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Reflections from Policy Debate about copyright and education: How to ensure user rights in education? Copyright reform and Open educational resources

- November 23, 2015 in Featured, guestpost, licensing, open educational resources

Reported and written by: Sandra Kucina Softic, M. Sc.; University Computing Centre SRCE, Croatia The debate (http://oerpolicy.eu/please-join-us-in-brussels-for-policy-debate-on-copyright-and-education/) was held at the European Union on November 17, 2015 and was hosted by Michal Boni, Member of European Parliament (MEP) from Poland. The debate focused in particular on user rights: the freedom of educators and learners to use resources in the process of education. Introduction to the debate: Freedom to use educational resources is a fundamental issue in education. It can be ensured either by copyright rules or through sharing of Open Educational Resources (OER). The European Commission communication on the modernisation of copyright rules has defined educational exceptions as an issue that requires action in the European reform planned for 2016. At the same time, recent policy developments once again prove the importance of Open Educational Resources: UNESCO members have just committed to supporting OERs within the Education 2030 Framework for Action. OECD will soon publish a new report on “Open Educational Resources. A Catalyst for Innovation”. The event will focus on the European level of policy making, with the goal of discussing possibilities of strengthening European policies and programs.

Picture1: MEP M. Boni opens the debate on copyright reform and OER

The debate was organized by Centrum Cyfrowe and Communia as the part of the ExplOERer project. On behalf of the organizer the meeting was moderated by A. Tarkowski. Mr. Alek Tarkowski reported on document Foundations for OER Strategy Development (http://oerstrategy.org) which provides concise analysis of where global OER movement currently stands. Intention of this document is to serve as a starting point for conversations about strategies for mainstreaming OER and extending its reach and impact globally. Speakers at the debate were: Mr Dominic Orr (Consultant, OECD), Ms Teresa Nobre (Legal Lead, Creative Commons, Portugal) and Ms Josie Fraser (social and educational technologist, Leicester City Council, UK). Over 40 people participated at the debate. In his introduction Mr. Orr gave an overview on the OECD report: Open Educational Resources- a Catalyst for Innovation which will be published on December 1, 2015. In this report highlighted are three key potentials of OER:
  • digital technologies have become ubiquitous in daily life and OER can harness the new possibility to afforded by digital technology to address common educational challenges
  • OER are a catalyst for social innovation, which can facilitate changed forms of interaction between teachers, learners and knowledge
  • OER have an extended lifecycle beyond their original design and purpose. The process of distribution, adaptation and iteration can improve access to high quality, context-appropriate educational materials for all.

Picture 2: Mr. D. Orr presenting OECD report

The report also focuses on the contribution of OER to six educational changes that concern educational systems today:
  • fostering the use of new forms of learning for the 21st century
  • fostering teachers’ professional development and engagement
  • containing public and private costs of education
  • continually improving the quality of educational resources
  • widening the distribution of high quality educational resources
  • reducing barriers to learning opportunities
Ms Teresa Nobre reported on the different national laws of the EU member states regarding the quotations, compilations and derivatives. National laws are often vague and in unclear language, and certain acts are allowed in face to face teaching but not in online context. Quotations are usually for free, but only 16 member states allow quotes of full-sized images. In preparations for teaching teachers often make compilations of learning materials. But some countries don’t allow it for free. At the moment only 12 member states allow teachers to make a non-commercial compilation without payment. Teachers often need to translate materials and want to use them in their work, some countries do allow it but 10 member states do not permit translations for educational purposes.

Picture 3: Ms T. Nobre

Suggestion is to establish single mandatory exception to ensure EU–wide educational uses of copyrighted works. Emphasis should be on limitation of the purposes not users. There is a need for stronger harmonization between member states. Possible solution is Digital Single Market (http://ec.europa.eu/digital-agenda/en/digital-single-market) in which the free movement of persons, services and capital is ensured and where the individuals and businesses can seamlessly access and exercise online activities under conditions of fair competition, and a high level of consumer and personal data protection, irrespective of their nationality or place of residence. The Digital Single Market strategy (http://ec.europa.eu/priorities/digital-single-market/docs/dsm-communication_en.pdf) has been adopted in May 2015 and aims to open up digital opportunities for people and business and enhance Europe’s position as a world leader in the digital economy. Ms. J. Fraser stressed was that teachers create amazing resources but they need training not only in technologies but also in methodologies and abilities to integrate technology into the educational process. Also there is an increasing trend towards making educational contents and resources freely available. Still lots of issues have not been settled, especially copyright issues. Academic staff is often not aware of open licensing and Creative Commons. Although the academic staff have a good experience with CC, it doesn’t solve all the problems. Copyright issues is still present and need to be regulated.

Reflections from Policy Debate about copyright and education: How to ensure user rights in education? Copyright reform and Open educational resources

- November 23, 2015 in Featured, guestpost, licensing, open educational resources

Reported and written by: Sandra Kucina Softic, M. Sc.; University Computing Centre SRCE, Croatia The debate (http://oerpolicy.eu/please-join-us-in-brussels-for-policy-debate-on-copyright-and-education/) was held at the European Union on November 17, 2015 and was hosted by Michal Boni, Member of European Parliament (MEP) from Poland. The debate focused in particular on user rights: the freedom of educators and learners to use resources in the process of education. Introduction to the debate: Freedom to use educational resources is a fundamental issue in education. It can be ensured either by copyright rules or through sharing of Open Educational Resources (OER). The European Commission communication on the modernisation of copyright rules has defined educational exceptions as an issue that requires action in the European reform planned for 2016. At the same time, recent policy developments once again prove the importance of Open Educational Resources: UNESCO members have just committed to supporting OERs within the Education 2030 Framework for Action. OECD will soon publish a new report on “Open Educational Resources. A Catalyst for Innovation”. The event will focus on the European level of policy making, with the goal of discussing possibilities of strengthening European policies and programs.

Picture1: MEP M. Boni opens the debate on copyright reform and OER

The debate was organized by Centrum Cyfrowe and Communia as the part of the ExplOERer project. On behalf of the organizer the meeting was moderated by A. Tarkowski. Mr. Alek Tarkowski reported on document Foundations for OER Strategy Development (http://oerstrategy.org) which provides concise analysis of where global OER movement currently stands. Intention of this document is to serve as a starting point for conversations about strategies for mainstreaming OER and extending its reach and impact globally. Speakers at the debate were: Mr Dominic Orr (Consultant, OECD), Ms Teresa Nobre (Legal Lead, Creative Commons, Portugal) and Ms Josie Fraser (social and educational technologist, Leicester City Council, UK). Over 40 people participated at the debate. In his introduction Mr. Orr gave an overview on the OECD report: Open Educational Resources- a Catalyst for Innovation which will be published on December 1, 2015. In this report highlighted are three key potentials of OER:
  • digital technologies have become ubiquitous in daily life and OER can harness the new possibility to afforded by digital technology to address common educational challenges
  • OER are a catalyst for social innovation, which can facilitate changed forms of interaction between teachers, learners and knowledge
  • OER have an extended lifecycle beyond their original design and purpose. The process of distribution, adaptation and iteration can improve access to high quality, context-appropriate educational materials for all.

Picture 2: Mr. D. Orr presenting OECD report

The report also focuses on the contribution of OER to six educational changes that concern educational systems today:
  • fostering the use of new forms of learning for the 21st century
  • fostering teachers’ professional development and engagement
  • containing public and private costs of education
  • continually improving the quality of educational resources
  • widening the distribution of high quality educational resources
  • reducing barriers to learning opportunities
Ms Teresa Nobre reported on the different national laws of the EU member states regarding the quotations, compilations and derivatives. National laws are often vague and in unclear language, and certain acts are allowed in face to face teaching but not in online context. Quotations are usually for free, but only 16 member states allow quotes of full-sized images. In preparations for teaching teachers often make compilations of learning materials. But some countries don’t allow it for free. At the moment only 12 member states allow teachers to make a non-commercial compilation without payment. Teachers often need to translate materials and want to use them in their work, some countries do allow it but 10 member states do not permit translations for educational purposes.

Picture 3: Ms T. Nobre

Suggestion is to establish single mandatory exception to ensure EU–wide educational uses of copyrighted works. Emphasis should be on limitation of the purposes not users. There is a need for stronger harmonization between member states. Possible solution is Digital Single Market (http://ec.europa.eu/digital-agenda/en/digital-single-market) in which the free movement of persons, services and capital is ensured and where the individuals and businesses can seamlessly access and exercise online activities under conditions of fair competition, and a high level of consumer and personal data protection, irrespective of their nationality or place of residence. The Digital Single Market strategy (http://ec.europa.eu/priorities/digital-single-market/docs/dsm-communication_en.pdf) has been adopted in May 2015 and aims to open up digital opportunities for people and business and enhance Europe’s position as a world leader in the digital economy. Ms. J. Fraser stressed was that teachers create amazing resources but they need training not only in technologies but also in methodologies and abilities to integrate technology into the educational process. Also there is an increasing trend towards making educational contents and resources freely available. Still lots of issues have not been settled, especially copyright issues. Academic staff is often not aware of open licensing and Creative Commons. Although the academic staff have a good experience with CC, it doesn’t solve all the problems. Copyright issues is still present and need to be regulated.

Reflections from Policy Debate about copyright and education: How to ensure user rights in education? Copyright reform and Open educational resources

- November 23, 2015 in Featured, guestpost, licensing, open educational resources

Reported and written by: Sandra Kucina Softic, M. Sc.; University Computing Centre SRCE, Croatia The debate (http://oerpolicy.eu/please-join-us-in-brussels-for-policy-debate-on-copyright-and-education/) was held at the European Union on November 17, 2015 and was hosted by Michal Boni, Member of European Parliament (MEP) from Poland. The debate focused in particular on user rights: the freedom of educators and learners to use resources in the process of education. Introduction to the debate: Freedom to use educational resources is a fundamental issue in education. It can be ensured either by copyright rules or through sharing of Open Educational Resources (OER). The European Commission communication on the modernisation of copyright rules has defined educational exceptions as an issue that requires action in the European reform planned for 2016. At the same time, recent policy developments once again prove the importance of Open Educational Resources: UNESCO members have just committed to supporting OERs within the Education 2030 Framework for Action. OECD will soon publish a new report on “Open Educational Resources. A Catalyst for Innovation”. The event will focus on the European level of policy making, with the goal of discussing possibilities of strengthening European policies and programs.

Picture1: MEP M. Boni opens the debate on copyright reform and OER

The debate was organized by Centrum Cyfrowe and Communia as the part of the ExplOERer project. On behalf of the organizer the meeting was moderated by A. Tarkowski. Mr. Alek Tarkowski reported on document Foundations for OER Strategy Development (http://oerstrategy.org) which provides concise analysis of where global OER movement currently stands. Intention of this document is to serve as a starting point for conversations about strategies for mainstreaming OER and extending its reach and impact globally. Speakers at the debate were: Mr Dominic Orr (Consultant, OECD), Ms Teresa Nobre (Legal Lead, Creative Commons, Portugal) and Ms Josie Fraser (social and educational technologist, Leicester City Council, UK). Over 40 people participated at the debate. In his introduction Mr. Orr gave an overview on the OECD report: Open Educational Resources- a Catalyst for Innovation which will be published on December 1, 2015. In this report highlighted are three key potentials of OER:
  • digital technologies have become ubiquitous in daily life and OER can harness the new possibility to afforded by digital technology to address common educational challenges
  • OER are a catalyst for social innovation, which can facilitate changed forms of interaction between teachers, learners and knowledge
  • OER have an extended lifecycle beyond their original design and purpose. The process of distribution, adaptation and iteration can improve access to high quality, context-appropriate educational materials for all.

Picture 2: Mr. D. Orr presenting OECD report

The report also focuses on the contribution of OER to six educational changes that concern educational systems today:
  • fostering the use of new forms of learning for the 21st century
  • fostering teachers’ professional development and engagement
  • containing public and private costs of education
  • continually improving the quality of educational resources
  • widening the distribution of high quality educational resources
  • reducing barriers to learning opportunities
Ms Teresa Nobre reported on the different national laws of the EU member states regarding the quotations, compilations and derivatives. National laws are often vague and in unclear language, and certain acts are allowed in face to face teaching but not in online context. Quotations are usually for free, but only 16 member states allow quotes of full-sized images. In preparations for teaching teachers often make compilations of learning materials. But some countries don’t allow it for free. At the moment only 12 member states allow teachers to make a non-commercial compilation without payment. Teachers often need to translate materials and want to use them in their work, some countries do allow it but 10 member states do not permit translations for educational purposes.

Picture 3: Ms T. Nobre

Suggestion is to establish single mandatory exception to ensure EU–wide educational uses of copyrighted works. Emphasis should be on limitation of the purposes not users. There is a need for stronger harmonization between member states. Possible solution is Digital Single Market (http://ec.europa.eu/digital-agenda/en/digital-single-market) in which the free movement of persons, services and capital is ensured and where the individuals and businesses can seamlessly access and exercise online activities under conditions of fair competition, and a high level of consumer and personal data protection, irrespective of their nationality or place of residence. The Digital Single Market strategy (http://ec.europa.eu/priorities/digital-single-market/docs/dsm-communication_en.pdf) has been adopted in May 2015 and aims to open up digital opportunities for people and business and enhance Europe’s position as a world leader in the digital economy. Ms. J. Fraser stressed was that teachers create amazing resources but they need training not only in technologies but also in methodologies and abilities to integrate technology into the educational process. Also there is an increasing trend towards making educational contents and resources freely available. Still lots of issues have not been settled, especially copyright issues. Academic staff is often not aware of open licensing and Creative Commons. Although the academic staff have a good experience with CC, it doesn’t solve all the problems. Copyright issues is still present and need to be regulated.

Supporting Schools to use OERs

- October 24, 2014 in communication, Featured, licensing, oer

josieAt the Open Education Working Group there is often reflection that there are great things happening in the open education world but many of these don’t transpose to educational spaces, such as schools. Josie Fraser from the DigiLit Leicester initiative has an exciting announcement about how Leicester Council is bringing together OERs and teachers to enable Open Educational Practices.
Open Educational Resources (OER) are learning materials (including presentations, revision guides, lesson plans) that have been released under an open licence, so that anyone can use, share and build on them for free. Many openly licensed resources are available for schools to use and develop. At a time when schools increasingly work with, and rely on, digital and web based materials, understanding how copyright works, and making the most of available resources, is essential for staff and schools. oer Creating OER allows schools to connect and collaborate with others through sharing work. Sharing can also help promote the great work that school staff and schools are doing. The DigiLit Leicester initiative, designed to support schools in making the most of the city’s current investment in technology, identified a gap in support and information for school staff relating to the use and creation of OER. In response to this, Leicester City Council is releasing a range of resources to help schools in the city and beyond get the most out of open licensing. Guidance for schools has been produced, along with a range of practical resources, to support school staff in understanding, finding, and creating OER. The resource pack is itself is released under an open licence, and can be downloaded from http://schools.leicester.gov.uk/openeducation diglit Editable versions suitable for adaptation are also available for download. The resources being that have been released are:
  • School Permission & Policy docs: 1. Formal notification of permission from LCC to city community and voluntary controlled schools 2. Guidance notes for schools on the permission 3. Model school policy (based on the Albany Senior policy) for schools with Local Authority permission 4. Model school policy (same) for schools where the governing body is the employer
  • Guidance docs: On ‘What are Open Educational Resources?’; ‘Understanding Open Licensing’; ‘Finding and Remixing Openly Licensed Resources’; ‘Openly Licensing and Sharing your Resources’
  • Supporting Docs: S1-6 – 6 documents designed to support staff in delivering workshops, or providing walkthroughs relating to finding, using and attributing CC Licenced materials, plus an extensive list of annotated resources and related materials
  • Additional materials: A pack of existing openly licenced resources that are either referenced in the guidance or in activities in the supporting documents, that we are providing on a standalone basis to make life easier for school staff
All of the materials build upon existing openly licenced works and are themselves released under a CC-BY licence, and provided in editable doc formats as well as PDF. Leicester City Council has also given permission to the 84 community and voluntary controlled schools across the city to create and share Open Educational Resources (OER), by releasing the learning materials they create under an open licence. By default, the rights of work created in the line of employment are assigned to the employer, unless a specific agreement has been made. This permission makes sharing resources simpler for everyone, and provides additional opportunities for schools and school staff. Josie Fraser, ICT Strategy Lead (Children’s Capital) at Leicester City Council, said:
Many free, Openly Educational Resources – OER – already exist. Schools can’t make use of them if they aren’t aware of OER and don’t know how to find them. We are creating practical information and guidance for schools (which is released under an open licence) and providing community and voluntary controlled schools across the city with the freedom to openly license their own work. This supports Leicester schools to promote what they are achieving, and also to connect to, and collaborate with, other schools, and to make educational resources accessible to learners everywhere.

Dr Björn Haßler (University of Cambridge), said:
Leicester City Council is the first local authority in the UK to provide its school employees with permission to openly license their resources. This is a highly commendable and visionary step. We very much hope that this will inspire other councils and schools to look at how they can also support staff in sharing their work.
The Council is also encouraging voluntary aided schools, foundation schools and academies across the city to review their own approach to digital resources, and to see how they can make the most of open licensing. At these schools, the governing body is usually the employer. All schools in the city have been provided with information about the permission, and the Council has produced model policies to discuss, adopt and adapt. Further information about the permission and model policies can also be downloaded from http://schools.leicester.gov.uk/openeducation. Notes: OER Guidance for Schools was released on 23 October 2014. It was commissioned by Leicester City Council, as part of the Council’s award winning digital literacy school staff development project, DigiLit Leicester. The Guidance is produced by Björn Haßler, Helen Neo, and Josie Fraser, and is available under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 licence. For further information please contact Josie Fraser (josie.fraser@leicester.gov.uk) or Björn Haßler (bh213@cam.ac.uk).

Your view on the Dutch 4.0 Creative Commons license translations.

- August 19, 2014 in CC, creative commons, Featured, licensing, Public Consultation

In the end of 2013, Creative Commons released the latest version of their licenses: 4.0. These licenses are the result of an intensive public consultation that started in 2011. After the launch, Creative Commons Netherlands and Creative Commons Belgium started a translation to Dutch. Before these translations will be officially recognised, both parties are asking the public for feedback in Belgium and the Netherlands. Creative Commons 4.0 logo It’s imperative to have feedback on this new version of the Creative Commons licenses, because it’s essential for Creative Commons to offer licenses that everyone can easily read and understand. That’s why they need input from people who use the licenses. Having good and easy readable translations means a bigger reach and impact. The public consultation runs until the 1st of September 2014. During and after this period, they’ll react to all the feedback and remarks that were given. After that, they’ll prepare a final proposal for Creative Commons international, where it will be reviewed for an official approval. Participating in the public consultation is easy, look at the concept translations and tell them what you think about them. If you want to provide feedback on these concept translations but don’t know how this works in Google Docs: Follow this manual. If you have any further questions about the way you can help Creative Commons, or have a general question about the 4.0 licenses, send and email to info@creativecommons.nl Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License Kalexanderson

New Sources and Rights section on The Public Domain Review

- August 28, 2013 in copyright, Featured, Legal, licensing, Public Domain, public domain review, sources

Today sees the announcement of two exciting new developments on The Public Domain Review, changes which centre on better celebrating those institutions which have decided to open up their collections and helping users understand the different rights for reuse that apply to the content.

New sources section

The new sources page – http://publicdomainreview.org/sources/ – lists the major sources for material found on The Public Domain Review: both online content aggregators (websites which bring together into one place digital copies from disparate sources) and the content providers themselves (the institutions who will often hold the physical object from which the digital copy has been made). This list is intended to be at once a celebration of the sources we use in the creation of The Public Domain Review and also a mapping of the current landscape of openly licensed collections, a map which we hope will encourage users to explore these wonderful sources for themselves. We also hope that by highlighting the wealth of institutions that have already opened up their public domain collections, those institutions that have not yet opened up might be encouraged to do so. Each institution has its own dedicated page which lists their content featured on our site.

New attribution feature and accompanying rights and re-use section

Each collection post on The Public Domain Review now has an accompanying table clearly stating: 1) the source form which the material derives 2) if relevant, a hat-tip to any person or website through which we found the material 3) download links, and 4) information regarding rights and re-use of both the underlying work and the digital copy which we are presenting. To accompany the “rights and re-use” part of this new feature we have a dedicated page “Rights labelling on our site” which functions to explain some of the terms encountered and, in general, give a helpful overview of the landscape regarding the complex world of rights and re-use relating to public domain works and their digital copies.

We hope that these changes will help give the recognition deserved to the institutions that have taken the bold step of openly licensing their collections, and also that those who appreciate the fruits of this labor will, with more transparency regarding rights, feel more empowered to share and re-use it.

Community Discussions 3

- July 13, 2012 in BibServer, Data, event, Events, JISC OpenBib, jiscopenbib2, licensing, News, OKFN Openbiblio, wp3, wp4, wp5

It has been a couple of months since the round-up on Community Discussions 2 and we have been busy! BiblioHack was a highlight for me, and last week included a meeting of many OKFN types – here’s a picture taken by Lucy Chambers for @OKFN of some team members: IMG_0351 The Discussion List has been busy too:
  • Further to David Weinbergers’s pointer that Harvard released 12 million bibliographic records with a CC0 licence, Rufus Pollock created a collection on the DataHub and added it to the Biblio section for easy of reference

  • Rufus also noticed that OCLC had issued their major release of VIAF, meaning that millions of author records are now available as Open Data (under Open Data Commons Attribution license), and updated the DataHub dataset to reflect this

  • Peter Murray-Rust noted that Nature has made its metadata Open CC0

  • David Shotton promoted the International Workshop on Contributorship and Scholarly Attribution at Harvard, and prepared a handy guide for attribution of submissions

  • Adrian Pohl circulated a call for participation for the SWIB12 “Semantic Web in Bibliotheken” (Semantic Web in Libraries) Conference in Cologne, 26-28 November this year, and hosted the monthly Working Group call

  • Lars Aronsson looked at multivolume works, asking whether the OpenLibrary can create and connect records for each volume. HathiTrust and Gallica were suggested as potential tools in collating volumes, and the barcode (containing information populated by the source library) was noted as being invaluable in processing these

  • Sam Leon explained that TEXTUS would be integrating BibSever facet view and encouraged people to have a look at the work so far; Tom Oinn highlighted the collaboration between Enriched BibJSON and TEXTUS, and explained that he would be adding a ‘TEXTUS’ field to BibJSON for this purpose

  • Sam also circulated two tools for people to test, Pundit and Korbo, which have been developed out of Digitised Manuscripts to Europeana (DM2E)

  • Jenny Molloy promoted the Open Science Hackday which took place last week – see below for a snap-shot courtesy of @OKFN:

IMG_1964 In related news, Peter Murray-Rust is continuing to advocate the cause of open data – do have a read of the latest posts on his blog to see how he’s getting on. The Open Biblio community continues to be invaluable to the Open GLAM, Heritage, Access and other groups too and I would encourage those interested in such discussions to join up at the OKFN Lists page.

BiblioHack: Day 1

- June 14, 2012 in BibServer, Data, event, Events, JISC OpenBib, jiscopenbib2, licensing, lod-lam, minutes, OKFN Openbiblio, Talks, wp1, wp2, wp3, wp4, wp5, wp6, wp7, wp8, wp9

The first day of BiblioHack was a day of combinations and sub-divisions! The event attendees started the day all together, both hackers and workshop / seminar attendees, and Sam introduced the purpose of the day as follows: coders – to build tools and share ideas about things that will make our shared cultural heritage and knowledge commons more accessible and useful; non-coders – to get a crash course in what openness means for galleries, libraries, archives and museums, why it’s important and how you can begin opening up your data; everyone – to get a better idea about what other people working in your domain do and engender a better understanding between librarians, academics, curators, artists and technologists, in order to foster the creation of better, cooler tools that respond to the needs of our communities. The hackers began the day with an overview of what a hackathon is for and how it can be run, as presented by Mahendra Mahey, and followed with lightning talks as follows:
  • Talk 1 Peter Murray Rust & Ross Mounce – Content and Data Mining and a PDF extractor
  • Talk 2 Mike Jones – the m-biblio project
  • Talk 4 Ian Stuart – ORI/RJB (formerly OA-RJ)
  • Talk 5 Etienne Posthumus – Making a BibServer Parser
  • Talk 6 Emanuil Tolev – IDFind – identifying identifiers (“Feedback and real user needs won’t gather themselves”)
  • Talk 7 Mark MacGillivray – BibServer – what the project has been doing recently, how that ties into the open access index idea.
  • Talk 8 Tom Oinn – TEXTUS
  • Talk 9 Simone Fonda – Pundit – collaborative semantic annotations of texts (Semantic Web-related tool)
  • Talk 10 Ian Stuart – The basics of Linked Data
We decided we wanted to work as a community, using our different skills towards one overarching goal, rather than breaking into smaller groups with separate agendas. We formed the central idea of an ‘open bibliographic tool-kit’ and people identified three main areas to hack around, playing to their skills and interests:
  • Utilising BibServer – adding datasets and using PubCrawler
  • Creating an Open Access Index
  • Developing annotation tools
At this point we all broke for lunch, and the workshoppers and hackers mingled together. As hoped, conversations sprung up between people from the two different groups and it was great to see suggestions arising from shared ideas and applications of one group being explained to the theories of the other. We re-grouped and the workshop continued until 16.00 – see here for Tim Hodson’s excellent write-up of the event and talks given – when the hackers were joined by some who attended the workshop. Each group gave a quick update on status, to try to persuade the new additions to the group to join their particular work-flow, and each group grew in number. After more hushed discussions and typing, the day finished with a talk from Tara Taubman about her background in the legalities of online security and IP, and we went for dinner. Hacking continued afterwards and we celebrated a hard day’s work down the pub, lookong forward to what was to come. Day 2 to follow…

Open source development – how we are doing

- May 29, 2012 in BibServer, JISC OpenBib, jiscopenbib2, licensing, progress, progressPosts, projectMethodology, projectPlan, riskAnalysis, software, WIN, wp10, wp2, wp3, wp6, wp9

Whilst at Open Source Junction earlier this year, I talked to Sander van der Waal and Rowan Wilson about the problems of doing open source development. Sander and Rowan work at OSS watch, and their aim is to make sure that open source software development delivers its potential to UK HEI and research; so, I thought it would be good to get their feedback on how our project is doing, and if there is anything we are getting wrong or could improve on. It struck me that as other JISC projects such as ours are required to make their output similarly publicly available, this discussion may be of benefit to others; after all, not everyone knows what open source software is, let alone the complexities that can arise from trying to create such software. Whilst we cannot help avoid all such complexities, we can at least detail what we have found helpful to date, and how OSS Watch view our efforts. I provided Sander and Rowan a review of our project, and Rowan provided some feedback confirming that overall we are doing a good job, although we lack a listing of the other open source software our project relies on, and their licenses. Whilst such data can be discerned from the dependencies of the project, this is not clear enough; I will add a written list of dependencies to the README. The response we received is provided below, followed by the overview I initially provided, which gives a brief overview of how we managed our open source development efforts: ==== Rowan Wilson, OSS Watch, responds: Your work on this project is extremely impressive. You have the systems in place that we recommend for open development and creation of community around software, and you are using them. As an outsider I am able to quickly see that your project is active and the mailing list and roadmap present information about ways in which I could participate. One thing I could not find, although this may be my fault, is a list of third party software within the distribution. This may well be because there is none, but it’s something I would generally be keen to see for the purposes of auditing licence compatibility. Overall though I commend you on how tangible and visible the development work on this project is, and on the focus on user-base expansion that is evident on the mailing list. ==== Mark MacGillivray wrote: Background – May 2011, OKF / AIM bibserver project Open Knowledge Foundation contracted with American Institute of Mathematics under the direction of Jim Pitman in the dept. of Maths and Stats at UC Berkeley. The purpose of the project was to create an open source software repository named BibServer, and to develop a software tool that could be deployed by anyone requiring an easy way to put and share bibliographic records online. A repository was created at http://github.com/okfn/bibserver, and it performs the usual logging of commits and other activities expected of a modern DVCS system. This work was completed in September 2011, and the repository has been available since the start of that project with a GNU Affero GPL v3 licence attached. October 2011 – JISC Open Biblio 2 project The JISC Open BIblio 2 project chose to build on the open source software tool named BibServer. As there was no support from AIM for maintaining the BibServer repository, the project took on maintenance of the repository and all further development work, with no change to previous licence conditions. We made this choice as we perceive open source licensing as a benefit rather than a threat; it fit very well with the requirements of JISC and with the desires of the developers involved in the project. At worst, an owner may change the licence attached to some software, but even in such a situation we could continue our work by forking from the last available open source version (presuming that licence conditions cannot be altered retrospectively). The code continues to display the licence under which it is available, and remains publicly downloadable at http://github.com/okfn/bibserver. Should this hosting resource become publicly unavailable, an alternative public host would be sought. Development work and discussion has been managed publicly, via a combination of the project website at http://openbiblio.net/p/jiscopenbib2, the issue tracker at http://github.com/okfn/bibserver/issues, a project wiki at http://wiki.okfn.org/Projects/openbibliography, and via a mailing list at openbiblio-dev@lists.okfn.org February 2012 – JISC Open Biblio 2 offers bibsoup.net beta service In February the JISC Open Biblio 2 project announced a beta service available online for free public use at http://bibsoup.net. The website runs an instance of BibServer, and highlights that the code is open source and available (linking to the repository) to anyone who wishes to use it. Current status We believe that we have made sensible decisions in choosing open source software for our project, and have made all efforts to promote the fact that the code is freely and publicly available. We have found the open source development paradigm to be highly beneficial – it has enabled us to publicly share all the work we have done on the project, increasing engagement with potential users and also with collaborators; we have also been able to take advantage of other open source software during the project, incorporating it into our work to enable faster development and improved outcomes. We continue to develop code for the benefit of people wishing to publicly put and share their bibliographies online, and all our outputs will continue to be publicly available beyond the end of the current project.

DBLP releases its 1.8 million bibliographic records as open data

- December 9, 2011 in Data, licensing

The following guest post is by Marcel R. Ackermann who works at the Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz Center for Informatics on expanding the DBLP computer science bibliography.

Computer Science literature

Right from the early days of the DBLP, the decision has been made to make its whole data set publically available. Yet, only at the age of 18 years, DBLP adopted an open-data license. The DBLP computer science bibliography provides access to the metadata of over 1.8 million publications, written by over 1 million authors in several thousands of journals or conference proceedings series. It is a helpful tool in the daily work of researchers and computer science enthusiasts from around the world. Although DBLP started with a focus on database systems and logic programming (hence the acronym), it has grown to cover all disciplines of computer science. The success of DBLP wasn’t planned. In 1993, Michael Ley from the University of Trier, Germany, started a simple webserver to play around with this so-called “world wide web” everybody was so excited about in these days. He chose to set up some webpages listing the table of contents of recent conference proceedings and journal issues, some other pages listing the articles of individual authors, and provided hyperlinks back and forth between these pages. People from the computer science community found this quite useful, so he just kept adding papers. Funds were raised to hire helpers, some new technologies were implemented, and the data set grew over the years. The approach of of DBLP has always been a pragmatic one. So it wasn’t until the recent evolution of DBLP into a joint project of the University of Trier and Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz Center for Informatics that the idea of finding a licensing model came to our minds. In this process, we found the source material and the commentaries provided by the Open Knowledge Foundation quite helpful. We quickly concluded that either the PDDL or the ODC-by license would be the right choice for us. In the end, we choose ODC-by since, as researchers ourself, it is our understanding that external sources should be referenced. Although from a pragmatic point of view, nothing has changed at all for DBLP (since permissions to use, copy, redistribute and modify had been generally granted before) we hope that this will help to clarify the legal status of the DBLP data set.
For additional information about access to and technical details of the dataset see the corresponding entry on the Data Hub.
Credits: Photo licensed CC-BY-SA by Flickr user Unhindered by Talent.