Cory Doctorow and Richard Akerman Kick Off Access 2009
We got off to a good start with Access today with a keynote from Cory Doctorow. As expected Cory gave a packed session on the latest issues with copyright and the fight for information freedom around the world. I was especially inspired with his rallying cry for libraries and librarians as a critical group that needs to carry the message forward and ensure a balanced approach to copyright. As he said, saying anything bad about a library or a librarian (Margaret Atwood notwithstanding) makes you look like a jerk. So, the key message for me from Cory's piece is to leverage our stereotype an get radical about standing up for informations rights and freedoms - if we don't, then the Cory's and Michael Geist's will be the only voices in a diminishing crowd. And we don't want that. Do we?
Richard Akerman was up next with the Binkley Lecture. Richard's Science Library Pad is a must read blog for academic librarians and scientists in particular. Richard talked about the latest developments in the creation, release and access to data. He had some key points about the move in some jurisdictions to open up government information (e.g. Power of Information Task Force in the UK). His view on data via the 4 categories of Research, Government, Library and Personal data was an effective way to describe the current data landscape and why we need to pay attention. He also provided a number of links to exemplars who are providing access to data. These links will be available in Richard's preso. One of Richard's last points was to contrast making data available via APIs vs Raw Data. Basically, API-accessible data provides you more control over the data, while Raw Data provides greater flexibility re what can be done with the data in a context of a loss of control. To me there is no "2 ways" to provide access to data - Raw Data makes sure that those who can, will find something completely new and innovative in a data landscape which has no walls and chains.
BTW - all Access session are being recorded (video, audio and slide deck feed) and will be made available on the Web as soon as we can get them up there.