Thanks to Alexandra and Owen for their thoughts, and please see Chris Keene’s comment also. This issue was never going to be straight forward and any discussion about licencing makes people edgy. Perhaps not the licence itself but the idea that someone could use someone else’s work without asking or crediting them. As Alexandra says, this is a possibly a separate issue, but it seems that by using CC-BY licences people are hedging their bets – you can use it but you have to say where you got it from, which is perfectly reasonable. There is also uncertainty about whether they have the right to licence the data in the first place.
I’ve discussed this with Fiona and she makes the point that in an academic context, we tell people every day how to reference the materials they are using and so attribution of data is in our very core. Making our catalogue records available as Linked Open Data with no insistence on attribution is contrary to what we do every day. However, naïve as it may sound, though we don’t insist that people attribute in this case, that’s not to say that they won’t.
We know we are diving in there and taking a risk, we don’t know how the data could be used in the future and what impact that will have. But someone has got to take that risk. We are confident in that are able to licence the data for use in the first place and we want to take the most open road. We don’t do it lightly.
It is perhaps the conflict between archivists and developers. As Archivists we are naturally cautious and as I said earlier, make attribution a key part of our work. Developers/ technicians are much more used to making things out there as open source – I’m assuming – would any developers like to comment?