Master's Paper

Master’s Paper rambling…

Here’s a brief response to a post on the commons-blog from the ALA. Originally left as a comment, but I’m linking via trackback as well to try and generate some conversation.
One of the things I’m discussing in my Master’s Paper (soon to be openly available near you) is the lack of a “brand identity” to the open access movement. It is similar to the Free Software/Open Source debates between Stallman and Raymond. I think Raymond is very correct in his assertion that language matters, especially when it comes to convincing others of your opinions.

I, for one, really dislike the label “Open Access” since that seems limiting. Every public webpage is technically “Open Access”…I’m more interested in the Open Source idea of the value of the ability to muck around with information of all sorts. Simple access seems almost a trivial right in the increasingly digital era.

Right now I’m leaning towards “Open Information” as a label for the overarching movement. I’d love to hear other suggestions, though.

By griffey

Jason Griffey is the Director of Strategic Initiatives at NISO, where he works to identify new areas of the information ecosystem where standards expertise is useful and needed. Prior to joining NISO in 2019, Jason ran his own technology consulting company for libraries, has been both an Affiliate at metaLAB and a Fellow and Affiliate at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, and was an academic librarian in roles ranging from reference and instruction to Head of IT at the University of TN at Chattanooga.

Jason has written extensively on technology and libraries, including multiple books and a series of full-periodical issues on technology topics, most recently AI & Machine Learning in Libraries and Library Spaces and Smart Buildings: Technology, Metrics, and Iterative Design from 2018. His newest book, co-authored with Jeffery Pomerantz, will be published by MIT Press in 2024.

He has spoken internationally on topics such as artificial intelligence & machine learning, the future of technology and libraries, decentralization and the Blockchain, privacy, copyright, and intellectual property. A full list of his publications and presentations can be found on his CV.
He is one of eight winners of the Knight Foundation News Challenge for Libraries for the Measure the Future project (, an open hardware project designed to provide actionable use metrics for library spaces. He is also the creator and director of The LibraryBox Project (, an open source portable digital file distribution system.

Jason can be stalked obsessively online, and spends his free time with his daughter Eliza, reading, obsessing over gadgets, and preparing for the inevitable zombie uprising.

2 replies on “Master’s Paper rambling…”

I’m confused (as usual) and am coming late & uninformed into this discussion:

What are the differences, other than semantic, in the terms “access” “source” and “information”? I could call it the “Open Refrigerator” movement and it doesn’t matter in a legal sense. What matters is the limits set on the information, either by license or by laissez faire.

Heck, if you want to play devil’s advocate, “Open” might be a confining word. Stores are open, then close. You need a word that says, “This stuff is 24/7 accessible, forever. Go play.” Of course, if you called it “Free Information” everyone would think of the government pamphlets from Pueblo, Colorado.

If you are changing the name to establish a brand identity, remember that the word Viagra doesn’t mean “old men can now get a stiffy” — the branding came from creating a word that could be used in public & sound friendly and non-embarassing. Form=/Function in the advertising world. Call the Open X Movement “Infozuma” and you’ll do just as well in the public marketplace.

Who is your target audience for selling the concept of this “brand”? Scholars? Students? Housewives? Senators? Truckdrivers?

p.s. are all unregistered domains at the moment

I second the vote for Infozuma. To me it either invokes the image of a very fat sumo wrestler made of paper mache (which itself is made from library books) or a viral information structure (because Infozuma sounds a little like influenze)…

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