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2 minutes to read Posted on Friday April 18, 2014

Updated on Monday November 6, 2023

Promoting Interoperability: Working on Rights

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This article originally appeared on the DPLA website.  

When new Hubs become a part of the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA), they understand that their relationship with DPLA is not only about sharing data but also about improving data quality over time. As an aggregator of metadata from 20 Hubs and over 1,100 partners, DPLA is in a unique position to help our partners recognise and manage data quality issues. Data improvement happens locally in a number of ways including running scripts to make data more consistent and manual improvement over time of specific fields by partners, and on an international scale through collaboration to promote interoperability.

Recently, DPLA teamed up with our colleagues and friends at Europeana and Kennisland to promote global interoperability of our metadata, and specifically our Rights Statement fields. In October 2013, Europeana and the DPLA organised a first joint rights management workshop to explore this possibility in Boston, Massachusetts. While the workshop mainly focused on sharing experiences between the two projects, it also reinforced the intention to explore a closer collaboration in the field of rights labeling. As a result of further discussions between the DPLA and Europeana, a small joint working group to explore the possibilities for concrete collaborations in more detail has been established and will be led by Paul Keller, Europeana/Kennisland and Emily Gore, DPLA.

This important work will, above all, make rights clear to the end user and provide a framework for aggregators and our partners. With the creation and standardisation of actionable rights statements, users will know when a work is in the Public Domain, covered under a Creative Commons licence or is Rights Restricted, among other possible labels.

Copyright is an important topic and an enormous challenge for digital library initiatives. While there are many issues related to copyright and digitisation projects, the DPLA-Europeana Rights Labelling working group will focus on the specific needs of digital heritage aggregators, such as Europeana and the Digital Public Library of America.

The working group will be tasked with developing a proposal for a joint rights labelling infrastructure that would include at the minimum the following elements:

  • A proposal for the technical infrastructure. The existing Europeana Licensing Framework offers rights statements provided by third parties (the Creative Commons licenses and Public Domain Tools) and rights statements that have been developed by Europeana that are hosted on the Europeana portal. In order to provide rights statements that can be used by others it appears desirable to provide all rights statements from a ‘neutral’ namespace.
  • An initial list of rights statements. The working group should propose an initial list of rights statements that meets the needs of Europeana and the DPLA (as well as any other partners that have been identified by the working group).
  • A proposal for a governance structure. Digital heritage aggregators operate in a dynamic environment. As a result the rights statements will likely need to be updated/changed in order to meet the needs of the digital heritage aggregators. This means that both the infrastructure and the list of available rights statements need to be actively maintained. The working group should propose a governance structure that ensures the continued maintenance of the rights statements and the related infrastructure.
  • A proposal for sustaining the operation of the rights labeling infrastructure. It is assumed that initially the rights management infrastructure will be set up by Europeana and the DPLA and that the costs for setting up this infrastructure (which should be minimal) will be borne by both partners. The working group should propose a model for sustaining the continued operation of the rights management infrastructure once it is operational.

Working group members include:

  • Paul Keller (working group co-chair, Kennisland, Coordinator Europeana Licensing Framework)
  • Emily Gore (working group co-chair, DPLA, Director of Content)
  • Julia Fallon (Europeana, IPR and Policy Advisor)
  • Patrick Peiffer (Bibliotheque Nationale de Luxembourg)
  • Antoine Isaac (Europeana, Scientific Coordinator)
  • Lucie Guibault (Institute for Information Law)
  • Maarten Zeinstra (Kennisland, technical coordinator Europeana Licensing Framework)
  • Melissa Levine (U of Michigan, Lead Copyright Officer)
  • Greg Cram (NYPL, Assoc. Director of Copyright & IP)
  • Mark Matienzo (DPLA, Director of Technology)
  • Dave Hansen (University of North Carolina, Reference Librarian & J.D.)
  • Richard Urban (Florida State University, Asst. Professor)

The working group will hold our first meeting in April and is expected to conclude our initial work and release our findings and proposal for sustaining the rights labeling infrastructure by the fall of 2014.