OCLC to release 1 million bib records

At the
LODLAM
conference,
Roy Tennant
said that
OCLC
will be releasing the bibliographic info about the top million most popular books. It will be released in a linked data format, under an Open Database license. This is a very useful move, although we need to know what the license is. We can hope that it does not require attribution, and does not come with any further license restrictions. But Roy was talking in the course of a timed two-minute talk, so he didn’t have a lot of time for details.

[NOTE added June 6] The OCLC has clarified Roy’s remarks here.

Library Lab/The Podcast 002: Free Knowledge

Listen: 23:59
Also in ogg

Scholarly journals were once enormously expensive. Because they were pricey to produce — it took a lot of money to coordinate the peer review, and to edit, print, bind, and distribute all those volumes — access was pricey as well.

But digital publishing and collaboration has reduced many of the financial barriers to sharing research. And advocates of the “Open Access” model of scholarly publishing argue that when research journals are freely and openly accessible scholarly work flourishes.

Open access has picked up steam over the years as many journals have chosen to adopt the model from inception, and several more established journals have converted. The result has been an exponential growth in the number and kinds of articles that are easily accessible with the click of a button.

Peter Suber — a fellow at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society — is a leading policy strategist working for Open Access models. The Harvard Library Innovation Lab’s very own David Weinberger caught up with Peter for this week’s podcast to talk about Open Access, and the new challenges librarians face with making a growing body of digital scholarship actually usable and sortable.


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Creative Commons music courtesy of Brad Sucks and photo courtesy of eclecticlibrarian

Gaming the library

A couple of weeks ago while reading Jerome Lettvin’s obituary I noticed this gem:

“At MIT, his office in Building 20 was crammed with books, most overdue from the college library. Dr. Lettvin claimed he did not return them because the library would send him the students who wanted those books, and he would interview them as potential assistants.”

Jerome was gaming the library. He was holding onto resources that like-minded individuals desired in order to make professional connections. Cool.

Jerome’s approach clearly has some scaling problems and some issues surrounding content that can’t be stacked in an office (digital content), but he was onto something. People connect through works held at the library and the library should encourage these connections. How do we do that? I’m not sure, but I’m giving it some thought.