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Licenses and ERMs: Standards for the expression of publisher/library licenses. Brian Green EDItEUR. Agenda. Background: EDItEUR / ONIX Early work on standards for rights Library requirements DLF ERMI project ONIX for Licensing Terms ONIX-PL format ERMI / ONIX mapping and issues

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Licenses and ERMs: Standards for the expression of publisher/library licenses

Brian Green




  • Background: EDItEUR / ONIX
  • Early work on standards for rights
  • Library requirements
  • DLF ERMI project
  • ONIX for Licensing Terms
  • ONIX-PL format
  • ERMI / ONIX mapping and issues
  • Tools for creating license expressions
  • What next?


  • International umbrella body for book industry standards development
  • Originally a European project (FEP, EBF, EBLIDA)
  • Now international - members in 20 countries
  • Libraries, booksellers/subscription agents/publishers
  • Develops and maintains innovative standards (openly available at no cost): bib/product information (ONIX), EDI, RFID, Rights expression etc.
  • Strong collaboration with national and international standards bodies (formal liaisons with ISO, NISO etc)
  • Manages International ISBN Agency
what is onix
What is ONIX?
  • A family of XML formats for communicating rich metadata about books, serials and other published media, using common data elements
  • Structured dictionary, code lists, XML Schemas, DTDs and user documentation
  • Developed and maintained by EDItEUR through a growing number of partnerships with other organisations
  • Well-structured on ontological principles
  • Extensible, mappable, interoperable
onix for books
ONIX for Books
  • The first international trade standard for product information
  • First release in 2000, Release 3 in 2008
  • Adopted by book trades of Australia, Canada, Germany, Finland France, Italy, Korea, Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Spain, Sweden, US, UK
  • A trade standard, but used by Library of Congress, Deutsche Bibliothek and others for CIP metadata supplied by publishers and enhancing OPACS
  • RDA*/ONIX discussions on high level common framework

*Resource Description and Access

onix for serials
ONIX for Serials
  • An EDItEUR – NISO collaboration through a Joint Working Party (JWP)
  • Being piloted as a series of messages to support exchanges of metadata between publishers, doc del, A&I services and libraries
  • A growing set of XML “building blocks” that can be combined in different ways to form messages for particular application needs
  • Identified the need to express usage rights

EDItEUR and rights metadata

  • 1998: formed a joint Rights Metadata Working Party with Book Industry Communication (BIC) and NISO
  • Aim was ‘to collaborate with other bodies to help define an international standard for rights metadata elements’
  • Participated in EU <indecs> (‘interoperability of data in electronic commerce systems’) project, 1998 to 2000
  • Many of the principles behind OLT are derived from <indecs>
licensing terms the problem
Licensing terms - the problem
  • Growth of digital collections in libraries
  • Need to automate electronic resource management
  • Variation in licence terms
    • What are library users permitted to do?
      • Under what conditions?
      • Which classes of users are permitted to do what?
      • What exceptions are there to what they are permitted to do?
  • Licenses are, typically, negotiated then filed away
  • How can libraries and users know what has been negotiated and avoid saying “no” just in case?
what libraries say they want
What libraries say they want
  • Expression of rights
    • rights expressed in machine readable form
  • Dissemination of rights
    • ensuring that whenever a resource is described its rights are also described
  • Exposure of rights
    • user sees the rights information associated with a resource

Intrallect DRM report for JISC

in other words
…in other words
  • Machine-readable license terms loadable into ERM systems
  • A standard mechanism for the communication of unambiguous licensing information within the library supply chain
  • Compatible with other metadata standards
    • i.e. XML - based
    • using standard identifiers
  • Flexible, extensible, interoperable
  • an ONIX for Licensing Terms
dlf ermi project 2003
DLF ERMI project (2003+)
  • US Digital Library Federation Electronic Resource Management Initiative
    • Problem Definition/Road Map
    • Functional Requirements
    • Workflow Diagram
    • Entity Relationship Diagram for Electronic Resource Management
    • Data Element Dictionary (including licensing terms)
    • Electronic Resources Management System Data Structure
    • XML Investigation
ermi terms of use elements
Authorized User Definition

Local Authorized User Definition Indicator

Fair Use Clause Indicator

All Rights Reserved Indicator

Database Protection Override Clause Indicator

Citation Requirement Detail

Digitally Copy*

Print Copy*

Scholarly Sharing*

Distance Education*

Interlibrary Loan Print or Fax*

Interlibrary Loan Secure Electronic Transmission*

Interlibrary Loan Electronic*

Course Reserve Print*

Course Reserve Electronic/ Cached Copy*

Electronic Link*

Course Pack Print*

Course Pack Electronic*

Remote Access*

Concurrent Users

Pooled Concurrent Users

Other User Restriction Note

Other Use Restriction Note

ERMI terms of use elements
ermi permission encodings
ERMI Permission Encodings
  • Permitted (explicit)
  • Prohibited (explicit)
  • Permitted (interpreted)
  • Prohibited (interpreted)
  • Silent (no interpretation)
  • Not applicable
editeur review of ermi use terms
EDItEUR review of ERMI use terms
  • EDItEUR commissioned review of ERMI from Rightscom, which concluded:
    • The ERMI terms of use and permissions encodings are a valuable starting point for the development of such a communication standard but requires further development
    • To meet requirements of precision, extensibility and interoperability, licensing terms require further development and organising into an (onto)logical structure
  • ..and proposed
    • Rights model premise based on <indecs>: all licences are groups of events


  • Permits (MAY)
  • Prohibits (MUST NOT)
  • Has
  • Exception
  • Requires (MUST)
  • UseEvent
  • Has
  • Precondition
  • Payment
  • Reporting
  • Event
  • etc
  • Terms of a Licence as a group of Events
  • Licensing
  • Event
  • This structure allows for whatever level of flexibility or granularity may be required now or in the future.
the need for precision
The need for precision
  • e.g. Inter Library Loan (ILL)
  • Everyone knows what ILL means!
  • ILL clause from one model contract :
  • “The Licensee may supply to an Authorised User of another library within the same country as the Licensee a copy of an individual document being part of the Licensed Materials by post, fax or electronic transmission via the Internet or otherwise, for the purposes of research or private study and not for Commercial Use.”
  • i.e. lots of variables – and they do vary!
but allowing for ambiguity
…but allowing for ambiguity
  • Format needs to be able to cope with high level definitions (e.g. ILL) if that’s what the licence uses
    • i.e. deliberate ambiguity
  • But needs to be able to express clauses at a more granular level if the licence does
onix for licensing terms olt
ONIX for Licensing Terms (OLT)
  • Takes into account the requirements of all stakeholders in the chain
  • Provides for the full complexity of rights management requirements
    • Based on a logical events-based “rights model”
  • Fully extensible
    • Able to support any future business model
    • Able to support multimedia rights management
  • Designed to support interoperability
    • Can be mapped to other well structured metadata formats
not a rights expression language
Not a “Rights Expression Language”
  • XrML / ODRL are designed to control rights “enforcement technologies” (i.e. technical protection)
  • They don’t have the flexibility we need
    • don’t express exceptions well
    • designed to have a one-to-one relationship to a resource
  • Libraries and publishers prefer to rely on compliance to licences
  • Our focus is entirely on the communication of usage terms (rights metadata), not technical protection
  • Library policies can overide message (e.g. fair use)

OLT ‘proof of concept’

  • The publication of ERMI’s work in 2004 underlined the need for a standard for expressing and communicating license terms in the library sector
  • With funding from JISC (Joint Information Systems Committee of the UK Higher Education Funding Council) and the Publishers Licensing Society, EDItEUR commissioned Rightscom to undertake a ‘proof of concept’ project with the ONIX team
  • A workshop in April 2005, with publishers, librarians, agents, system vendors and ERMI representatives confirmed the potential for this work

OLT and its potential applications

  • At this point (2005) OLT was generally identified with publishers’ licenses to academic libraries
  • However, EDItEUR always conceived OLT as something that should be applicable to many types of licensor and licensee, many types of licensed content, and many types of usage
  • There is, therefore, NO single ‘ONIX Licensing Terms’ format
  • OLT is a family of license-related formats with a shared underlying framework

The OLT framework

  • A data model for describing licensing ‘events’
  • All terms defined in a structured OLT Dictionary that will grow as new application needs are identified
  • Individual formats specified – with appropriate levels of specialization – as separate XML schemas and documentation

OLT applications

  • ONIX for Publications Licenses (ONIX-PL)
  • Message formats for the International Federation of Reproduction Rights Organizations (IFRRO): ONIX for Repertoire, and ONIX for Distributions
  • The Automated Content Access Protocol (ACAP) project is working with EDItEUR and OLT terms to express permissions for use of web content in a form that can be interpreted by search engine crawlers – see
  • Others to come

ONIX-PL usage scenarios

  • Licensor to licensee, where the license is based on a licensor’s model, to be used (among other things?) to feed an ERMS
  • Licensee to licensor, where the license is based on a licensee’s model
  • Negotiation?
  • ERMS to ERMS (eg within a consortium) – but this will be a different level of implementation, carrying an expression of the ERMI encoding rather than the ‘whole’ license
structure of onix pl format
Structure of ONIX-PL format
  • Structured XML statements of all terms and conditions actionable in licensee’s system
  • Non-actionable terms and conditions are included as controlled “term type” references to the license text
    • This will facilitate a knowledge base of consistently classified non-actionable terms and conditions
  • Changing collection of licensed materials may be specified by reference to a separate source
  • Ability to express complete license
    • Potential license management tool

Publishers like it too

  • Helps libraries comply with licensing terms
    • Precise clarification of usage conditions, prohibitions and conditions
    • Reinforces trust-based relationships between publishers and their library customers
  • Facilitates publishers’ management of licences
    • Libraries aren’t the only ones with electronic resource management problems
    • Enables a knowledge base of licence agreements
  • Major academic libraries, consortia, HE funding bodies likely to demand machine readable licences in due course
ermi onix the differences
ERMI & ONIX: the differences
  • ERMI use terms & permissions encoding designed with a view to libraries mapping usage terms from licenses into ERM system, making their own interpretations
  • ONIX-PL designed to deliver machine readable licenses directly into ERMs, but not “hard-wired” libraries can still apply their own policies and interpretations
  • illustrated with help from Nathan Robertson’s great graphics
license management the old way
License Management—The Old Way

What staff can and can’t do

  • What users can and can’t do
license management the new way
License Management—The New Way

Oh, good! I can use this for ILL!

  • ?
  • !!?!



I’m not supposed to e-mail it to my friends? (whatever, I’ll do it anyway...)

xml license expression standard

ONIX-PL Encoding

XML License Expression Standard
  • ?
  • ?
  • ?




Confirm interpretations

ermi onix working together
ERMI & ONIX working together
  • ONIX-PL encoding of ERMI use terms and permissions encoding for communication to and between current ERMI-based ERM systems
  • Mapping of ONIX-PL to ERMI (where possible –(many ONIX usage terms cannot currently be expressed in ERMI)
  • Agreement to extend ERMI use terms (mechanism to be decided)
  • Collaboration in joint License Expression Working Group
niso dlf editeur pls license expression working group
NISO / DLF / EDItEUR / PLS License Expression Working Group
  • A wide cross-section of stakeholders briefed “to develop a single standard for the exchange of license information between publishers, intermediaries and libraries.”
  • Co-chaired by Alicia Wise (PLS) and Nathan Robertson (ERMI)
  • Small expert sub-group and wider reference group of 60+ stakeholders

ONIX-PL Editing Tools (OPLE)

  • Library ERM systems will manage message format for their libraries
  • Smaller publishers cannot be expected to draft XML versions of their licences
  • JISC funded specification of drafting tool to enable publishers to produce ONIX-PL expressions of their licences, with input from publishers:
    • Wiley, CUP, OUP, RSM, RSC, Rockefeller UP
  • JISC and PLS (Publishers Licensing Society) co-funded development of licence drafting tools (open source – freely available to all)
  • Also useful for libraries
some ople features
Some OPLE features
  • No familiarity with XML required
  • The system will support two “views” of a license expression:
    • “Form” view, used for editing
    • “Page” view, used for comparing a complete license with a the paper-based original
  • “Page view” will also be useful for libraries wishing to check publishers’ ONIX-PL expression of their licenses
jisc the first ople user
JISC: the first OPLE user
  • JISC Collections (a limited company formed by the UK Higher Education Funding Council to manage the acquisition of licensed electronic resources for the academic community) has identified a need to express all its existing licenses with publishers (around 80) in electronic form for use in ERMS
  • With support from EDItEUR , JISC is currently using ONIX-PL and the OPLE editing tools to do this
  • JISC insist on mapping in detail to ensure that all the negotiated usage rights are expressed
but jisc have a problem
…but JISC have a problem
  • JISC are in the market for an ERM system but haven’t found one that can accept full ONIX-PL
  • Mapping their ONIX-PL expressions to ERMI terms is fine for the more common terms, nearly all of which will in any case be permitted, but excludes many of the more controversial terms that they have negotiated (e.g. Deposit a digital copy of a resource in a digital repository)
  • Extension of the ERMI terms, and mechanisms for their ongoing maintenance, will help, but they have a “plan B”
reli registry of electronic licences
RELI (Registry of Electronic Licences)
  • The JISC Registry of Electronic Licences (RELI) project aims to establish the user requirements for a Licence Registry able to integrate with the JISC Information Environment. It also aims to design, build, deploy and test a pilot based on the requirements.
  • The Registry will enable key elements of licences to be made available so that a user can be provided with licence information at the point of use without additional human intervention.
  • The project began in April 2007 and will run for 2 years.
what do libraries really want
What do libraries really want?
  • JISC and UK libraries that we work with say that libraries want to receive ready-mapped machine readable licenses into their systems, expressing all the usage rights that they have negotiated
  • ERM vendors seem to believe that US libraries will wish to map their own licenses or exchange encoded licenses mainly from other libraries/consortia (a trust issue?)
  • Workshop session being planned to discuss this at ALA Midwinter, but let’s start the debate now.

EDItEUR for ONIX for Licensing Terms


NISO License Expression Working Group

The ACAP project

Brian Green