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The CERN Library publishes its book catalog as Open Data

Librarians are in general very favourable to the principles of Open Access, but surprisingly few libraries have so far set free the data they produce themselves. As one of the first scientific libraries in the world, the CERN Library offers now the bibliographic book records, held in its library catalog, to be freely downloaded by any third party. The records are provided under the Public Domain Data License, a license that permits colleagues around the world to reuse and upgrade the data for any purpose.

Jens Vigen, Head of the CERN Library, says: "Books should only be catalogued once. Currently the public purse pays for having the same book catalogued over and over again. Librarians should act as they preach: data sets created through public funding should be made freely available to anyone interested. Open Access is natural for us, here at CERN we believe in openness and reuse. There is a tremendous potential. By getting academic libraries worldwide involved in this movement, it will lead to a natural atmosphere of sharing and reusing bibliographic data in a rich landscape of so-called mash-up services, where most of the actors who will be involved, both among the users and the providers, will not even be library users or librarians. Our action is made in the spirit of the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities; bibliographic data belongs to the cultural heritage.All other signatories should align their policy accordingly."

The data of CERN Library will be used by the Open Library Project to provide a webpage for every book and allow users to add content like table of contents, classifications and summaries.

For massive reuse of data, the data will be provided soon by an open Z39.50, SRU and OAI interface via, a repository of open bibliographic data.

The whole dataset can be downloaded from

The press announcement is accompanied by a YouTube Video that can be found at: The choosen licences for the data are the Public Domain Dedication and License version 1.0 (PDDL ) and CC0.

You can also download a PDF version of the announcement.

For further questions about this topic contact:

For general questions about CERN Library:

Jens Vigen
Group Leader Scientific Information Service, CERN
phone + 41 22 767 2410

For details about the Open Book Data Project:

Patrick Danowski
Emerging Technologies Librarian (Fellow), CERN
phone +41 22 767 41 03

About CERN
CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, is the world's leading laboratory for particle physics. It has its headquarters in Geneva. At present, its Member States are Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. India, Israel, Japan, the Russian Federation, the United States of America, Turkey, the European Commission and UNESCO have Observer status.

About CERN Library
CERN Library is part of the Scientific Information Service of CERN, which acquires and manages information resources in all fields of relevance to the Organization, and makes these accessible in the most convenient way to the worldwide particle physics community. Jens Vigen is Group Leader of the Scientific Information Service.