UC Libraries endorse Joint Statement on the Metadata Rights of Libraries

On behalf of the UC Libraries, the Council of University Librarians (CoUL) has unanimously approved endorsement of the Joint Statement on the Metadata Rights of Libraries. Released in March 2023 by the International Coalition of Library Consortia (ICOLC) and the ALA Core Metadata & Collections Section, the statement reads: “The endorsers listed below urge all organizations, whether for-profit or not-for-profit, to uphold libraries’ rights and interests to use, re-use, adapt, aggregate, and share metadata that describes library collections to serve the public interest, without restriction or limitation.”

Catalog records and descriptive metadata are often the product of library employees’ labor and are generally not copyrightable, but their sharing and reuse can be limited by contracts and license agreements in ways that are contrary to library values and norms. Maintaining a wide set of sharing and reuse rights is key to several elements of the UC Libraries’ mission to “provide information resources and services to UC faculty, students, and staff in direct support of the University of California’s teaching, learning, research, patient care, and public service goals.”

In addition to CoUL, several UC campus libraries’ metadata and collections specialists, as well as the Shared Collections and Discovery & Delivery programs of California Digital Library, strongly supported endorsement of the statement, and the UC Libraries now join many library consortia from around the world, including the California State University Libraries, the Canadian Research Knowledge Network (CRKN), LYRASIS, and Research Libraries UK, in publicly supporting libraries’ commitment to collaboration and openness to enhance the discoverability, accessibility, and responsible stewardship of library collections.

With the UC Libraries’ endorsement, CoUL Chair and UCSF University Librarian and Assistant Vice Chancellor Chris Shaffer notes: “With the unanimous support of the UC Council of University Librarians, I would like to thank ALA Core and ICOLC for developing this statement. We are happy to join with our fellow endorsing organizations in publicly voicing our shared commitment to openness and the use, re-use, adaptation, aggregation, and sharing of library metadata. We encourage others to join us in advancing this work.”