15. Allow personal use of data for Reference Management

The supply of bibliographic data under an open license to be used by library members (and other users) in reference management software.

Description

Activity - The supply of bibliographic data to be used by library members (and other users) in reference management software (e.g. using Zotero or EndNote).
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Actors - Libraries; Suppliers of bibliographic data to libraries; Library members/users.
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Data involved - Bibliographic records.
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Data flow - Bibliographic data are made available either through standard interfaces or as downloadable files of selected records in appropriate formats.
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Does this require Open Data - Data made available by the library for these purposes needs to be open to the extent that a third-party can take, store and reuse the data.
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Current Examples - The vast majority of University and Research Library catalogues already offer this functionality (e.g. COPAC http://copac.ac.uk/faq/#import) though not typically under an open license.
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Benefits

Institution - Improved management of bibliographic data throughout research, teaching and learning processes.
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Library Service - Enhanced service to users, and possible benefits resulting from increased accuracy of citations in circulation within the institution (e.g. on reading lists).
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Researchers - Time saved in managing references and creating citations and bibliographies.
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Students - Time saved in managing references and creating citations and bibliographies.
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Replication - High, as this is regarded as relatively standard functionality for the library systems used in HE and Research Libraries.
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Case for not doing it - Concern that providing records for reference management software may be in breach of agreements with those supplying bibliographic records to the library.
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Motivation

Principles - Support for the academic workflow
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Costs - There may be a cost benefit to the institution by reducing the need for researchers and students to re-key bibliographic information which offers both an immediate time saving and improved accuracy and efficiency in the general management of references and citations.
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Rationale for not doing it - Uncertainty as to the legal status of the data
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Consequences of doing it as Open Data

What will happen? - Members of the library, and other users of the library catalogue, will be able to download records into personal reference management software, and other software that can make use of structured bibliographic data.
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Potential Risks - (1) Loss of control over institutional data; (2) The originator of elements of the bibliographic records challenges release as open data [see also UC1, UC2, UC3, UC4, UC5, UC6, UC7, UC16, UC17]
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Potential Opportunities - (1) Development of innovative / compelling third party services based on open data; (2) Creation of a distributed rich network of bibliographic data; (3) Third–party tools (LibraryThing, Mendeley) get better and better, as they gain more data and more users – and as those users largely originate inside Universities, the institutions also benefit, although in ways that may be difficult to quantify [see also UC1, UC2];
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Consequences of not doing it? - Library seen as failing to supply basic service which is generally available in all HE and Research Library catalogues.
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Rights and Licensing Issues

Rights and licensing issues - The JISC Legal resource “Transfer and Use of Bibliographic Records” (http://www.jisclegal.ac.uk/Projects/ TransferandUseofBibliographicRecords.aspx) differentiates between ‘Make available’ and ‘Use’. If records are provided to users who are not library members, this is seen as a ‘Make available’ activity, with associated issues outlined by the guide. Agreements with suppliers of bibliographic data to the library should be checked to ensure they allow this use, and under what restrictions. For the library associating rights and licenses with the records being downloaded by individuals, clearly any licenses should allow reuse in a wide variety of contexts, which must include some level of re-publication of the information contained in the records to allow use of the resulting references and citations in published work.
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Practicalities

Data exchange formatting - Reference management software is generally capable of importing bibliographic data in a variety of formats, including both open and proprietary standards. Common formats for downloading records and importing into Reference management software include MARC, RIS (http://www.refman.com/support/risformat_intro.asp) and BiBTeX (http://www.bibtex.org/). Some Reference Management software packages also support searching catalogues using the Z39.50 protocol and saving records directly.
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Lifecycle implications - None
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Hosting requirements - None
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Existing systems impact - In the unlikely event of the existing system not supporting appropriate download formats for end users, this would need to be added. However, it may be that formats need amending to work with specific packages, or new formats may need adding to support specific packages. Again Z39.50 is widely supported in Library management systems, although some configuration may be required.
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Skills demands - Configuration of the library system to offer appropriate download and/or Z39.50 access should fall within the capabilities of a systems librarian.
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Costs

Setup - If Z39.50 access is desired, there may be licensing costs associated with enabling this on the library management system, depending on expected level of use and whether Z39.50 is already enabled on the system. There may be some costs associated with staff time spent on the appropriate configuration of the library system.
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Ongoing - There may be some costs associated with staff time spent on providing support to users of the service. There may also be recurrent costs associated with providing Z39.50 access to the library catalogue.
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Cost of doing nothing - No additional costs will be directly accrued through inaction.
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