Monday 3 August 2009

Implementing open data....and fruit skewers

Had an enjoyable day at the Beyond the Repository Fringe on Friday. Thanks a lot to the organisers.

The highlight for me was the tutorial from Jordan Hatcher & Jo Walsh on Implementing Open Data.

Jordan’s run down of the legal tools offered by Open Data Commons was useful. I was previously aware of these but thought it might be helpful to give a quick summary for those of you who are interested but couldn’t make it. For more details see

  • Public Domain Dedication and Licence (PDDL) This is a tool for putting your data and databases into the public domain. It demonstrates your desire to relinquish or waive your rights, effectively dedicating the data and database to the public domain. Because there can be some difficulty with waiving rights in certain jurisdictions it also licenses those same rights.
  • Community Norms Statement (CNS) Open Data Commons encourages the creation and use of a CNS as a complementary tool to the PDDL. A CNS sets out the general principles that those who use the data should adhere to. There is no set text for the CNSs as each community creates their own. However, you can see an example here. These are not legal documents so are not binding.
  • Open Database Licence (ODbL) This is a tool to allow users to freely share, modify, and use a database, while maintaining the same freedom for others. The licensor allows others to use the database freely while retaining rights them self rather than giving all rights up to the public domain. The ODbL includes a share-alike condition but imposes no constraint on field of endeavour so does not have a non-commercial element. The final version of this was launched just a month ago on 29th June.
  • Database Contents Licence (DbCL) This works alongside the ODbL. It waives all the rights in the individual contents of the database which is licensed under the ODbL. It does not cover database rights or database copyright.

P.S. loving the fruit skewers! Well done whoever thought of them.