Real Life Example of Creative Commons License Applied to MARC Records

Eric Morgan posted a message to the Next Generation Catalog for Libraries mailing list this morning that points to a announcement by the University of Florida library that they are now applying a Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication statement to MARC records they create. Their announcement says:

Beginning March 2011, the University of Florida Smathers Libraries implemented a policy to include a Creative Commons license in all of its original cataloging records. The records are considered public domain with unrestricted downstream use for any purpose.

The following MARC 588 field (Source of Description Note) is added to new records contributed to WorldCat. It has not been added retrospectively to University of Florida original records in WorldCat.

588::|a This bibliographic record is available under a Creative Commons CC0 license. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.

Their announcement page also provides links to some examples from the OPAC. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to see the CC0 graphic and declaration.

The University of Florida joins University of Michigan in making original cataloging records available under CC0. To refresh your memory CC0 “Public Domain Dedication” statement (it isn’t a license!) says:

The person who associated a work with this deed has dedicated the work to the public domain by waiving all of his or her rights to the work worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.

You can copy, modify, distribute and perform the work, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission.

Now this is an interesting development because it is a kind of viral declaration of the same sort that OCLC proposed with the withdrawn draft of the record use policy. There OCLC was going to add a 996 field to all records exported from WorldCat that would say:

996OCLCWCRUP ‡i Use and transfer of this record is governed by the OCLC® Policy for Use and Transfer of WorldCat® Records ‡u http://purl.org/oclc/wcrup

This would do something similar except that it would make viral the public domain declaration on records added to OCLC WorldCat. (It is probably also an oversight that the 996 field documentation is still on OCLC’s site.) Does this begin to segment WorldCat into records that can and cannot be used? Or is it redundant since some think that MARC records, as a recitation of facts, cannot be copyrighted anyway?

(This post was updated on 22-Aug-2013.)