Aug 07 2007
Support open access to bibliographic data
- Bibliographic data are “mere facts”, and thus cannot be copyrighted within the United States.
- No ﬁnancial model predicated on ownership of such records is sustainable.
- Claiming ownership of bibliographic records removes them from the realm of the social.
- Providing open access to catalog and authority records will encourage their use on the wider Internet.
- The Library of Congress is required to charge for its cataloging distribution on a cost recovery basis, even though this cost model is not eﬃcient and harmful to the Library’s larger mission.
- Congress should permit the Library to distribute bibliographic records free of charge.
Open cataloging is social cataloging
- Under current models of shared cataloging, fees are paid to download copies of individual records.
- When errors are detected in these downloaded records, they are typically corrected in the local system only.
- Because a fee has been paid to access these records, there is no social obligation felt to contribute corrections back to the source.
- Locally changed records are much more expensive to maintain than those which are retained unchanged.
- Just as the open source model allows ordinary users to ﬁx and enhance the software they use, open cataloging allows changes to be contributed back to the community, improving the quality of records for all.
- Because open cataloging takes place in a social environment, social conventions can be used to solicit improvements in existing records.
- As an example, a social catalog can periodically ask a user who is requesting a record, and who has the described item in hand, to cross-check a few select ﬁelds.
Metadata should be created at the most appropriate point in the life of its data
- Records for books should be created by publishers.
- Records for journals should be created by the sponsors.
- Records for articles should be created by authors and their institutions.Name authority records should be created as early in an author’s career as possible, for example, on publication of their ﬁrst article in a peer-reviewed journal.
- Authors should be able to update their own authority records.