Licensing for SKOS-HASSET: WP4 deliverable – the SKOS-HASSET Licence Recommendation Report

1.0 Background

The Archive maintains two thesauri: the first, the Humanities and Social Science Electronic Thesaurus (HASSET), is owned entirely by the University of Essex and contains subject terms covering all the social science disciplines; the second, the European Language Social Science Thesaurus (ELSST) takes the core, internationally-applicable terms from HASSET and translates them into a number of European languages. The University of Essex owns the Intellectual Property (IP) in some of this product, but not all.

HASSET, in non-SKOS form (usually as a .csv or a PDF) has been made available for not-for-profit use for many years; however, access to the full set of terms and their relationships has always been granted only after a licence has been signed by the recipient and returned to the UK Data Archive, University of Essex. Indeed, a new licence template was developed in 2011-2012, based initially on the JISC Model Proforma, to ensure that the rights of the University were being adequately protected. It is important to note that in the past this licence has always referred to the intellectual, creative content of the thesauri – the hierarchies and their relationships – and not the database or syntactical structure. A licence has always been applied to the thesauri in the past in order to protect a) the integrity of the terms and b) the quality of the translations. The current licence has a dual purpose: it covers both the use of the thesaurus as an indexing tool as well as regulating its translation into further languages.

Additionally and importantly, the UK Data Archive would like to expand further the membership of the HASSET/ELSST user community (already enhanced during the SKOS-HASSET project). The release of the SKOS product provides an ideal opportunity to further the work of the Archive in communicating with, and learning from, its thesaurus users. To do this, however, the Archive would need to know who its thesaurus users were.

Because of the expected need to maintain the quality and integrity of the thesaurus, this Licensing Report reviews and makes recommendations for the licence conditions under which the SKOS-enabled thesaurus product (SKOS-HASSET) may be delivered.

1.1 Previous IP work

Investigative work covering the Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) and associated licences in use in relation to HASSET and ELSST took place in 2011. In summary, this work found that:

1. the IPR in HASSET are owned by the University of Essex, but the IPR in parts of ELSST are owned by third parties;
2. the licensing system in relation to ELSST is complicated by the need to make provision for quality translations;
3. some users of, and indeed some of the ELSST IPR owners, are outside UK academia.

The University of Essex owns all of the Intellectual Property (IP) in HASSET and a lot of the Intellectual Property in the current version of ELSST. Archive staff undertook some of the original ELSST translation work for the French, German and Spanish translations and created the structure and framework for the thesaurus, which was based on HASSET. It was developed here in the Archive during the LIMBER project (January 2000 – June 2001), but has been developed further since then. As such, the Archive holds the IP in:

• the database structure;
• the thesaurus structure/hierarchies;
• the core terms;
• the English extensions, which include terms specific to British life, government and administration (effectively HASSET);
• the Spanish translations;
• the German translations made up to and including 9 December 2005;
• the French translations made up to and including 30 June 2001.

The remaining IP is held by other, external organisations or individuals. These Intellectual Property Rights relate to:

• the Finnish translations and extensions;
• the Greek translations and extensions;
• the Norwegian translations and extensions;
• the Danish translations and extensions;
• the Swedish translations and extensions;
• the Lithuanian translations and extensions;
• the German translations and extensions to be released in the next version;
• the French translations and extensions made from 1 November 2005.

A brief review of existing licence models was undertaken in May 2011. This review identified other thesaurus products, external to the Archive, with:

• no licences;
• Open Government Licences;
• and more restrictive, detailed licences.

These products were not all SKOS-enabled. All these licence models, as well as the licence template included in the JISC IPR toolkit, were examined.

The JISC model was taken as the starting point in developing a new licence; this licence model ‘contains more favourable provisions than any standard commercial licence for access and use of online resources’ (Korn, 2011). Nonetheless, HASSET and ELSST’s needs were simultaneously not as complex as all of those catered for under the JISC proforma and more complex. The JISC proforma includes provision for institutional responsibilities in relation to resources being made available to staff and students, which a HASSET/ELSST product did not require; on the flipside, any licence covering ELSST and HASSET must also protect not only the integrity and quality of the product when being used, but also when being translated.

As part of this work an initial licence was set up in 2011, based on the JISC exemplum. This has since gone through much iteration. The final licence was approved by the University of Essex’s Research Enterprise Office on 13th March 2012. This is the licence that is currently in use for HASSET and ELSST.

2.0 Copyright issues and thesauri

Copyright law and technology have long been at odds with each other. The Hargreaves report from 2011 includes an entire section on this issue, describing in detail how copyright law has held up technological – and, in some cases, societal – advances. It says:

‘So the question is how to build in sufficient flexibility to realise the benefits of new technologies, without losing the core benefits to creators and to the economy that copyright provides.’ (Hargreaves, 2011)

One of the ways that technologists have tried to address this is through the creation and use of open source systems and the application of Creative Commons licences. This approach works reasonably well; however, there are two key problems in its application to a thesaurus:

1. Creative Commons licences only apply to creative works; they do not cover data or databases (Miller, Styles and Heath, 2008). The question of whether the intellectual property rights in a hierarchy structure would be covered by a Creative Commons licence is an open one.

2. A thesaurus is an authorised set of terms which describe an aspect of the world, society or a discipline. Through their authorisation, they are both descriptive and prescriptive – and this is an important pairing. Thesauri are living, dynamic tools, being updated to reflect changes in the world; however, for these changes to carry authority, they must be made by a single organisation – the thesaurus owner. Each thesaurus should exist in a single, controlled and authorised form. If this does not happen, the integrity of the terms is under question.

Importantly, RDF and SKOS are simply one type of data format that may be applied to a file. Méndez and Greenberg (2012) describe ‘linked open vocabularies as a part of the new knowledge organization ecosystem’. They go on to explain that research has shown that the ‘subject’ or conceptual-type search is the most common type of search on the web. This seems to raise the need for both inter-linked thesauri and controlled vocabularies which try to describe the world, but also for high quality thesauri and controlled vocabularies. Using Linked Data formats is entirely appropriate here; however, in order to maintain the quality of the product, these formats do not necessarily have to be Linked Open Data. Sanchez, Mendez and Rodríguez-Muñoz (2009) explain how the use of SKOS enhances both the user’s and the provider’s experiences: ‘From the user perspective, the use of thesauri developed with the SKOS model affects … those who use them through query operations. For information managers, SKOS offers a closer approach to knowledge organization and management, complementing the automatic extraction of textual content from documents with its indexing through conceptual entities’. There is little doubt that SKOS is the ideal format for index terms both to index conceptually and automatically. The question is how to do this while still maintaining quality control?

A key, recent work on the applicability of various conditions sets to academic tools is the review of the openness of licences undertaken by the Naomi Korn Copyright Agency on behalf of the JISC (Korn, 2011). This review analyses the various licences available to data or resource producers, including the JISC Model Licence, Creative Commons licences, the JISC Collections Open Educational User Licence v 1.0, Open Data Commons and the Open Government Licence.

Of these, the most appropriate licences which could be considered for the SKOS-HASSET project would be the JISC ones, Creative Commons and, possibly, the Open Data Commons licence. The Open Government Licence refers primarily to Government information and so, although a contender, may not be ideal. The JISC Model Licence is the de facto type licence in use currently for HASSET and ELSST as it was taken by the University of Essex as the proforma for the existing HASSET and ELSST licence.

Korn’s work outlines two of the key issues which would prevent the use of Creative Commons Licences in relation to SKOS-HASSET; the review states that:

1. Creative Commons Licences may not be suitable ‘where third-party issues are present and require additional clearance.’
(This is definitely the case for ELSST where the majority of the translations are owned by other, non-UK organisations and individuals.)

2. ‘At a strategic level, committing to the irrevocable terms of CC licences raises issues of broader access and commercial goals for organisations.’
(Once set up, it would be difficult to reverse the terms of Creative Commons licences. While the CESSDA ERIC, the eventual legal entity in relation to European data archives, is still being established, flexibility in terms of being able potentially to change licence conditions is essential.)

The Open Data Commons Licence, set up as an open solution to data or databases (rather than creative works), may be a contender in relation to the HASSET/ELSST database structure, as might the GNU General Public License. GNU is a free, copyleft licence for software and other kinds of works. It is intended to guarantee a permit to the creators and users of a work to share and change all versions of it and to make sure all versions remain free for all. All derived works to have come from a database licensed under GNU must abide by the terms of the original GNU licence.

It is the very inclusion of a database alongside the creative work it holds which makes the use of one or other of these licences problematic though. The big problem with using either of these licences would be the need to include a second licence which covers the intellectual, creative content – the hierarchies – as neither of these licences covers this sort of information. Releasing the thesaurus products under one of these data/database type licences, may result in users taking these to mean that any changes may be made to the terms and re-released under the same terms and conditions. Although the terms of the licences would not permit this, confusion could still ensue. Doing this would also create a multi-licence situation, which would complicate matters, rather than simplify them.

Related to this, Naomi Korn identifies some circumstances in which it may not be appropriate to use open licences. Two of these match the circumstances of HASSET/ELSST; she states that ‘situations where [considering the placing of ‘some’
restrictions upon the user, such as ’No derivative works’ (‘ND’) and/or ‘Non-commercial’ (‘NC’) restrictions] will need to be made include the following’:

1. inclusion of data and/or databases
(one of the key issues here is that the University of Essex owns the IP in the database and syntactical structure);

2. inclusion of third-party-generated content for which permissions have not been cleared
(again, this is very pertinent in relation to ELSST).

Korn suggests that in these circumstances, one could use a licence with a ‘no derivatives’ attribution, a licence with a ‘no commercial use’ attribution or a licence that restricts certain classes of users from being able to access resources. These options, while entirely suitable for the academic community, still prevent access to, or use of, a variety of resources to third parties outside UK education.

The SKOS-HASSET project team does not wish to restrict access to, or even the re-purposing of, its tools and products on the basis of user types or geography, especially as many related thesauri are owned and developed in non-UK and sometimes non-educational arenas. Online browsing of individual concepts and their relationships should be maintained. In terms of the full set of hierarchies, however, the project team requires the ability to maintain the integrity of its products in their entirety and to be offered any derivations. The product may end up being of interest to a community wider than academia and, in fact, colleagues in the commercial, publishing sector have already expressed an interest in it. Rather than restricting users, surely it would be better to make the thesaurus available to anyone and everyone, but behind a simple bespoke and effective licence, even if this is slightly more restrictive than Creative Commons?

Korn supports this. She states that ‘whilst undoubtedly there are numerous benefits associated with the use of ‘open’ licences and the creation of truly Open Educational Resources, which are repurposable and reusable, there are clearly circumstances … where this is not feasible’. Circumstances in which a) the widest community of users, including potentially those from commerce or overseas would be prevented from gaining access to the product, b) the quality and integrity of the product may be jeopardised and c) IPR are shared among a variety of organisations and individuals are likely to be those within which an open licence may not be the best way forward.

2.1 Product integrity

Naomi Korn suggests that where there is a question mark over the use of an open licence, ‘the priorities of the initial licensor of the content need to be based upon an open vs risk evaluation, rather than openness only’ (Korn, 2011). The SKOS-HASSET project has undertaken just such an open vs risk evaluation:

Item Predicted risks with open licence Predicted advantages of open licence Benefit score (1-5, 1=least benefit) Likelihood of risk
(1-5, with 1=least likely)
Severity of risk
(1-5, with 1=least severe)
Risk score Adjusted risk score (Risk score – Benefit score)
Hierarchies may be changed without licensor’s knowledge Terms would lose their integrity; relationships may be broken; SKOS may no longer validate; archives/services using HASSET/ELSST for indexing may not be using the authorised version; multiple versions may proliferate; lack of consistency and harmonisation in versions used would undermine existing, and restrict future, efforts to build tools for multisite use (e.g. discovery of similar/comparable resources in other countries) Product may be used widely; product may be made more appropriate to local needs 5 5 5 25 20
Hierarchies may be added without licensor’s knowledge Relationships may be broken; SKOS may no longer validate; archives/services using HASSET/ELSST for indexing may not be using the authorised version; multiple versions may proliferate; lack of consistency and harmonisation in versions used would undermine existing, and restrict future, efforts to build tools for multisite use (e.g. discovery of similar/comparable resources in other countries) Product may be used widely; product may be made more appropriate to local needs 5 5 5 25 20
Derived version of HASSET or ELSST may be released by third party organisation Terms would lose their integrity; archives/services using HASSET/ELSST for indexing may not be using the authorised version; multiple versions would proliferate; lack of consistency and harmonisation in versions used would undermine existing, and restrict future, efforts to build tools for multisite use (e.g. discovery of similar/comparable resources in other countries) Product may reach previous non-user communities 2 3 5 15 13
New translations may be made of the core terms Quality control of translations would not be made centrally; like-for-like translations may be attempted; authorised version would not receive the new translations Product may be translated into more languages than at present 4 4 5 20 16
Derived version of HASSET or ELSST may be sold by third party organisation Terms would lose their integrity; archives/services using HASSET/ELSST for indexing may not be using the authorised version; multiple versions would proliferate; lack of consistency and harmonisation in versions used would undermine existing, and restrict future, efforts to build tools for multisite use (e.g. discovery of similar/comparable resources in other countries); academic community would suffer; legal proceedings may follow Product may reach previous non-user communities 2 1 5 5 3

Table 1: Open vs risk evaluation

This led on to a further analysis, weighting the risk with any benefits:

 

Item Benefit score

(1-5, 1=least benefit)

Risk score Adjusted risk score (Risk score – Benefit score)
Hierarchies may be changed without licensor’s knowledge 5 25 20
Hierarchies may be added without licensor’s knowledge 5 25 20
Derived version of HASSET or ELSST may be released by third party organisation 2 15 13
New translations may be made of the core terms 4 20 16
Derived version of HASSET or ELSST may be sold by third party organisation 2 5 3

Table 2: Adjusted risk scores

The risks involved with making the thesauri open do not appear to be outweighed by the benefits in this case. The need to retain control of the quality and integrity of the terms, their relationships and the product as a whole is more important than the need to make the product entirely freely available. That is not to say that the product should not be available to all, simply that an element of control, exercised through a licence mechanism, would ensure, in this case, that the product remains of sufficient quality to be useful to all in the future. Any proliferation of derivatives of the thesaurus could, in fact, result in a diluted and less trustworthy product.

3.0 Precedents

A review of the methods of access of existing SKOS products has also been undertaken. The following thesauri have been examined:

• Agrovoc (http://aims.fao.org/standards/agrovoc/about)
• Decimalised Database of Concepts (http://ontologi.es/decimalised/decimalised.rdf)
• Eurovoc (http://eurovoc.europa.eu/drupal/)
• GEMET (http://www.eionet.europa.eu/gemet)
• GeoNames (http://www.geonames.org/)
• IVOAT Thesaurus (http://www.ivoa.net/rdf/Vocabularies/vocabularies-20091007/IVOAT/IVOAT.html)
• Library of Congress Subject Headings (http://id.loc.gov/download/)
• NAL Thesaurus (http://agclass.nal.usda.gov/)
• ONKI portal (http://onki.fi/)
• PICO Thesaurus (http://www.culturaitalia.it/opencms/export/sites/culturaitalia/attachments/thesaurus/4.3/thesaurus_4.3.0.skos.xml)
• RAMEAU (http://rameau.bnf.fr/informations/rameauenbref.htm)
• STW Thesaurus for Economics (http://zbw.eu/stw/versions/latest/about)
• TheSoz (http://www.gesis.org/en/services/research/thesauri-und-klassifikationen/social-science-thesaurus/)

A further list of SKOS-enabled thesauri can be found at http://www.w3.org/2001/sw/wiki/SKOS/Datasets.

Thesaurus Coverage File formats for download Comments Licence
Agrovoc The AGROVOC thesaurus contains more than 40 000 concepts in up to 22 languages covering topics related to food, nutrition, agriculture, fisheries, forestry, environment and other related domains. Supported:
RDF/XML
N-triples
Web Services
Unsupported:
SKOS RDF/XML English only
MySQL
Protégé DB
OWL
Re-authentication takes place using email addresses only (once registered, users need only enter their email address again to gain access a second time) Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License
Decimalised Database of Concepts The Decimalised Database of Concepts is a collection of topics suitable for use in linked data. It is inspired by the Dewey Decimal Classification, but no guarantees are made about the closeness of its resemblance as a whole. SKOS mapping links are provided from this database to the Dewey system, to Library of Congree Classification codes and to DBPedia resources where possible. XHTML+RDFa 1.0
RDF/XML
N-triples
Freely available
Eurovoc EuroVoc is a multilingual, multidisciplinary thesaurus covering the activities of the EU and the European Parliament in particular.  It is managed by the EU Publications Office. It contains terms in 22 EU languages (Bulgarian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Maltese, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish and Swedish), plus Croatian and Serbian. SKOS/RDF
XML
The licence acceptance is taken off line.  Users must email a dedicated mail box, asking for access to Eurovoc.  Once granted, users are sent a PDF copy of the licence, plus a username and login. EU-specific licence, which must be accepted off-line.
GEMET GEneral European Multilingual Environment Thesaurus. GEMET has been developed as an indexing, retrieval and control tool for the European Topic Centre on Catalogue of Data Sources (ETC/CDS) and the European Environment Agency (EEA), Copenhagen. HTML for import into MS-Access
RDF (themes and groups relationships)
SKOS/RDF (broader/narrower relations)
Freely available
GeoNames The GeoNames geographical database covers all countries and contains over eight million placenames that are available for download free of charge. Free of charge:
individual Gazetteer files (one per place)
Some free post code files
Costed services also exist.
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
IVOAT Thesaurus Astronomical terms. RDF
Turtle
Freely available
Library of Congress Subject Headings Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) has been actively maintained since 1898 to catalogue materials held at the Library of Congress. LCSH in this service includes all Library of Congress Subject Headings, free-floating subdivisions (topical and form), Genre/Form headings, Children’s (AC) headings, and validation strings for which authority records have been created. The content includes a few name headings (personal and corporate), such as William Shakespeare, Jesus Christ, and Harvard University, and geographic headings that are added to LCSH as they are needed to establish subdivisions, provide a pattern for subdivision practice, or provide reference structure for other terms. RDF/XML
Turtle
N-triples
Freely available
NAL Thesaurus The USA’s National Agriculture Library (NAL) thesaurus and glossary are online vocabulary tools of agricultural terms in English and Spanish and are cooperatively produced by the NAL, US Department of Agriculture, and the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture through the Orton Memorial Library, the Mexican Network of Agricultural Libraries (REMBA), as well as other Latin American agricultural institutions belonging to the Agriculture Information and Documentation Service of the Americas (SIDALC). XML
RDF-SKOS
PDF
MARC
DOC
User must click to accept the Usage conditions. NAL-specific terms and conditions of use
ONKI portal The ONKI service contains Finnish and international ontologies, vocabularies and thesauri needed for publishing content on the Semantic Web. OWL
RDF/XML
Turtle
SKOS-RDF
RDFS
ONKI provides access to many different vocabularies and ontologies. Files either freely available or behind a Creative Commons 3.0 License
PICO Thesaurus The Dictionary of Italian Culture is a controlled vocabulary designed for subject indexing and classification of heterogeneous resources, sourced from different cultural contexts. XML The XML has been put through an RDF to HTML stylesheet so is both humanly readable on screen and may be saved as RDF.  Nothing needs to be agreed before viewing or saving become possible. Creative Commons 2.5 License (Italian)
RAMEAU RAMEAU consists of a vocabulary of interconnected terms and an indicative syntax for the construction of subject headings.  It includes a set of authority records (common names and geographical entities). RAMEAU is enriched progressively through proposals from its network of users. None The web site states:
‘Fournitures de fichiers de données brutes: Des fichiers de données brutes peuvent être fournis, portant : soit sur des produits courants : les notices RAMEAU (telles que définies dans Périmètre des autorités RAMEAU), créées, modifiées (à l’exception des modifications induites par des liens dans d’autres notices) et annulées pendant la période considérée ; soit sur des produits rétrospectifs : l’ensemble des notices RAMEAU (telles que définies dans Périmètre des autorités RAMEAU) à une date donnée.’  (=‘Availability of raw data files:  raw data files can be supplied that relate either to:current products : RAMEAU records (as defined in ‘Scope of RAMEAU authority records’), created, modified (except for changes caused by links in other records) and cancelled during the period in question; or retrospective products – all RAMEAU records (as defined in ‘Scope of RAMEAU authority records’) at a given date.)[1]
The user is directed to the Produits et services bibliographiques page of the Bibliotheque Nationale de France (BNF), which provides a further link to Produits bibliographiques.  This last page includes a price list.  Autorites RAMEAU for example costs between E1,000 and E1,196 per installation.
BNF-specific licence, which must be accepted off-line.
STW Thesaurus for Economics This thesaurus relates primarily to economics; it contains more than 6,000 standardized subject headings and about 19,000 entry terms to support individual keywords. It also contains technical terms used in law, sociology, or politics, as well as geographic entities. RDF/XML
Turtle
N-triples
Optional email list available to sign up to for announcements relating to the thesaurus but no need to sign up prior to download. Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Germany License
TheSoz The Thesaurus for the Social Sciences (Thesaurus Sozialwissenschaften) is used for keyword searching in SOFIS (Social Science Research Information System) and SOLIS (Social Science Literature Information System). The list of keywords contains about 12,000 entries, of which more than 8,000 are descriptors (authorised keywords) and about 4,000 non-descriptors. Topics in all of the social science disciplines are included.  It has been translated into French and English. SKOS-XL
RDF/XML
Turtle
Users must complete an online form prior to download.  This captures name, organisation and email address.  Nothing needs to be agreed in advance.
As well as the downloadable data, TheSoz is available in a Linked Data HTML representation.  A SPARQL endpoint (using Pubby) is also available as a technical interface.
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Germany License.

[1] Translation provided by Dr Lorna Balkan, 17 October 2012.

Table 3: Licence arrangements for other thesauri

Of the twelve thesauri included above, five (42%) have Creative Commons licences, four (33%) are freely available and three (25%) maintain their own, bespoke licensing arrangements. (Onki provides access to thesauri and other tools that are either freely available or protected by Creative Commons.) It is clear that the licensing landscape contains many, varied features, with different licence models in operation.

Recommendations

Following the brief review of existing work in this field, of risks and precedents and of the particular needs of a HASSET/ELSST product, this report makes the following recommendations:

 a bespoke licence will be used, in preference to Creative Commons licences, which are a) too broad, b) cannot be reversed and c) difficult to apply in a multi-IP situation;

• the existing licence in use for HASSET will continue to be used; this has the following advantages:

• it is a single licence which can be adapted for both HASSET and ELSST and any combinations of their shared terms;

• the licence does not currently prevent profit-making, non-UK or non-academic usage, but, through the offline completion of its custom fields, has the flexibility to allow all users to gain access to the product;

• it does not permit the thesaurus being passed on to third parties;

• it already includes the requirement that all translations must be made against the British English core terms from the Humanities And Social Science Electronic Thesaurus (HASSET), and plans are already in place, via additional resources, for the management of such translations;

• each concept, encoded in RDF, will be browseable via Pubby, which will also contain copyright information in its Dublin Core metadata and log accesses via Google Analytics (capturing domain names/IP addresses);

• each term and hierarchy will be browseable via the humanly-readable web pages which will also contain copyright information in its page metadata and displayed on screen, and log accesses via Google Analytics (capturing domain names/IP addresses);

• non-profit making users will be able to download the full thesaurus online by joining the HASSET/ELSST community (involving simple authentication and agreeing to our terms and conditions);

• profit-making users and those wishing to make new translations will be able to gain access to the product through the offline completion of the licence;

• the system to be developed for non-profit making users is envisaged as an amalgamation of the NAL and Agrovoc systems, via the collection of the potential user’s details, including:

• name;
• email address;
• position;
• organisation;
• purpose to be made of the thesaurus;
• date;

and the pre-population of the custom fields of the licence with the information supplied by the user; the user will also be required to click to show that they have agreed to the licence’s terms and conditions;

• the licence will run for twelve months or part thereof to the date of next release from date of acceptance; licence renewals will be generated via an alerting service (to be established post-project) and will be tied in with the date of annual release of new versions of the thesaurus;

• licence-holders will become members of the HASSET/ELSST community and will be invited to share their uses of the thesauri and to comment on their development in a variety of ways (for instance, via workshops or an annual conference if these are viable, and via the blog);

• simple and appropriate authentication should be employed to verify the user’s email address (e.g. via an automated message, containing a link which must be activated and/or using Shibboleth or similar); the precise form of authentication is yet to be decided.

These recommendations, once implemented, should allow for a simple, yet regulated system, which is a compromise between an entirely open system and one which only permits use of the thesaurus after a signature has been received. It employs a degree of trust in relation to users’ acceptance of the not-for-profit terms and conditions, but also allows the University to maintain the quality and integrity of the product and to track its thesaurus users and their usage of its product. Finally, and importantly, it provides the licence-holders both with the ability to browse the thesauri freely online and to become part of a wider community of thesaurus users.

References

Blumauer, A. (2010) ‘Why SKOS thesauri matter – the next generation of semantic technologies’. Semantic Web Company blog post, 31 August 2010 [http://blog.semantic-web.at/2010/08/31/why-skos-thesauri-matter-the-next-generation-of-semantic-technologies/]

Hargreaves, I. (2011) Digital opportunity: a review of intellectual property and growth. [Newport, South Wales, UK Intellectual Property Office]

Korn, N. (2011) Overview of the ‘Opennness’ of licences to provide access to materials, data, databases and media. JISC/Naomi Korn Copyright Consultancy, January 2011.

Méndez, E. and Greenberg, J. (2012) Linked Data for Open Vocabularies and Hive’s Global Framework, El Profesional de la Información; May/Jun2012, 21 (3), pp. 236-244.

Miller, I., Styles, R. and Heath, T. (2008) ‘Open data commons : a licence for open data’, LDOW2008, 22 April 2008, Beijing, China. [http://events.linkeddata.org/ldow2008/papers/08-miller-styles-open-data-commons.pdf]

Pastor-Sanchez, J., Mendez, F. J. M. and Rodríguez-Muñoz, J. V. (2009) ‘Advantages of thesaurus representation using the Simple Knowledge Organization System (SKOS) compared with proposed alternatives’, Information Research, 14 (4), paper 422.

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