Feed Item: Model Language on Library Data Ownership | Disruptive Library Technology Jester

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Summary

"In September, Carl Grant wrote a blog post on the ownership of library data ('We have a problem… another vendor appearing to need education about exactly WHO owns library data') that has been rolling around my own thoughts for, well, months. The spark of Carl’s post was a Twitter conversation where a major library system vendor appeared to be taking steps to limit what library/customers can do with their own data.  This harkens back to the OCLC records use policy furor of 2008-2010. (In case you don’t remember, the heart of the matter was a proposed transition to a policy that seemed to significantly limit the reusability of descriptive information in WorldCat, particularly in light of new desired use cases like library linked data. I was one that was in favor of a more open policy.) There is a critical difference to note, though. In the OCLC records use policy case the feedback prompted the cooperative’s board of trustees to create a public forum for debate and rough consensus building. The result was a revised policy that was true to the needs of the cooperative while enabling new uses of data to be tried and implemented. In fact, we see tangible results of this effort in the recent announcement of library linked data embedded into WorldCat.org pages.1  What we have here is something quite different. The case that Carl points out involves a private company making a decision about a library’s data. And I don’t think this is limited to the named vendor; there can easily be other cases where vendors want to treat library data as a competitive advantage and make getting it difficult to keep that advantage. The channels to make the company’s management respond are limited and narrow. In fact, a public calling out may not be sufficient to get action. Carl’s post has suggestions on what libraries can do to protect themselves. I’d like to add one other possibility: the creation of model language that libraries can use at subscription or renewal time that spells out their expectations and desires for their data..."