this area.

Further information

For the original project overview, see; also, a full chronological listing of all our project posts is available at The work package descriptions are available at, and links to posts relevant to each work package over the course of the project follow:
  • WP1 Participation with Discovery programme
  • WP2 Collaborate with partners to develop social and technical interoperability
  • WP3 Open Bibliography advocacy
  • WP4 Community support
  • WP5 Data acquisition
  • WP6 Software development
  • WP7 Beta deployment
  • WP8 Disruptive innovation
  • WP9 Project management (NB all posts about the project are relevant to this WP)
  • WP10 Preparation for service delivery
All software developed during this project is available on open source licence. All the data that was released during this project fell under OKD compliant licenses such as PDDL or CC0, depending on that chosen by the publisher. The content of our site is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License (all jurisdictions). The project team would like to thank supporting staff at the Open Knowledge Foundation and Cambridge University Library, the OKF Open Bibliography working group and Open Access working group, Neil Wilson and the team at the British Library, and Andy McGregor and the rest of the team at JISC.