Wikimedian in Residence for the National Library of Scotland | 7/31/2014
Metadata and Digital Content Licensing Policy
The new National Library of Scotland Metadata and Digital Content Licensing Policy effectively laid out the following terms:
- All metadata produced by the National Library of Scotland would be made freely available under a CC-0 license
- All access-quality digital content derived from material currently in the public domain would be released under a CC-0 license
- For the time being, master quality originals of all content (see note) would be retained by the Library to be released on a case-by-case basis for income generation
While the procedure supporting this policy is still undergoing development, and is likely to take an additional year, the policy means that future content generated by NLS digitisation projects which comes from the public domain will also be released onto an open license and made Wiki-compatible.
Implementation and Wiki release
Once the policy had been approved and was in effect, I worked with the Digital Access team and Intellectual Property Officer to identify material appropriate for upload to Wikimedia Commons. I also began developing a procedure for uploading content and the associated Library metadata in large batches using the GWToolset feature (still in beta). The aim was to set in place a method by which members of the Digital Access team could easily be given access to and training on the tools necessary to upload digital content from future digitisation projects onto Wikimedia Commons on an ongoing basis. XML metadata files specific to the batch upload process were created for the identified content and metadata mapping .json files created for the toolset, and the content was test-uploaded on the Wikimedia Commons Beta Cluster (see Procedure, below). In addition, the National Library of Scotland institution tag was updated to provide more accurate information, and the Metadata tag was likewise improved in terms of detail and accuracy.
After an assessment by myself, Gill Hamilton (Digital Access Manager), and Fred Saunderson (Intellectual Property Officer), it was agreed that for the purposes of releasing content to Wikimedia Commons, 'low-resolution content' would instead refer to 'low-quality' content, meaning all compressed .jpg versions of digital images would be released and uploaded where appropriate. Only the master .tiff scan of the original content would be retained. This allows for .jpgs of 2500px to be uploaded in all cases where such file sizes are available.
A procedure focusing on smaller upload batches was identified early on as having a greater potential for efficiency and accuracy during the upload process itself as well as for a higher rate of integration and usage once the content was live on Commons. The batches will follow the scope of existing NLS digital gallery collections, typically ranging from 30 to 2000 images in size. As these collections are grouped according to theme, creator, or collection, this approach should make the content easier to identify for use in Wikipedia articles and more visible during searching and browsing on Commons itself.
The first files to be uploaded were images from the construction of the Forth Bridge (40 images) and images of the Tay Bridge collapse (90 images). These small batches allowed any glitches to be identified and fixed relatively easily. For example, some images of the Tay Bridge disaster had duplicate filenames that had gone undetected in the XML
- The policy initially referred to 'low-resolution' and 'high-resolution' content; however, what was meant by 'low-resolution content' or 'high-resolution content' was deliberately left undefined. This not only allowed for freedom to respond to content-specific variations (between media file types, for example), but also allowed for more freedom with respects to the sizes of files to be released; as the procedure implementing the policy developed, 'low-res' and 'high res' were replaced with 'access quality' and 'original' or 'master quality'.