St. IGNUicus A humoristic creation of Richard M. Stallman (RMS) RMS is the father of the free software movement –a geek –a visionary St. IGNUicus shows an emphasis on the moral case for free software.
moral case and business case Other folks in the free software movement stress the need to demonstrate the business case for free software. They tend to avoid the word free, because free can mean cheap and cheap can mean bad. They use the term "open source software".
RMS and us Some of us are already developing and using free software. I say: we librarians need to learn more from the free software movement. We need to make the concepts coming of free software more a part of our business. Let us look at a key concept: free software.
free software according to RMS Free software comes with four freedoms –The freedom to run the software, for any purpose –The freedom to study how the program works, and adapt it to your needs –The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor –The freedom to improve the program, and release your improvements to the public, so that the whole community benefits
free speech and free beer Free software does not mean $0 The term "free" in free software should be interpreted as "freedom to do things with it".
what has this to do with us? Just replace free software with free information. Libraries are about free information. But the analogy is not quite as simple. –When we talk about free information, we usually mean things that we can freely read (download…). free as in: $0 –We do not usually mean free information as information we are free to do things with. Free as in freedom.
moral and business There is a moral case for free information. –We rely on it. There is a business case for free information. –We need to make our own.
we rely on the moral case The citizen should be informed… Individuals in the organization should have free access… This is how we justify resources given to us. Often, members of the community who pay get privileged access.
from moral case to business case To form the business case for free information, think of "free information" as "freedom to do things" rather than $0. Thus libraries can make a crucial business case for them as agents who transform information. Recall that there are whole industries out there that produces free information.
was this seminar not about open archives? Open archives are crucial tools for the development of libraries that transform freely available information. By analogy to the term "open archives" I will say that the "libraries that transform freely available information" are "open libraries". These are usually digital libraries.
what are open archives They are machines that may or may not store items. Data or metadata records about these items is being made available through a machine interface. One possible interface is defined OAI protocol for metadata harvesting. In the following I will be assuming that any open archive runs that protocol.
why do open archives matter Open archives are specifically set up to allow machine readable access to information. Thus presumably there is a permission to further process the information. "cogito, ergo sum" logic. You may think about the act to establish an open archive as an early 3 rd millennium digital ritual.
open archives and open libraries In the early history of open archives, their main use is as metadata repositories. We can build a simple open library by aggregating contents from many open archives. But we can do more.
what do open libraries do? Identify records found in open archives. Relate identified records in open archives with each other. These actions require human control.
example from RePEc There are 300+ archives that contribute to RePEc data about publications. That data has author name strings. A special open archive furnishes access control records. These records lists author names and paper record identifiers of the papers the author wrote. This is classic access control, but done by the authors. An open archive exports the author data…
why do authors register? Authors perceive the registration as a way to achieve common advertising for their papers. Author records are used to aggregate usage logs across RePEc user services for all papers of an author. Open archives at the RePEc user services export usage data.
open library idea: serials data Serial level information is a crucial component of academic library data. Idea: build and maintain free serial records. Two ways to build: –Use volunteers and collect in a decentralized way. –Make an expensive central collection, disseminate well, charge $$$ for record changes later.
another open library idea: law Much of the legal texts are de jure free. De facto there are two companies who have comprehensive collections and charge a lot of money for the free information bundled with proprietary information. Our moral case calls for a replacement! (it will also create jobs for us)
free legal open library Have all laws and cases –online (open archives) –as text (open archives) –identified (open library) Have citation metadata, so that legal citations can verified be while composing case data. Registration procedure to verify the integrity of data.
open library idea II: drugs Collect data on the composition of all drugs –drugs composition reported by drug companies, using open archives –drug components documented by the governments, using an open archive Open library brings the two together!
Am I crazy? Money does not make the world go round. Ideas do. When RMS proposed a free replacement for UNIX in the early 80s, most people dismissed the idea. Today it is reality! Similarly, when I started to work on RePEc a totally free and improved A&I dataset in 1993, nobody gave it a high probability to succeed. It will be a reality!
obstacles to open archives & open libraries lack of imagination lack of entrepreneurship inability to form alliances user-centered thinking document-centered thinking technical competence required –OAI PMH –XML and XML Schema –Unicode the "C" word
what I do for open libraries Create an open library for library science: the rclis (reckless) dataset. Create a supporting organization: the open library society. co-workers welcome!
conclusion The open library is a business idea to move free information powered by libraries from the paper to the digital world. Open archives are a sine qua non component of the business idea. Open archives furnish information that we are free to further process (as opposed to consume).
http://openlib.org/home/krichel Thank you for your attention!