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2011-09-06

International Linked Open Data in Libraries, Archives, and Museums Summit (Report)

The International Linked Open Data in Libraries, Archives, and Museums Summit (LOD-LAM) was held in San Francisco on June 2-3, 2011. LOD-LAM was sponsored by the Internet Archive with support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and the US National Endowment of the Humanities (Office of Digital Humanities). Participation was by invitation only; ones would need to apply first in order to attend the meeting. About 100 people participated in the summit, but few of them were from outside of Northern America and Europe. I think there were one Japanese, one Korean, and one Taiwanese. Many organizations are represented at the meeting including the US Library of Congress, British Library, Newberry Library (Library), California Digital Library, Internet Archive (Archives), the Met, Powerhouse, and Smithsonian (Museums), as well as educational institutions (e.g., MIT) and other non-profits (e.g., Creative Commons). A list of the participants is available from the event website.

LOD-LAM utilized an Open Space Technology meeting format. At first the participants collaboratively created the agenda for break-out sessions, then they dispersed into parallel and focused discussions. In the first day, seven rooms were used and each one was used for three 1.5 hours sessions. That was 21 sessions. In the afternoon of the first day, there was a "dort shorts" session where each person could use two minutes to present his/her project. In the second day, the discussions continued in parallel, and the meeting ended in an "closing circle" where each participant said a few words about the meeting and/or the subject matter of LOD-LAM. The following images capture the session schedules and the dort shorts line-up.

Break-out sessions (the first day)
Break-out sessions (the first day).
Dort shorts line-up.
"Dort shorts" line-up.
Break-out sessions (the second day)
Break-out sessions (the second day).

Given the many discussions undergoing at the meeting, I can only report on a few in which I participated. Because of my interest in e-publication format and RDFa, I attended the "RDFa and ePUB 3" session. My feeling is that people are not sure about whether embedding RDFa (meta)data in ePUB (hyper)text will be taken up soon by major publishers. It depends on, I think, whether the authoring tools and rendering devices will both support RDFa. (See also this blog post by Eric Hellman.) In the "Users" session, people focus on how to empower users to use and contribute to linked open data (See also this mind-map referred to in Karen Cough's post.) In the "Rights Issues" session, the participants come up with a 4-star classification-scheme for linked open cultural metadata inspired, I think, by the 5-star rating system on linked data by Tim Berners-Lee.

Incidentally, on the first day of LOD-LAM, the big three search engines Bing, Google and Yahoo! announced schema.org, an ontology and microformat aims to better markup web contents for semantics-rich search. Duly on the second day of the meeting, LOD-LAM participants spent some time discussing this new development. People seem to worry about whether they would need to retrofit their existing web contents just to have them better indexed, and served out to users, by the search giants. Interoperability issues between RDFa standards and schema.org practices are of great concerns to many as well. (See also a discussion in the tech community in the following week, also in San Francisco, at the SemTech 2011 BOF on structured data in HTML and vocabularies.)

Many nice projects were showcased at the dort shorts session in the first day. I can only list a few. The US Library of Congress now offers their name authority files for free download in addition to free online access (check this out: Lee, Teng-hui!). The British Library is providing British National Bibliography as (linked) free data services. sta.mn/n3v is a web page for every building in OpenStreetMap. Smithsonian Information hosts 7.4 million records and 570,000 digital objects. The project Linked Open Vocabularies (LOV) looks interesting and useful to me.

LOD-LAM offered a rare forum for experts from leading libraries, archives, and museums to exchange experience and viewpoint about using linking open data practices for sharing and reusing cultural data online. The meeting has provided an excellent venue for people to learn from one other and, jointly, to push forward the state-of-the-art. I feel that the LOD practices in the LAM arena are progressing very quickly. For some LAM organizations, LOD clearly is here and now. For others, there remain technology and institution barriers to opening up their datasets. It may take a while for openness and linkage to become a common practice, but surely everyone is working towards such a practice now.

For others' reports on LOD-LAM, please see the slides from Adrian Stevenson (UKOLN) and the notes by Laura Smart (Caltech Libraries). For a general overview on this subject, see also "How the W3C Has Come To Love Library Linked Data" which is written by Michael Kelley for the Library Journal.

Note: Obligatory trip report, submitted to Academia Sinica in September 2011.

2011-02-23

Now Is A Good Time to Read!

The Spring time is a not good time to read? Certainly not! Here are four recent publications which are sure to entice your reading interest. They are respectively on Creative Commons Licenses, Public Sector Information, Public Domain, and Open Access. Two are in English and two are in Chinese. Please see below their abstracts and the links to the full papers. Enjoy!

  1. Melanie Dulong de Rosnay, Creative Commons Licenses Legal Pitfalls: Incompatibilities and Solutions. Institute for Information Law, University of Amsterdam & Creative Commons Nederland. September 2010.

    Abstract:

    Creative Commons licenses have been designed to facilitate the use and reuse of creative works by granting some permissions in advance. However, the system is complex with a multiplicity of licenses options, formats and versions available, including translations into different languages and adaptation to specific legislations towards versions which are declared compatible among each other after an international porting process. It should be assessed whether all ported licenses cover exactly the same subject matter, rights and restrictions or whether small language differences may have an impact on the rights actually granted and legal security of current users or the availability of works for future generations to access and build upon. Besides, other possible sources of legal uncertainty and incompatibility, as well as their actual or potential consequences, need to be evaluated, such as the validity and enforceability of the licenses across jurisdictions with different and possibly inconsistent legislations, the variations between the licenses summary and the licenses text written in legal language, the interoperability with other copyleft licenses. This study presents the different licenses (chapter 2), identifies various possible sources of legal incompatibility (chapter 3), evaluates their actual impact (chapter 4) and finally proposes options to mitigate risks and improve compatibility, consistency, clarity and legal security (chapter 5). (Melanie Dulong de Rosnay)

  2. Paul F. Uhlir, rapporteur, et al., The Socioeconomic Effects of Public Sector Information on Digital Networks. National Academies Press, USA. 2009.

    Abstract:

    While governments throughout the world have different approaches to how they make their public sector information (PSI) available and the terms under which the information may be reused, there appears to be a broad recognition of the importance of digital networks and PSI to the economy and to society. However, despite the huge investments in PSI and the even larger estimated effects, surprisingly little is known about the costs and benefits of different information policies on the information society and the knowledge economy.

    By understanding the strengths and weaknesses of the current assessment methods and their underlying criteria, it should be possible to improve and apply such tools to help rationalize the policies and to clarify the role of the internet in disseminating PSI. This in turn can help promote the efficiency and effectiveness of PSI investments and management, and to improve their downstream economic and social results.

    The workshop that is summarized in this volume was intended to review the state of the art in assessment methods and to improve the understanding of what is known and what needs to be known about the effects of PSI activities. (Paul F. Uhlir, rapporteur, et al.)

  3. Tai-Jan Huang, The Other of Intellectual Property and Its Resistance: Public Domain and Creative Commons. Master Thesis, Department of Law, College of Law, National Taiwan University. August 2010. (In Chinese)

    Abstract:

    Facing the expansion of intellectual property in the late twentieth century, supporters of public domain often viewed creative commons licenses as a private action to resist the second enclosure and build their own public domain. Lawrence Lessig, founder of creative commons, defined creative commons as an "effective public domain" that aims to realize the vision of free culture. However, some scholars and activists have criticized the fuzziness of creative commons' ideology. From their point of view, creative commons is more like a copyright license than a public domain, a submission to property discourse than a subversive resistance. In this dissertation, I explored this issue through the concepts of "discourse" and "the other" borrowed from critical studies and post-colonial theory. Specifically, I analyzed the texts of "intellectual property discourse" in a critical historical approach. In this way, we might have more insight about the relationship between creative commons and intellectual property discourse.

    By exploring the formation and development of intellectual property discourse in England and U.S.A., I pointed out its function in soothing the anxieties of intellectual property rights holders, who more likely be capitalists than creators, and its structural embedded contradiction. Specifically, although "original genius" as an idea image of authorship repeatedly emerges when it come to the justification of proprietor exclusive and despotic power over its private property, to be a proprietor of an "original" work only needs to be a copier with bad eyesight who is incapable of making a perfect copy. The dichotomy of "private" expression and "public" ideas also plays a same role in soothing the anxieties of intellectual property rights holders while continually expanding the scope of their rights. In addition, the other of intellectual property — public domain — becomes an synonym of knowledge wasteland and commons of tragedy in which everyone suffers. This provides a further justification for the institution of intellectual property.

    Under the rule of Kuomintang government before it lifted its martial law, Taiwan's Copyright registration system, in which creators need to register its work to acquire copyright, had long be an content-based speech regulation. Although we may doubted its significance in regulating speech compared to publication law, it seems that to some degree government regarded speech with a copyright "license" as a symbol of lawful speech. Instead of arguing from the perspective of free speech, lawyers, scholars and "Copyright Owners Association of Republic of China" tended to invoke intellectual property discourse. They argued that owing to the fact that copyright is a natural right, the copyright registration system unduly limited property rights secured by Constitution. In 1985 Copyright Act, Taiwanese work no longer need to registered to acquired copyright. Although intellectual property discourse played an vital role in this legal reform, it also reinforced the status of public domain of being the other. Because no one has a exclusive right over public domain, the Taiwan High Court think it is unnecessary to confirm its legal status. Furthermore, when U.S.A. demanded Kuomintang government to let their public domain movies regain copyright protection by applying new copyright act's copyright duration, the activists who against this proposal couldn't appeal to rights discourse because they had "no rights" in public domain work.

    In addition, from the two case studies, unauthorized books and computer programs in Taiwan, I argued there are two notable phenomenons when it comes to the resistance to of intellectual property discourse: submission in seemly resistance and resistance by acknowledging some elements of intellectual property discourse. In intellectual property discourse, the dichotomy between public domain and intellectual property also represents an evolution from barbarian to civilized, lawless to order, undeveloped to developed. In this vein, some "resistance" in Taiwan premised on this linear evolution theory, arguing the "modern" intellectual property law is too early for undeveloped and primitive Taiwan to adopt. On the other hand, owing to the fact that there are structural embedded contradiction in intellectual property discourse, we could see some lawyer and scholars who were familiar with intellectual property discourse, adopted a subversive strategy by acknowledging some elements of intellectual property discourse.

    We could also see this complex submission and resistance relationship between creative commons and intellectual property discourse. By acknowledging the primacy of "author," creative commons regarded itself as a tool to replace the intermediaries. However, there are some pitfalls in this strategy. Without re-imagine the idea of authorship, instead of voicing out dissents and alternatives, creative might replicate the intellectual property discourse, especially in Taiwan where creative commons is more like a promotion aided by government than a grassroots movement. Thus, in this dissertation, I propose an concept of "cultural common property" in the lens of "inter-dependent participative authorship in cultural landscape" to rethink the future of creative commons and information environment movement. (Tai-Jan Huang)

  4. Ted Lau et al., Prospect of Open Access. Science & Technology Policy Research and Information Center, National Applied Research Laboratories, Taiwan. October 2010. (In Chinese)

    Preface:

    Open Access is a new model in scholarly communication that has increasingly caught the attention of governments in many countries. It is an attempt to provide to the academics and the society with free, direct, and more timely academic papers and information. In the US, since 2008 SPARC (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) together with other academic and research libraries have designated one week in October as the Open Access Week. In Taiwan we could not possibly be outside of this international trend. Although there have been several workshops on Open Access in Taiwan, and scholars have been publishing papers in related areas, however, there is yet to have a monograph on this subject. This report is the first among the publications in Chinese in our country that investigates the theme of Open Access. Its coverage is broad and comprehensive. In addition to addressing issues on open access to academic research papers which traditionally have been emphasized by the librarian community, this report also writes about a newer concept — Open Data. It also introduces the technical infrastructure of Open Access which shall be useful for our understanding about the development and opportunity of the Open Access movement. This report is also the first among the publications of the Science & Technology Policy Research and Information Center (STPI), National Applied Research Laboratories (NARL), to be released under a Creative Commons License. As such, itself is a demonstration of the Open Access innovation. (This is an abridged translation of the Chinese preface by Bou-Wen Lin, the director of STPI, NARL, for the report.)

Note: This entry was first posted at the Creative Commons Taiwan web site.


春天就是讀書天!

誰說春天不是讀書天?在這裡跟大家介紹四本近期的論文和報告,其中兩本以英文撰寫,兩本是中文的,主題分別與創用CC授權的法律分析、公部門資訊的再次使用、文化共有財產的回顧省思、以及開放近用的趨勢發展相關。在此也簡短介紹一下作者。Melanie Dulong de Rosnay 是法國CC計畫的啟始人,目前在荷蘭阿姆斯特丹大學研究,也加入了荷蘭CC計畫的團隊,她的論文《創用CC授權的法律缺失:不相容性以及解決方式》對創用CC授權的法律實務議題,進行了系統性的分析。Paul F. Uhlir 是美國國家科學院的主任,他所編寫的《數位網路中公部門資訊的社會經濟效益》是2008年一場關於公部門資訊的研討會彙編,涵蓋了來自美國、加拿大、德國、英國、荷蘭、義大利、澳洲等各國專家的分析報告。黃泰然的碩士論文《智慧財產的他者及其抵抗:公共園地與創意共用》檢視西方智慧財產論述的發展,討論戰後台灣著作註冊審查制度,並省思創意共用與資訊環保運動的定位與未來。劉聰德等人的《開放近用的機會與展望》,探討開放近用運動的現狀與趨勢,是財團法人國家實驗研究院所屬科技政策研究與資訊中心的研究報告。

以下分別列出全文的連結與摘要,以饗讀者:

  1. Melanie Dulong de Rosnay, Creative Commons Licenses Legal Pitfalls: Incompatibilities and Solutions 《創用CC授權的法律缺失:不相容性以及解決方式》. Institute for Information Law, University of Amsterdam & Creative Commons Nederland. September 2010.

    摘要:

    創用CC授權條款以事先授予許可權利的設計,方便了著作的利用與再次使用。然而這是套繁複的系統:有多樣的授權條件、格式、與版本,其中包括翻譯為多種語言、適用各特定法律體系的版本;在多國移植過程 (international porting process) 之後,各版本被宣告為彼此相容。必須評價的是:這些授權條款的所有移植版本是否涵蓋相同的客體、權利、與限制?還是語言上的小差異會影響所授予的權利,而對授權條款的使用者、或是對所授權作品在以後的使用增修上,會有法律安定性的問題?此外,對於法律不確定性與不相容性的其他可能來源,其實際或可能後果,也需要加以評估。例如,因著不同司法管轄區不同甚至不一致的法律體系,而有授權條款有效性與可執行性的議題;授權標章文字與授權條款文本差異的議題;以及與其它著佐權 (copyleft) 授權條款在相容性的議題等。本研究呈現不同版本的授權條款(第二章),評價它們的實際影響(第四章),最後並提出方案,以減低風險並增進相容性、一致性、清晰性、以及法律的安定性(第五章)。(筆者譯自 Melanie Dulong de Rosnay 原著中的英文摘要)

  2. Paul F. Uhlir, rapporteur, et al., The Socioeconomic Effects of Public Sector Information on Digital Networks 《數位網路中公部門資訊的社會經濟效益》. National Academies Press, USA. 2009.

    摘要:

    世界各國政府雖然在公部門資訊 (Public Sector Information, PSI) 的公開發佈和再次使用上作法各有不同,但似乎都體認到數位網路以及公部門資訊對經濟和社會的重要性。然而,儘管在公部門資訊上的巨大投資,以及可預期的更大效益,我們對於不同資訊政策在資訊社會以及知識經濟上的成本效益議題,知道的其實很少。

    目前已有一些評價方法以及其所依據的標準,經由瞭解它們的強項和弱點,應該可以增強並應用這些工具,將政策合理化,並釐清網際網路在傳佈公部門資訊的角色。因此也更能在投資與管理公部門資訊這方面,增進效率與效用,提昇下游的經濟和社會成果。

    此次研討會的討論集結為本書的用意,就在於回顧目前的評價方法,並增進我們對公部門資訊在效用上的現有以及該有的瞭解。(筆者譯自 Paul F. Uhlir 等人原著中的英文摘要)

  3. 黃泰然。《智慧財產的他者及其抵抗:公共園地與創意共用》。國立臺灣大學法律學院法律學系 碩士論文。2010年8月。

    摘要:

    在智慧財產的圈地浪潮下,創意共用(creative commons)被許多公共園地(public domain)的支持者認為是拯救與擴大公共園地的行動方案。一手促成創意共用的 Lawrence Lessig 更以為創意共用授權在技術上雖然沒有擴大公共園地,但這種展示分享的「實質公共園地」,將有助於自由文化的實現。儘管如此,不少論者指出以智慧財產為基礎,強調作者自由選擇的創意共用授權,反而是深化了財產權的意識,從而鞏固了Lessig所反對的允准文化。究竟,創意共用是對智慧財產的抵抗還是認同?是促長了自由文化,還是允准文化?就此問題的回答,本文嘗試以在文化研究與後殖民研究中,常見的「論述」(discourse)與「他者」(the other)的理論概念,透過批判性的歷史檢視,去看見創意共用它所抵抗與認同的對象 — 智慧財產論述。本文認為透過此種取徑,我們將可以更清楚地了解創意共用與智慧財產論述的關係,乃至其與過去抵抗策略的相同與差異,從而在歷史的縱深下,去思考可能的方向。

    首先,本文會以英美的歷史發展為經,去探討智慧財產論述的形成過程以及其特色與作用。 本文認為自安妮法案,這個一般認為是第一個保障作者的著作權法開始,其所提示的其實是書商或者後來的資本家,如何透過環繞在「作者」形象上的論述,去正當化其就智慧財產的權利/力行使。這些論述往往是矛盾與斷裂的,但就其服務於資本家的利益而言,卻是必要的。 思想與表達的公共與私有的二元區分,也有同樣的功能。而作為智慧財產的他者,公共園地則被描繪為知識的荒原,從而證立了智慧財產的必要性。

    在批判性地檢視西方智慧財產論述的發展與作用後,本文將討論戰後台灣註冊審查制度的發展。此一註冊審查制度在戒嚴時期的台灣,屬於輔助性的言論管制。而訴諸智慧財產論述中私有財產權利的講法,是註冊審查制度在1985年可以改為創作取得主義的主要推力之一。 但是,智慧財產論述的移植與深化,也使得公共園地成為權利的他者,成為一個因為沒有人「所有」,所以不能被確認之訴確認存在的「荒地」;而在美國八零年代堅持將進入公共園地的「十年舊片」,重新予以著作權保護的例子中,我們也可以發現錄影帶業者即使感覺到他們的「權利」被侵害了,但進入法律的語言,他們只能訴諸法安定性與國法尊嚴的民族情感,反而是圈地者可以主張個人權利的保障應從新從寬。

    此外,從西書翻印與電腦軟體著作權保護的兩個案例切入,我會討論「抵抗中的認同」與「認同中的抵抗」兩種現象。在智慧財產與公共園地的文明/原始、進步/落後、開發/未開發、繁榮/荒涼、秩序/海盜二元對應的演化關係中,公共園地被看做落後、野蠻與原始的他者,而智慧財產則是先進、法治與現代的理想的我。戰後台灣的一些「抵抗」論述,其成立前提反而是「認同」此一二元對應關係 — 主張台灣還屬「落後」國家,因此「先進」國家如美國的法律,尚不適合台灣「國情」。另一方面,因為智慧財產論述的內部存在著許多潛藏的矛盾與緊張。因此,在逐漸熟悉西方智慧財產理論的台灣,也開始有論者,在「認同」智慧財產論述內的法理前提下,「抵抗」美國等西方中心國家所排定的議程。

    發源於美國的創意共用授權,與智慧財產論述之間,同樣也有複雜的認同與抵抗關係。本文認為就中介人與作者的利益矛盾而言,創意共用採取的即是在「認同」作者權利下,予以拆解的「抵抗」策略;但是,此種「認同中的抵抗」,因為創意共用未從內部重新想像智慧財產,反而是複製的智慧財產論述的話語,因此很容易變質為「抵抗中的認同」,特別是在缺乏由下而上的運動力量的台灣,更係如此。因此,本文嘗試從「文化景觀裡互相依賴的參與式作者」(inter-dependent participative authorship in cultural landscape)的理念出發,提出「文化共用財產」(cultural common property)的概念,重新省思創意共用與資訊環保運動的定位與未來。(黃泰然)

  4. 劉聰德、張朝欽、梁晉嘉、謝青宏、任孝祥、林聖勇、林康藝、蔡艾玲。《開放近用的機會與展望》。財團法人國家實驗研究院 科技政策研究與資訊中心2010年10月。

    序:

    在知識經濟的時代,知識密集的研究活動扮演著日益重要的角色,各國政府除了重視基礎科學水準的提升,也希望研究成果有效流通,以激發創新與加值,更提昇國際社會整體的科技發展與進步。學術資訊與知識的自由流通,以及學術文獻無障礙地交流,一直是追求卓越學術研究者的理想。從十七世紀紙本學術期刊的初步形成、學術社群的信件來往,到二十一世紀電子化學術期刊成為常態的出版方式以及數位圖書館的進步,學術溝通的媒介和形式不斷地演進,政府學術相關的決策者不能不正視這個種變化,加以瞭解、輔助和引導,特別是在創新密集的時代,學術溝通更須加速,研究成果必需更加直接地和無時差地在整體社會中交流。

    「開放近用 (open access)」是近年來逐漸為各國政府所重視的一種學術溝通的創新模式,試圖在資訊化社會的數位環境中,提供給學術界和整體社會免費的、直接的和更加即時的學術文獻和資訊。美國的「學術出版與研究聯盟(SPARC)」並於2008年結合其它的學術圖書館組織,明訂每年的10月中旬的一個星期為「開放近用週」,台灣亦當無自外於國際學術發展潮流。過去,國內學界雖曾舉辦過開放近用研討會,學者亦曾發表過開放近用的論述於各期刊,但尚無專書出版。本書為國內中文書籍中,首次以探討開放近用為主題的專書,內容廣泛並完整,除了傳統圖書館界所推動著重於學術論文的開放近用,還引進了較新興的開放資料 (open data) 觀念,並介紹了開放近用的技術基礎,有助於國人瞭解開放近用運動的發展和機會,並接軌國際思潮。此外,本書亦為科技政策研究與資訊中心的出版品中,首次採用創用CC授權的出版刊物,為開放近用的創新模式做了一種示範。(財團法人國家實驗研究院 科技政策研究與資訊中心 林博文主任序)

註:本文先前已刊於台灣創用CC計畫網站

2011-02-10

Free Access to and Re-use of Public Sector Information

We regret this entry is not available in English.


公部門資訊的自由取得與再次使用

政府部門和公有企業因為本身在運轉經營上的需要,會持續生產大量的資料與文件。這些資訊一般稱為「公部門資訊」(PSI, Public Sector Information)。根據「經濟合作與發展組織」(OECD)的定義 [1],公部門資訊具有以下的特質:「公部門因為其功能而直接產生(例如氣象資料,經濟統計)、以動態連續方式產生、而且可以直接用於商業應用」。這些資料包括地理空間資料、人口統計、健康醫療資訊、社會經濟指標、科學研究資料庫等。許多這些資訊不僅是公共出資的研究產出,對研究者也有很大助益。公部門資訊目前常以數位的方式呈現,有些還可以在網路上直接取得,也因為這些資訊的普遍價值,許多國家的政府也逐漸評估、推廣其使用。本文以下將介紹公部門資訊在開放使用上的國際趨勢與作法。

我國著作權法第九條,「憲法、法律、命令或公文」不得為著作權保護之標的。其中所稱的公文,「包括公務員於職務上草擬之文告、講稿、新聞稿及其他文書」。另外,我國政府資訊公開法第五條,「政府資訊應依本法主動公開或應人民申請提供之」,其中所稱的政府資訊,「指政府機關於職權範圍內作成或取得而存在於文書、圖畫、照片、磁碟、磁帶、光碟片、微縮片、積體電路晶片等媒介物及其他得以讀、看、聽或以技術、輔助方法理解之任何紀錄內之訊息」。不過,著作權法所稱之公文,在性質上應屬靜態的行政歷往紀錄,不盡是動態連續產生的性質。同時,政府所公開或提供的資訊在人民取得之後,是否可自行使用於任何其他用途,似未有明確的規範。

美國的著作權法規定,聯邦政府雇員在工作上產出的著作皆屬於公有領域(Public Domain),事實上,美國聯邦政府本身即是公有領域最大的生產者之一。美國行政管理和預算局(OMB, Office of Management and Budget)的 A-130 號通告,對於美國政府資訊的流通使用設立了一般性的原則,並鼓勵政府部門以邊際成本(亦即資訊提供這項工作本身的成本),來提供政府資訊;若是於線上提供,就應該免費 [2]。而歐盟、英國、澳洲和部份國家,對政府部門的著作產出以及許多公部門資訊,大多主張著作權利保留,這與美國非常不同。歐盟對於資料庫另有 96/9/EC 號指令給予法律保護,形成公部門資訊在自由使用上的障礙,而資料庫在美國與我國並無類似法律保護。雖然歐盟對於公部門資訊,也提出 2003/98/EC 號指令,鼓勵其再次使用,但一般認為,相較於歐盟等國家,美國在資訊服務的快速發展(如 Google Map 線上地圖等加值服務),和公部門資訊(如聯邦政府所產出的地理空間資料)在美國歸屬於公有領域,可自由取得、再次使用,有相當的關聯。

公部門資訊的開放使用,除了有助於資訊服務產業以及新市場的發展,這些資訊本身也能增進市場的透明和效率,有利個人成為社會經濟活動的積極參與者,並促進相關研究工作的進行。除了在經濟層面上直接與間接的好處之外,公部門資訊的即時與正確發佈,也是公部門行政效率的一種指標;公部門資訊可被自由取得和使用,也是政府體制透明負責的表徵,人民當家作主的例證。也因此在政治與政策層面上,美國、英國、澳洲、紐西蘭等民主國家正大力推展公部門資訊的開放與使用。

美國歐巴馬總統於2009年上任後,在給行政部門首長的「透明與開放政府」備忘錄中,指出政府是透明的、政府是參與的、政府是協力的 [3]。美國行政管理和預算局,也於2009年12月發佈「開放政府指令」 [4],要求各行政部門採行以下的步驟:一、線上發佈政府資訊,二、增進政府資訊的品質,三、建立並制度化開放政府的文化,四、建立政策架構以促成開放政府。這項指令的立即成果是 data.gov , 這個網站上有來自各行政部門的公部門資訊,都用開放格式整理紀錄。隨著「開放政府」(Open Government)的政策倡議 [5][6][7],不僅在美國,在英國(data.gov.uk)、澳洲(data.australia.gov.au)、紐西蘭(data.govt.nz)等國家,公部門資訊在開放使用的實務工作上,都獲得廣泛的重視與進展。值得注意的是,英國、澳洲、紐西蘭等國家,因為公部門資訊大多受著作權或是資料庫權利保護,所以在政策與實務作法上,這些國家的政策都鼓勵政府部門採用創用CC授權條款,尤其是最寬鬆的創用CC「姓名標示」授權條款,來釋出公部門資訊。

公部門資訊的開放使用,不僅只是在中央政府的層級,許多地方政府,也都有公部門資訊入口網站,例如,倫敦(data.london.gov.uk)、舊金山(datasf.org)、以及溫哥華(data.vancouver.ca)等。民間組織則如美國的公有資源組織(Public.Resource.Org),英國的開放知識基金會(Open Knowledge Foundation),以及歐盟的公部門資訊平台(European Public Sector Information Platform),也都持續關注這方面的議題。

以上介紹了國際上公部門資訊在開放使用上的趨勢與作法,在本文的最後,回到台灣的現況,筆者想試著提出幾個問題:請問您瞭解台灣公部門資訊的取得與使用方式嗎?如果您關心規劃中的石化工業區對周圍環境的影響,想自行或是委託顧問公司進行環境影響評估,而必須整批取得內政部掌有的地圖資料 [8]、環保署的空氣品質監測資料 [9]、以及中央氣象局的氣候監測資料 [10],自行整合進行模型建立與模擬,您認為在資訊的取得以及再次使用上,在這個例子上,會是容易還是困難呢?

註:本文先前已登在第五十六期《創用CC電子報》(2010年12月3日發刊),並同時刊於台灣創用CC計畫網站


[1] OECD. Digital Broadband Content: Public Sector Information and Content. ^

[2] Nancy Weiss. Overview of U.S. Federal Government Information Policy. Appear as Chapter 2 in, Paul F. Uhlir, Rapporteur, The Socioeconomic Effects of Public Sector Information on Digital Networks. ^

[3] Barrack Obama. Transparency and Open Government. ^

[4] Peter R. Orszag. Open Government Directive. ^

[5] Lindsay Tanner. Declaration of Open Government. ^

[6] New Zealand Government Open Access and Licensing (NZGOAL) framework. ^

[7] International Open Government Data Conference. November 15-17, 2010, Washington, D.C., USA. ^

[8] 內政部,國土測繪中心^

[9] 行政院環境保護署,空氣品質監測網^

[10] 中央氣象局^

2009-12-04

Free Culture Research Workshop 2009 (Report)

Free Culture Research Workshop 2009 took place at Harvard Law School on October 23, 2009. This one-day workshop was attended by about 50 scholars and practitioners interested in emerging issues and challenges connected to "Free Culture" (as exemplified by collaborative production of culture artifacts such as Wikipedia, and the enabling technologies, legal agreements, and social norms behind them). The participants necessarily come from different disciplines — anthropology, economics, law, and information technology, among others — but have been previously engaged in research and investigation in various aspects of Free Culture. As such, this workshop provides a rare opportunity for this diverse group of people to interact and jointly reflect on their findings, to develop possible research agendas, and to facilitate collaborations. The workshop agenda, as well as the essays submitted by the participants, are available at the workshop website.

The workshop was opened by welcome remarks from the Berkman Center for Internet & Society, Harvard University, and the NEXA center, Politecnico di Torino (the main sponsors of the workshop). After a brief opening by Lawrence Lessig, Jonathan Zittrain facilitated a warm-up session where the participants introduced themselves. The main part of workshop consisted of three sessions, each lasted 1½ hours. As there were a large number of participants, no podium presentation was used, instead each session proceeded by a themed discussion led by a moderator (who had read all essays related to the theme of the session). The themes for the three sessions were "Lessons from Practice" (moderated by Aaron Shaw), "Free Culture and the Marketplace" (moderated by James Grimmelmann), and "Free Culture in Society" (moderated by Nagla Rizk). A one-hour wrap-up session was moderated by Giorgos Cheliotis and Elizabeth Stark held at the end, and was followed by some summary comments from William Fisher.

Given the conversational nature of the sessions, I can only recall, overly simplifying and subjective, what I still remember now of my understanding then of the discussions. The participants' essays at the workshop website are the definite sources of their viewpoints. (Note that not everyone who had submitted an essay did come to the workshop.) In the first session, the discussions are around what are Free Culture practices, and what are (shaping) the current landscapes of these practices. There is some argument for more quantitative measurements (e.g., statistics on CC license adaptations), but also about what are to be measured and how. (Do we recognize every form of Free Culture?) Issues of governance, in organizations like Creative Commons and in collaborations for culture productions, are also raised.

For the "Free Culture and the Marketplace" session, I am attracted to the essays by Bodó Balázs, Judith Donath, James Grimmelmann, and Yuri Takhteyev. They explore the various "free" factors (as in cost and in expression) in people's interactions to one another, in group dynamics, and in their interfaces to relationships established by monetary transactions. My reading is that the convenient analogy between free software and free culture is not really satisfactory. In the discussion, I used a Karaoke get-together to illustrate that free culture is not about free cultural artifacts (i.e., duplicating the sound tracks), but more about uncensored cultural practices (i.e., singing with friends). I wish I had deliberated my thoughts better.

The last session includes several interesting essays, e.g. by Julie Cohen, Gabriella Coleman, and Zac Zimmer, which offer legal, political, social, and even literarily critical views of freedom in the current copyright regime. The discussions, however, more or less center on whether Free Culture is a social movement, and if it is, what constitutes this movement, what it aims to change, and how. My feeling is that there is little agreement on what the Free Culture movement is (if there is one), as we have yet to fully comprehend what Free Culture is. I think it is also premature to equal what Creative Commons licenses can do with what Free Culture is about. But this is just my opinion. The participants agree, however, that more research shall be done, and ones shall ask critical research questions.

One of the pleasures in participating in a research workshop like this is to meet colleagues and friends whom one does not often get to meet face-to-face. I was very happy to see Shunling Chen (SJD candidate, Harvard Law School), Mike Linksvayer (VP, Creative Commons), John Wilbanks (VP, Science Commons), and quite a few Creative Commons jurisdiction project leads at the workshop. At the morning of October 24, the day after the workshop, CC jurisdiction project leads and representatives from China Mainland, Finland, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Singapore, and Taiwan also got together with Diane Cabell (Corporate Counsel, iCommons), Mike Linksvayer, and Lawrence Lessig. We updated one another about the status of our jurisdiction projects, and even planned out some joint projects.

Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.
Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.

Note: Obligatory trip report, submitted to Academia Sinica in December 2009.

Related note: Jude Yew took some nice photos about the workshop.

2009-12-03

International Semantic Web Conference 2009 (Report)

International Semantic Web Conference (ISWC) is the premier conference on semantic web research. The 8th conference in this series was held in 27th – 29th, October, 2009, at the Westfields Conference Center near Washington, DC. The main conference consists of about 80 oral presentations scheduled in 3 days, categorized into Research Track, Semantic Web In-Use Track, Doctoral Consortium Track, and Industry Track. There is also a poster session, a lightning talk session, and a Semantic Web Challenge session where new applications of semantic web datasets and technologies are showcased and entered into competition. Pat Hayes (Institute for Human and Machine Cognition), Tom Mitchell (Carnegie-Mellon University), and Nova Spivack (Radar Networks) gave three keynotes. The detailed program can be found at the ISWC 2009 conference website.

In addition to the main conference, ISWC 2009 also included tutorials and workshops, held on the 25th and 26th. As this is the first time I ever attended ISWC (or any semantic web conference), I took this opportunity to learn more from the following: How to Consume Linked Data on the Web (tutorial), Legal and Social Frameworks for Sharing Data on the Web (tutorial), Building Ontology-based Applications using Pellet (tutorial), and Terra Cognita (workshop). ISWC 2009 also co-located with other meetings. Among them, I was interested in the 6th OWL Experiences and Directions Workshop (23rd – 24th), the 3rd International Conference on Web Reasoning and Rule Systems (25th – 26th), and the Semantic Web and Museum Data Workshop (25th), but did not attend any of them because of time constraint. The ISWC 2009 website has links to all tutorials, workshops, and co-located meetings.

Given the many attractions in ISWC 2009, I can only say about a few that interested me. Tom Mitchell's keynote shows how ontologies (even the simple ones) help structuring information machine-mined from large collections of web pages, and how the extracted data helps refining the human-given ontologies. This model of mutual enrichment, though only on special knowledge domains and not entirely automatic, seems to work well and warrants further investigation. Erétéo, Buffa, Gandon, and Corby give a nice presentation on using semantic web technologies for the analyses of online social networks. Auer, Lehmann, and Hellmann show how to add a spatial dimension to the web of linked data by elevating information from the community built OpenStreetMap datasets. I also find Bernhard Schandl's presentation on Functions over RDF Language Elements interesting (perhaps because of my background in functional programming).

One of the objectives for me to attend ISWC 2009 is to learn "in the field" about ontologies especially about how they are used, in practice, in semantic web applications. To this end, I get some understanding of this area from the following presentations: OntoCase — Automatic Ontology Enrichment Based on Ontology Design Patterns (Eva Blomqvist), What Four Million Mappings Can Tell You About Two Hundred Ontologies (Ghazvinian, Noy, Jonquet, Shah, and Musen), and Exploiting Partial Information in Taxonomy Construction (Shearer and Horrocks).

My personal favorites, however, are the following three presentations: Produce and Consume Linked Data with Drupal! by Stéphane Corlosquet et. al., which also receives the best paper in the Semantic Web In-Use Track, What's New for SPARQL? which is a panel organized by the W3C SPARQL Working Group, and Linked Data and The New York Times by Evan Sandhaus. In my view, these are nice examples of the maturity of (and the need for continuous improvement to) the tools, languages, and applications of the semantic web research.

Over all, ISWC 2009 is a great event to sample the state of the art in semantic web research and development. My impression is that people from different backgrounds are congregating to the semantic web area. For example, you see people working on description logic, on rule and reasoning, on ontology, on information retrieval and web mining, on linking open data on the web, and on web standardization and engineering. There is a significant presence of European research networks (e.g., DBpedia, LarKC, and NeON); one can also easily sense the intense interest from the industries (especially from the US defense industry). It has been a large crowd of interesting people.

Chantilly, Virginia, USA.
Chantilly, Virginia, USA.

Note: Obligatory trip report, submitted to Academia Sinica in December 2009.

2009-08-05

Taipei Held Meeting on Public Licensing of Scientific Data and Publications

Creative Commons Taiwan organized the Symposium on Common Use Licensing of Publicly Funded Scientific Data and Publications at Taipei, Taiwan, on March 27, 2009. The symposium was jointly organized by CODATA Taiwan, NARL Science & Technology Policy Research and Information Center (STPI), Taiwan, and NRC Board on Research Data and Information, USA. The meeting was held in Academia Sinica, the host of Creative Commons Taiwan.

The symposium program, as well as the abstracts and slides of the presentations, is available at the symposium website http://scientificdata2009.creativecommons.org.tw/programme. The one day symposium consists of three sessions and one panel. The symposium touches upon the history of and the rationale for commons use of scientific data and publications (session 1), emphasizes the current practice and trend of common use licensing (session 2), and discusses the various issues and challenges faced by the scientific communities (session 3).

Joining from US at the symposium are Paul F. Uhlir from the National Academy of Sciences, Harlan J. Onsrud from University of Maine, and Kaitlin Thaney from Science Commons. Gene Hettel from the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), the Philippines, and whom the Creative Commons Taiwan team met at the Commons Crossroads meeting at Manila in February, also joins the symposium and gives a presentation on IRRI's new Creative Commons licensing policy for its scientific publications.

The Taiwanese speakers include Ted Lau (STPI), Ly-yun Chang, Kwang-Tsao Shao, and Eric Yen (all from Academia Sinica), Chau Chin Lin (Taiwan Forestry Research Institute), and Ming-Che Wu (Taiwan Livestock Research Institute). Ly-yun Chang gives an overview of the Survey Research Data Archive that has been collected and maintained at the Center for Survey Research, Academia Sinica. Shao and Lin discuss issues and challenges in sharing biodiversity data and publications, and present the Taiwan Biodiversity Information Facility.

The symposium was closed by a panel, chaired by D. T. Lee (Chairman of CODATA Taiwan), on policy issues in implementing common use licensing of scientific data and publications. The panelists consist of Paul F. Uhlir, Ted Lau, Harlan J. Onsrud, and Tyng-Ruey Chuang (Creative Commons Taiwan). They exchange thoughts on policy issues and examine potential policy instruments to actively enable the sharing of scientific data and publications.

Note: This entry was first posted at the Creative Commons Taiwan web site. The Chinese language text below of this entry is quite different from the English language text.

Image: scientificdata2009.creativecommons.org.tw (designed by Wen-Yi Chou)

科學資料的開放近用與自由流通

今年3月27日中央研究院舉行了一場「公共出資的科學資料與出版品的一般使用與授權」學術研討會。該會議邀集了不同領域的學者專家、公眾授權的倡議者與採用者、以及研究機構的策略規劃者,就科學資料與出版品的開放近用與自由流通,進行了廣泛的討論(詳見研討會網址,以及講者投影片)。

科學出版品(指可被視為著作的部份),在一般使用與公眾授權方面,已受到相當的重視。在觀念推展與實務作法上,無論是法律工具如創用CC授權條款,或是散布管道如採用開放近用 (Open Access) 的學術期刊及機構典藏庫 (Institutional Repository) 的建立,甚或是政策規範如美國〈國家衛生研究院公共近用政策〉 (‹NIH Public Access Policy›) 等各方面,目前已有許多可以借鏡、相互學習的地方。

科學資料(因進行科學研究而所蒐集產生的資料)的開放近用與自由流通,情況就比較複雜。資料 (Data) 以及資料庫 (Database) ,是否為受法律保護的客體,在不同國家有不同的法律規範。歐洲議會於1996年3月所通過的《資料庫之法律保護指令》 («Directive 96/9/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 March 1996 on the legal protection of databases») ,對於資料庫給予法律保護,並認為對資料庫的權利是特有的 (sui generis) ,與對著作的權利不同,兩者分別受到保護。但在美國、台灣、以及其他許多國家,資料庫不被視為著作,不受到著作權法的保護,也未必以法律給予特有的保護。

使用創用CC授權條款來作資料的釋出,嚴謹來說並不合適,因為資料並不是受著作權法保護的客體。荷蘭 CC 計畫 (Creative Commons Netherlands) 在 進行 CC 授權條款本地化的過程裡,考量了歐盟資料庫保護指令的情形,對荷蘭版的 CC 授權條款,就做了一些調整。為了避免使用CC授權條款所釋出的著作,是否也可被視為是資料庫,而有適用上的疑慮,荷蘭版的 CC 授權條款裡,將著作本身的定義放寬到包括資料庫,以擴大該授權條款的適用的範圍。但在台灣以及其它(無資料庫保護法律的)國家,該國本地化的 CC 授權條款,目前並沒有(也不合適)作這些調整。

為因應科學資料在自由流通上的需要,最近 Creative Commons 正式發佈了一項稱為 CC0 (CC Zero) 的宣告。聲明人可使用 CC0 宣告,表示對所宣告的作品,不保留著作權及相關權利。這些著作權及相關權利,包括著作權利、資料庫權利、以及萃取使用該作品所內含資料等權利;聲明人也不對使用人作「姓名標示」或「相同方式分享」上的要求 [1]。 Creative Commons 希望透過 CC0 宣告,可以讓所宣告的著作和資料的流通使用更加自由,近一步擴展創意、文化、科學的共有領域。目前已有兩項計畫採用了 CC0 宣告,分別是 The ProteomeCommons.org Tranche network 以及 Personal Genome Project 。兩項都有關於生命科學的資料分享與使用。

科學資料的公眾釋出與一般使用,在散布管道與施行方法上,也較少有示範性或共通性的作為。為呈現學術研究的成果,研究者主要著重於論文的發表。用以佐證研究結果的原始資料的整理發佈,並不受到格外的重視。將原始資料清理成公眾可以獨立使用的格式,對研究者反而是額外的工作。(這讓人想到一則關於自由軟體的聽聞:有些程式開發者心理很願意釋出程式的原始碼,但最後沒能釋出,原因是覺得自己寫的程式有些醜,或是程式碼沒加註釋,覺得不好意思,但也沒時間修改了,所以就不釋出。)

一般的研究機構對其所蒐集產生的科學資料,通常在釋出政策上也不多作要求,在行政程序或是資訊技術上,也未必對研究者提供必要的協助。研究機構或是研究者本身,也常以智慧財產的角度,對科學資料的釋出,持保留的態度;當資料還沒被分析發表為論文之前,這些資料的開放近用與自由流通,尤其困難。但在現今的研究環境,能夠取得其他研究團隊的第一手原始資料,自由進行各種資料的整合、萃取、與分析,以互惠的精神協力合作,卻是非常的重要。分享觀測資料的虛擬天文台,已是常見的典範模式。

公共所出資的科學研究的產出(即使是原始資料),應該給所有公民(包括其他研究者)所使用,這在法律、政治、與倫理上,都有不可逃避的理由 [2]。民主國家中政府資訊公開,以及公共出資的科學產出的開放近用議題,也逐漸受到重視。有足夠的例證顯示,政府資訊(包括公共出資的科學資料)的公開對於社會經濟活動,相當有助益。一些研究報告就指出,相對於歐盟,美國聯邦政府採取較開放的方式,釋出所掌有的資料(如地理量測、即時氣象等原始資料),因此在相關產業的規模與發展(如地理資訊、氣象預報等服務),領先歐盟甚多。

對於科學資料與出版品的開放近用與自由流通,台灣在政策上並沒有特別的規範。雖然《科學技術基本法》的第二十條提到:「為推動科學技術研究發展,政府應擬訂科學技術資訊流通政策,採取整體性計畫措施,建立國內外科學技術研究發展之相關資訊網路及資訊體系」,但這似乎是高層次的宣示;個別研究機構對於其所產出的科學資料與出版品,是否釋出供一般使用,在作法上可能差異很大。以下簡要介紹兩項示範性的作為,供大家參考。

國科會的‹專題研究計畫執行同意書›,要求以調查法(如面訪、電話訪問、郵寄問卷等)進行計畫之主持人,應將「研究成果報告、資料讀我檔、空白問卷、過錄號碼簿、電腦資料數據檔、資料欄位定義程式等及調查資料檔案利用授權書」,送中央研究院人文社會科學研究中心調查研究專題中心。而該中心對所保管的調查資料,於一定時間後,釋出給國內外研究機構、大專院校的研究人員、教授或研究生使用。

2001年由行政院核定通過的「生物多樣性行動方案」中,明示應建置國家生物多樣性資訊中心,整合全國生物多樣性相關資料,促進研究、教育、及保育之功能。為此中央研究院已接受國科會與農委會部份經費補助,負責整合台灣生物多樣性的各式資料,並維運「台灣生物多樣性資訊入口網」 (Taiwan Biodiversity Information Facility, TaiBIF) 。該網站是台灣在「全球生物多樣性資訊機構」 (Global Biodiversity Information Facility, GBIF) 的入口網站,與其它參與 GBIF 的國家入口網站,進行生物多樣性資料的全球交換與分享。

以上兩項工作的內容與挑戰,請參見張苙雲、邵廣昭兩位研究員在3月研討會的介紹。科學資料的開放近用與自由流通,還有許多努力的空間,也需要大家的關注。

註:本文先前已刊於台灣創用CC計畫網站。此篇的中文內容和英文內容相當不同。


[1] Creative Commons, ‹CC0 FAQ›. ^

[2] Paul F. Ulhir, ‹The emerging role of open repositories for scientific literature as a fundamental component of the public research infrastructure›. In «Open Access: Open Problems», pp. 59-103, G. Sica (editor), Polimetrica, Torino, Italy (2007). ^

2009-07-01

‹Bentwave› @ WNYU

Never have I considered myself to be into minimal techno, nevertheless I now make a habit of tuning in every Tuesday morning at 10:30 for ‹Bentwave›, hosted by Miss Eleanor at WNYU. By the way, that is Monday 10:30 pm in New York.

Each set is full of serious fun, good for 2 ½ hours! Better yet, the programs are archived with playlists. So you know where to find and what to lean on when fighting the daily inbox!

It happens that Miss Eleanor is paying a tribute to the King of Pop today.

Bentwave @ WNYU, June 29, 2009
Image: www.wnyu.org

〈折波〉 @ 紐約大學電台

從沒認為我是極簡電子音樂的愛好者,不過現在卻有個習慣每週二早上十點半準時收聽紐約大學電台,由伊蓮娜小姐主持的〈折波〉。對了,在紐約的話時間是週一晚上十點半。

每集滿滿兩個半小時,精彩緊湊!更棒的是,舊節目的錄音和曲目都有留存。所以,每日與電子郵件信箱奮戰所需要的支撐,你知道要去哪裡找了!

恰好今天伊蓮娜小姐為了「流行音樂之王」,於節目中致意。