Monday, September 15, 2014

Creative Commons at MWDL

Last month Jane Park from Creative Commons did a webinar for our network about Creative Commons tools and resources for librarians. Creative Commons licenses are tools that maximize digital sharing and innovation while mitigating risk for institutions and users of content alike.

Access to such tools is imperative for libraries because we make scholarly resources available to the public, often without a lot of clarity for what downstream users can do with the content. Can students repurpose an image for a PowerPoint presentation? Combine datasets to ask new and interesting questions? Create a funny meme of a historic photograph? 

Funny meme created from USU Historical Meme contest

Creative Commons licenses work within copyright law to encourage sharing and reuse of materials. They provide clarity to users about who holds copyright of an item and what rights the copyright owner would like to retain. For example, when I create a PowerPoint, I don't mind if other people reuse slides from my presentation so long as they credit me as the creator. 

My PowerPoints in SlideShare. Reuse away! 
In Creative Commons parlance, my PowerPoints would be available under a CC BY license. That means, as an author, I would be retaining my right to get credit for my work, but forgoing other rights, like the sole right to profit commercially from my PowerPoint slides. I'm just fine with that since I don't think my slides have a lot of commercial value. But I think they are valuable in other ways, like scholarly value, which is why it's important to share them as freely as possible. 

Jane gave four examples of ways that librarians can use Creative Commons in archiving and sharing their content:
Four ways librarians can use CC by Jane Park

The first way, using CC0 for library metadata, is something that MWDL already does when we share our metadata with the Digital Public Library of America. Any MWDL partner that does not want to share their metadata CC0 has the right to opt-out of sharing their metadata with DPLA, but no one has chosen to opt out yet.

As for the second way libraries can use CC, tagging resources with rights info, MWDL is going to start sharing our webinars CC BY on our website. Of course, we also encourage MWDL partners to add rights info in their metadata fields as well!

How is your library using Creative Commons licenses to make your content more open?

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