[open-bibliography] Crowdsourcing orphan works

Dan Hagon axiomsofchoice at googlemail.com
Fri Sep 16 10:08:04 BST 2011


Hi,

I'm not currently a member of any okfn open-bibliography working group but I
believe this is an important issue that could be of interest to people on
this list.

I wonder if you've seen any of the coverage of the Author's Guild vs the
HathiTrust case (in case not there is a round up of it here:
http://chrisbourg.wordpress.com/2011/09/15/round-up-on-authors-guild-v-hathitrust/)?
The AG, by identifying candidates that should not be considered as potential
orphan works, have been attempting to show that the HathiTrust's process of
identifying orphan works is not fulfilling it's due diligence as effectively
as it should:
http://blog.authorsguild.org/2011/09/14/found-one-we-re-unite-an-author-with-an-%E2%80%9Corphaned-work-%E2%80%9D/
As
such this represents a serious threat to any efforts intended to address the
problem of orphaned works. The British Library estimates that about 40% of
in-copyright works are orphaned and so the issue for scholarship is acute
http://pressandpolicy.bl.uk/content/default.aspx?NewsAreaID=316

As pointed out here:
http://blog.authorsguild.org/2011/09/14/orphan-row-now-its-your-turn/#comment-310566511
the
efforts the AG are going to are actually showing that the system works (when
you have enough eyes, of course - as they now do) but it could do with some
improvement. The titles they've identified so far have been removed from the
candidates list which is given here
http://orphanworks.hathitrust.org/Search/Home?page=1&use_dismax=1 and
reproduced on their blog that I linked to above.

I'm just wondering if there's any mileage in learning from the successes of
this crowdsourcing effort and using it to compile a more effective set of
tools for working out if a work is truly an orphan work, certainly one
better than the HathiTrust have outlined:
http://www.lib.umich.edu/orphan-works/documentation In particular the
sources that those helping with the current crowdsourcing effort are using
seem to speed up the process considerably. Might it be useful to set up an
EtherPad to help compile this information? Would you know of anyone who
might like to help crowdsourcing rights holders, crowdsourcing the process
or who might benefit from having information about these resources?

Best regards,
Dan.
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