May 25, 2022

Conference Paper: “What Happens if You Publish the National Bibliography Under a CC0 License? – Experiences of the German National Library (DNB)”

The following paper will be presented at the IFLA World Library and Information Congress 2016 taking place August 3-19, 2016 in Columbus, OH.


What Happens if You Publish the National Bibliography Under a CC0 License? – Experiences of the German National Library (DNB)


Anke Meyer-Heß
German National Library

Jochen Rupp
German National Library



Since 1 July 2015 all bibliographic data of the German National Library and the authority data of the Integrated Authority File (GND) are provided free of charge and can be freely re-used under “Creative Commons Zero” (CC0 1.0) terms.

This includes about 11 million authority records and over 14 million bibliographic records that can be downloaded via different online interfaces or APIs.

The data can be obtained via online interfaces (Data Shop, SRU or OAI-PMH interface etc.) after an initial registration and authorization (registration free of charge).

The basic procedure for users to obtain metadata from the German National Library is for them to download the data themselves in standard formats via online interfaces.

Provision charges will be applied by the German National Library for active provision of data via FTP or WWW server which are not included in the basic service.

This change in the business model was made in order to move customers from individual data provision to automated interfaces and allow them to set their own filters and update preferences.

Since this change and the change to a CC0 license, the number of new registrations per month to get access via the SRU or OAI interface has quadrupled. The proportion of foreign users is increasing, however mostly from the German speaking countries Switzerland and Austria.

In addition already existing customers who used to apply the simple formats like DNB Casual (oai_dc) or RDFxml that were always free of charge changed to the format MARC21-XML.

These customers are primarily major suppliers of software that now provide their customers the ability to access the data of the German National Library.

Among the new customers are also university libraries, smaller municipal and public libraries and software vendors. Going forward, we expect that this trend will continue.

The paper will explain the decision to change to a CC0 license, the organizational and structural changes that had to be made and the experiences made in the first year.

Direct to Full Text Paper (12 pages; PDF)

Some of the Other IFLA 2016 Papers We’ve Shared on infoDOCKET
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About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.