The German National Library of Medicine (ZB MED) has provided open access to its catalogue data, a resource that comprises more than one million items from the subject areas of medicine, health, and nutritional, environmental and agricultural science, including large numbers of books and periodicals. The data has been released under a Creative Commons Zero license, which means that the data can be downloaded, modified and employed for personal use without any restrictions.
The ZB MED has made a long-term commitment to the principle of open access. It sees the task of opening up access to knowledge as a key part of its role, as demonstrated by its ongoing and forward-looking involvement in numerous projects and cooperative ventures. By providing open access to its catalogue data, the ZB MED is not only fostering cooperation within the library system but also enabling the data to be used by other institutions. For example, Wikipedia has expressed an interest in integrating data from libraries in the services it offers. This new move opens up the potential to cooperate with organizations of this type in order to integrate the library sector more closely with the Web.
The data will be published both as raw data exports from the combined database operated by the North Rhine-Westphalian Library Service Center (hbz) and as so-called “Linked Open Data” within the scope of the resources service lobid.org (http://lobid.org/de/resource.html). In the spring, the hbz embarked on an open data initiative in collaboration with Cologne’s libraries which gradually aims to incorporate other libraries from the hbz network.
You can find descriptions of the ZB MED data and download links on the following page, which lists recently published open data exports from the hbz network’s catalogues: