metadata

Europeana adopts new data exchange agreement, all metadata to be published under CC0

Diane Peters, September 22nd, 2011

Europeana — Europe’s digital library, museum and archive, and the first major adopter of the Public Domain Mark for works in the worldwide public domain — has adopted a new Data Exchange Agreement. The agreement, which data providers and aggregators will transition to by the end of 2011, authorizes Europeana to release the metadata for millions of cultural works into the public domain using the CC0 public domain dedication. All metadata for cultural works accessible via the Europeana portal, including previously-delivered metadata, will then be available for free and open re-use.

Additionally, the new agreement requires data providers to make best efforts to correctly identify content that is public domain as being public domain. Last October, Europeana announced plans to use the PDM as the standard mark for works free of known copyright that are shared via the Europeana portal, playing an important infrastructural role in the EU’s efforts to ensure that all works shared online are marked with rights information.

Europeana has also published non-binding Usage Guidelines that users of the metadata are asked to follow, including a specific request that users “actively acknowledge and give attribution to all the sources” of the metadata.

This is hugely exciting news for CC and open culture! Read more about the Data Exchange Agreement. Congratulations Europeana on your leadership!

Update: Europe’s national librarians support opening up their data via CC0

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The Technical Working Group for the Learning Resource Metadata Initiative is Announced

Greg Grossmeier, August 16th, 2011

We had a wonderful response from the Call for Participation in the Learning Resource Metadata Initiative (LRMI) Technical Working Group with highly qualified individuals and representatives from many leading organizations in the education field. (As you may recall, LRMI is a project led by Creative Commons and the Association of Educational Publishers to establish a common vocabulary for describing learning resources.) After consultation with the LRMI project partners, we needed to balance all the restrictions of an efficient, productive, and representative working group along with the large numbers of qualified potential members.

The LRMI Technical Working Group membership is:

  • Sheryl Abshire, Calcasieu Parish Public School System
  • Phil Barker, JISC CETIS
  • Dan Brickley, VU University Amsterdam
  • Brian Carver, UC Berkeley School of Information
  • Cable Green, Creative Commons
  • Greg Grossmeier, Creative Commons (Co-Chair)
  • Charlie Jiang, Microsoft
  • Michael Johnson, Full Potential Associates
  • Mike Linksvayer, Creative Commons (Co-Chair)
  • Joshua Marks, Curriki
  • Brandt Redd, Gates Foundation
  • Colin Smythe, IMS Global
  • Stuart Sutton, Dublin Core Metadata Initiative
  • Randy Wilhelm, netTrekker
  • Lee Wilson, PCI Educational Publishing

The first meeting of the Working Group will be a teleconference this Wednesday (August 17th). To follow along with the progress of the group, there is a public timeline and mailing list that anyone can join.

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Call for Participation: Learning Resource Metadata Initiative technical Working Group

Mike Linksvayer, July 18th, 2011

Or for short, LRMI tech WG CFP.

Read on for some exciting details about the Learning Resource Metadata Initiative, which we announced last month in collaboration with the Association of Educational Publishers.


The Learning Resource Metadata Initiative (LRMI) to create a common metadata vocabulary for describing learning resources is seeking the participation of education metadata experts to participate in a technical Working Group over the next 6-12 months.

Spurred by the growing need to make online learning resources more discoverable and the opportunity created by the launch of schema.org (a Bing/Google/Yahoo! project to develop and encourage use of metadata vocabularies which can be used to enhance search results), LRMI has been formed. Its goals, in brief:

  • Document an abstract vocabulary representing the most common descriptions of learning resources used by existing educational metadata standards (e.g., Learning Object Metadata), by online publishers of learning resources (whether a machine-readable vocabulary is used or not), and addressing the contemporary desire to link learning resources to learning outcomes (e.g., Achievement Standards Network).
  • Create a concrete expression of the abstract vocabulary for use within the schema.org hierarchy. Given this deployment target and the motivation to increase discoverability, utility for enhancing search queries and results will be a desired property for each term in the abstract vocabulary.
  • Create a concrete expression of the abstract vocabulary as RDF, for interoperability with other applications and existing vocabularies. This drives another desired property for abstract vocabulary terms — to mirror the semantics of existing education matadata vocabularies to the extent possible, so that explicit equivalences and refinements may be established, protecting existing investments in educational metadata made by publishers and curators of learning resources and by institutions to date.
  • Liaise with search engines, learning resource publishers, communities, and repositories, and other potential distributors and consumers of education metadata (e.g., Learning Management Systems vendors, National Learning Registry) to promote adoption and impact of the vocabulary.
  • Explain the impact, value, and use cases of a common education metadata vocabulary to the general public, decision-, and policy-makers.

In order to ensure that LRMI hits a “sweet spot” of addressing real learning resource publishing practices, the requirements of search engines, and interoperability with existing education metadata (and hence achieves widespread adoption by publishers, repositories, and search and other application developers), we require the active engagement of experts in the field. Thus we are issuing this Call For Participation:

Technical Working Group members wanted to participate in researching and writing LRMI vocabulary and expressions. Tentatively weekly teleconferences, two face to face meetings. Commitment averages 2hrs/week over 6-9 months. This is a volunteer commitment. However, we do have funding for travel to face to face meetings if required.

LRMI’s work will occur in public. One does not need to participate in the Working or Advisory groups to follow, comment on, and contribute to LRMI. All interested parties are encouraged to join the LRMI Google Group/mailing list.

Please direct interest in Working group participation privately to lrmi@creativecommons.org, or if you wish, to the public mailing list.

We strongly encourage interest from around the world. Educational metadata efforts have historically arisen from various parts of the world, and improving discoverability and interoperability of learning resources is truly a worldwide challenge and opportunity.

Prospective timeline (2011-2012)

July 18:

  • publish CFP

August 1

  • announce initial WG
  • first WG teleconference
  • preliminary findings on existing education metadata vocabularies and real world use

late August/September:

  • first WG F2F
  • request domain expert and list feedback on findings re existing education metadata vocabularies and real world use

September

  • publish findings on existing metadata vocabularies and real world use
  • request domain expert and list feedback on first rough draft of abstract vocabulary

October

  • publish first draft of abstract vocabulary
  • request domain expert and list feedback on schema.org and RDF expression first rough draft

November

  • second draft of abstract vocabulary; release candidate pending bugs found in developing schema.org and RDF expressions
  • submit schema.org expression to first stage of to be determined schema.org process
  • work intensively with early adopters

December-January

  • finalize abstract vocabulary, schema.org and RDF expressions
  • finalize list of launch/1.0 publisher and application adopters

January-March

  • denote 1.0 of abstract vocabulary, schema.org and RDF expressions
  • launch with array of publisher and application adopters

March-ongoing

  • maintain and fix bugs
  • work to make adoption universal
  • pass on maintenance to established standards organization
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4 Stars for Metadata: an Open Ranking System for Library, Archive, and Museum Collection Metadata

MacKenzie Smith, June 17th, 2011

This post was written by participants of the LOD-LAM Summit which was held on June 2nd/3rd in San Francisco and is crossposted on the Open Knowledge Foundation blog and the Open bibliography and Open Bibliographic Data blog. For author information see the list at the end of this post.

The library, archives and museums (i.e. LAM) community is increasingly interested in the potential of Linked Open Data to enable new ways of leveraging and improving our digital collections, as recently illustrated by the first international Linked Open Data in Libraries Museums and Archives Summit (LOD-LAM) Summit in San Francisco. The Linked Open Data approach combines knowledge and information in new ways by linking data about cultural heritage and other materials coming from different Museums, Archives and Libraries. This not only allows for the enrichment of metadata describing individual cultural objects, but also makes our collections more accessible to users by supporting new forms of online discovery and data-driven research.

But as cultural institutions start to embrace the Linked Open Data practices, the intellectual property rights associated with their digital collections become a more pressing concern. Cultural institutions often struggle with rights issues related to the content in their collections, primarily due to the fact that these institutions often do not hold the (copy)rights to the works in their collections. Instead, copyrights often rest with the authors or creators of the works, or intermediaries who have obtained these rights from the authors, so that cultural institutions must get permission before they can make their digital collections available online.

However, the situation with regard to the metadata — individual metadata records and collections of records — to describe these cultural collections is generally less complex. Factual data are not protected by copyright, and where descriptive metadata records or record collections are covered by rights (either because they are not strictly factual, or because they are vested with other rights such as the European Union’s sui generis database right) it is generally the cultural institutions themselves who are the rights holders. This means that in most cases cultural institutions can independently decide how to publish their descriptive metadata records — individually and collectively — allowing them to embrace the Linked Open Data approach if they so choose.

As the word “open” implies, the Linked Open Data approach requires that data be published under a license or other legal tool that allows everyone to freely use and reuse the data. This requirement is one of most basic elements of the LOD architecture. And, according to Tim Berners-Lee’s 5 star scheme, the most basic way of making available data online is to make it ‘available on the web (whatever format), but with an open licence’. However, there still is considerable confusion in the field as to what exactly qualifies as “open” and “open licenses”.

While there are a number of definitions available such as the Open Knowledge Definition and the Definition of Free Cultural Works, these don’t easily translate into a licensing recommendation for cultural institutions that want to make their descriptive metadata available as Linked Open Data. To address this, participants of the LOD-LAM summit drafted ‘a 4-star classification-scheme for linked open cultural metadata’. The proposed scheme (obviously inspired by Tim Berners-Lee’s Linked Open Data star scheme) ranks the different options for metadata publishing — legal waivers and licenses — by their usefulness in the LOD context.

In line with the Open Knowledge Definition and the Definition of Free Cultural Works, licenses that either impose restrictions on the ways the metadata may be used (such as ‘non-commercial only’ or ‘no derivatives’) are not considered truly “open” licenses in this context. This means that metatdata made available under a more restrictive license than those proposed in the 4-star system above should not be considered Linked Open Data.

According to the classification there are 4 publishing options suitable for descriptive metadata as Linked Open Data, and libraries, archives and museums trying to maximize the benefits and interoperability of their metadata collections should aim for the approach with the highest number of stars that they’re comfortable with. Ideally the LAM community will come to agreement about the best approach to sharing metadata so that we all do it in a consistent way that makes our ambitions for new research and discovery services achievable.

Finally, it should be noted that the ranking system only addresses metadata licensing (individual records and collections of records) and does not specify how that metadata is made available, e.g., via APIs or downloadable files.

The proposed classification system is described in detail on the International LOD-LAM Summit blog but to give you a sneak preview, here are the rankings:

★★★★ Public Domain (CC0 / ODC PDDL / Public Domain Mark)
★★★ Attribution License (CC-BY / ODC-BY) where the licensor considers linkbacks to meet the attribution requirement
★★ Attribution License (CC-BY / ODC-BY) with another form of attribution defined by the licensor
★ Attribution Share-Alike License (CC-BY-SA/ODC-ODbL)

We encourage discussion of this proposal as we work towards a final draft this summer, so please take a look and tell us what you think!

Paul Keller, Creative Commons and Knowledgeland (Netherlands)
Adrian Pohl, Open Knowledge Foundation and hbz (Germany)
MacKenzie Smith, MIT Libraries (USA)
John Wilbanks, Creative Commons (USA)

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Open Attribute, a simple way to attribute CC-licensed works on the web

Jane Park, February 7th, 2011

Open Attribute, “a suite of tools that makes it ridiculously simple for anyone to copy and paste the correct attribution for any CC licensed work,” launched today with browser add-ons for Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome. The add-ons “query the metadata around a CC-licensed object and produce a properly formatted attribution that users can copy and paste wherever they need to.”

If you use our license chooser and copy and paste the resulting HTML code into your website, then you’re pretty much good to go. Anyone who uses the Open Attribute browser add-on to query your site will automatically receive a formatted HTML or plain text attribution that they can copy and paste to give you the proper credit.

Open Attribute uses CC REL metadata found in the pages to generate the attribution metadata. You might remember that we developed a guide with real examples to make CC REL metadata much easier to implement: CC REL by Example contains example HTML pages, as well as explanations and links to more information. If you’re curious to see how Open Attribute pulls the metadata, the guide includes a specific section on Attributing Reuses.

Open Attribute is a direct result of the Mozilla Drumbeat Festival held last year in Barcelona on Learning, Freedom and the Web. See Molly Kleinman’s post for a more comprehensive run-down of the origins and team behind Open Attribute.

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CC REL by Example

Nathan Yergler, January 7th, 2011

The following is cross-posted from the CC Labs blog. Creative Commons technical team blogs at CC Labs about metadata, emerging standards, demos, prototypes, and Creative Commons’ technical infrastructure.

You may have noticed that the copy-and-paste HTML you get from the CC license chooser includes some strange attributes you’re probably not familiar with. That is RDFa metadata, and it allows for the CC license deeds, search engines, Open Attribute, and other tools to discover metadata about your work and generate attribution HTML. Many platforms have implemented CC REL metadata in their CC license marks, such as Connexions and Flickr, and it’s our recommended way to mark works with a CC license.

In an effort to make CC license metadata (or CC REL metadata) much easier to implement, we’ve created CC REL by Example. It includes many example HTML pages, as well as explanations and links to more information.

We’re hoping this guide will serve as a useful set of examples for developers and publishers who want to publish metadata for CC licensed works. Even if you just use CC licenses for your own content, now is a great time to take a first step into structured data and include information about how you’d like to be attributed.

You can find the source to the guide in git. Feedback and suggestions can be sent to webmaster@creativecommons.org.

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Educational Search and DiscoverEd

Alex Kozak, June 25th, 2010

Last week in the vuDAT building at Michigan State University, a group of developers interested in educational search and discovery got together to contribute code (in what’s commonly called a code sprint) to Creative Commons’ DiscoverEd project. Readers interested in the technical details about our work last week can find daily posts on CC LabsDay 1, Day 2, and Day 3.

DiscoverEd is a semantic enhanced search prototype. What does that mean practically? Let’s say you’re a ninth grade biology teacher interested in finding education resources about cell organelles to hand out to students. How would you go about that?

If you’re web savvy, you might open up a search engine like Google, Yahoo, or Bing and search for “cell organelles”. You’d find a lot of resources (Google alone finds over 11 million pages!), but which do you choose to investigate further? It’s time consuming and difficult to sift through search results for resources that have certain properties you might be interested in, like being appropriate for 9th graders, being under a CC license that allows you to modify the resource and share changes, or being written in English or Spanish, for example. As you throw up your hands in dismay, you might think “Can’t someone do this for me?!”

DiscoverEd is an educational search prototype that does exactly that, by searching metadata about educational resources. It provides a way to sift through search results based on specific qualities like what license it’s under, the education level, or subject.

Compare search results for “cell organelles” in Google, Yahoo, Bing, and now in DiscoverEd. You can see that finding CC licensed educational resources is friendlier because of the available metadata accompanying each result.

While most search engines rely solely on algorithmic analyses of resources, DiscoverEd can incorporate data provided by the resource publisher or curator. As long as curators and publishers follow some basic standards, metadata can be consumed and displayed by DiscoverEd. These formats (e.g. RDFa) allow otherwise unrelated educational projects, curators, and repositories to express facts about their resources in the same format so that tools (like DiscoverEd) can use that data for useful purposes (like search and discovery).

Creative Commons believes an open web following open standards leads to better outcomes for everyone. Our vision for the web is that everyone following interoperable standards, whether they be legal standards like the CC licenses or technical standards like CC REL and RDFa, will result in a platform that enables social and technical innovation in the same way that HTTP and HTML enabled change. DiscoverEd is a project that allows us to explore ways to improve search for OER, and simultaneously demonstrate the utility of structured data.

Continued development of DiscoverEd is supported by the AgShare project, funded by a grant from The Gates Foundation. Creative Commons thanks MSU, vuDAT, MSU Global, and the participants in the DiscoverEd sprint last week for their support.

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Opening Education–the little things you can do

Jane Park, September 25th, 2009

By now, you’ve heard and/or used the term OER (Open Educational Resources) a ton of times. Whether you’re an advocate for open education, promoting the use, reuse, and adaptation of openly licensed educational materials, or an everyday user of them because you find them convenient and effective for your teaching or learning needs, you have contributed in some way to improving the educational landscape for everyone, everywhere.

But there’s a lot of little things you can do to improve education and the educational process no matter who you are and where you’re located. These are things you do all the time as part of your professional or personal routines, such as filling out forms about your job or project, writing up summaries or abstracts on papers you’ve researched, or describing and tagging photos (aka adding metadata). These activities are also integral to the functioning of many open education projects, which depend on efforts from online communities consisting of persons like ourselves. A list of these projects are growing on OpenEd’s volunteer page, which currently points to projects like dScribe and AcaWiki. If your project could use help on a specific activity, please add it here! OpenEd is a wiki; anyone can edit.

dScribe needs descriptions for their medical images
dScribe has created over 200 images to aid instructors in their teaching, but they need to be made discoverable first! You can help by adding tags and short descriptions for one or two images. All images and their accompanying info will be licensed CC BY.

AcaWiki could use those summaries and abstracts you’ve written
AcaWiki makes summaries and literature reviews of peer-reviewed academic research available to the general public via CC BY, allowing people like us to easily find desired information. If you’ve written summaries and reviews for papers before, now’s the time to make them useful by uploading those files to AcaWiki. And if you regularly research and write up abstracts for class or for your own good, you can easily make uploading them a habitual part of the process. It only takes a couple of extra clicks.

We also encourage you to add your project or organization to ODEPO, ccLearn’s Open Database of Educational Projects and Organizations. Not only will this make your project more discoverable, it will enable better research across the landscape of open education related projects.

For other ways to get involved, see OpenEd’s Get Involved space.

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New web metadata validator released

Asheesh Laroia, January 6th, 2009

(This was originally published on CC Labs.)

This past summer, Hugo Dworak worked with us (thanks to Google Summer of Code) on a new validator. This work was greatly overdue, and we are very pleased that Google could fund Hugo to work on it. Our previous validator had not been updated to reflect our new metadata standards, so we disabled it some time ago to avoid creating further confusion. The textbook on CC metadata is the “Creative Commons Rights Expression Language”, or ccREL, which specifies the use of RDFa on the web. (If this sounds like keyword soup, rest assured that the License Engine generates HTML that you can copy and paste; that HTML is fully compliant with ccREL.) We hoped Hugo’s work on a new validator would let us offer a validator to the Creative Commons community so that publishers can test their web pages to make sure they encode the information they intended.

Hugo’s work was a success; he announced in August 2008 a test version of the validator. He built on top of the work of others: the new validator uses the Pylons web framework, html5lib for HTML parsing and tokenizing, and RDFlib for working with RDF. He shared his source code under the recent free software license built for network services, AGPLv3.

So I am happy to announce that the test period is complete, and we are now running the new code at http://validator.creativecommons.org/. Our thanks go out to Hugo, and we look forward to the new validator gaining some use as well as hearing your feedback. If you want to contribute to the validator’s development or check it out for any reason, take a look at the documentation on the CC wiki.

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CC Talks With: MusicBrainz

Cameron Parkins, October 28th, 2008

We recently had the pleasure of catching up with Robert Kaye, “lead geek” at MusicBrainz, a community music database that “attempts to create a comprehensive music information site.” Kaye fills us in on what is happening at MusicBrainz, including extensive background on the project, how they use CC licenses, and their goal to add broader support for classical music.

Where does MusicBrainz fit in the open content ecology?

MusicBrainz plays an important role in blazing the path for open databases. We know how to play with open source and music, and we have few examples of how to work
with open structured data. We work hard to make our data useful and available to people, as we believe that Metcalfe’s law also applies to data. Thus, getting lots of people to use our data makes MusicBrainz vastly more useful and valuable. With that in mind, we want to be the de-facto standard for music metadata in the open content ecology.
Read More…

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