Information commons

An information commons is an information system, such as a physical library or online community, that exists to produce, conserve, and preserve information for current and future generations. Wikipedia could be considered to be an information commons to the extent that it produces and preserves information through current versions of articles and histories. Other examples of an information commons include Creative Commons.


The concept of the "information commons" refers to the shared knowledge-base and the processes that facilitate or hinder its use. It also refers to a physical space, usually in an academic library, where any and all can participate in the processes of information research, gathering and production. The term commons refers to the land (or common grounds) that villagers shared for grazing purposes in simpler times. The issues that fall under this topic are varied and include:

Some believe that the increasing control and commodification of information restricts humanity's ability to encourage and foster positive developments in its cultural, academic, and economic growth.

The Internet

The internet took the information commons to another level. The internet age empowered consumers to become creators, producers, and distributors of information.[1] The internet facilitated a decentralized production and distribution of information. It bypasses the control of some of the more traditional publishing methods. These information are neither regulated by managers nor are they coordinated by price signals in the market. This result in a common-based production of knowledge that can be easily shared among individuals.

Software commons

The software commons consists of all computer software which is available at little or no cost and which can be reused with few restrictions. It includes open source software which can be modified with few restrictions.[2][3] However the commons also includes software outside of these categories – for instance, software which is in the public domain.

Many innovative programmers have and released open source applications to the public, without the restrictive licensing conditions of commercial software. A popular example is Linux, a open source operating system. The server computers for Google Search run Linux.[4]


Open-source programs started emerging in the 1960s.[5] IBM was one of the first computer companies to offer their products to the public. Most of these computers came with free software that was universal among similar computers, and could be altered by anyone with the software. This changed in the 1970s when IBM decided to take more control of their products, removing the source codes and not allowing the redistribution of their software.

In the 1980s and 1990s the software commons grew with the help of a bulletin board servers, accessed with dial-up modems. This expanded in the late 1990s with the growth of the Internet, which facilitated international cooperation and allowed individuals and groups to share their products more freely. The GNU Project was founded in 1983 to develop free software.

In 1998 Netscape Communications Corporation announced that all future versions of their software would be free of charge and developed by an Open Source Community (Mozilla). This included Netscape Navigator, then the most popular web browser.[6]

Licensing commons

Licensing is the process that copyright owners use to monitor reproduction, distribution, or other use of creative works. Many commercial licensing conditions are costly and restrictive. Licensing models used in information commons typically grant permission for a wide range of uses. The GNU General Public License (GPL), developed by Richard Stallman at MIT in the 1980s is one such license: "The GNU Free Documentation License is a form of copyleft intended for use on a manual, textbook or other document to assure everyone the effective freedom to copy and redistribute it, with or without modifications, either commercially or non-commercially." [7]

Scholarly commons

“In the 1980s, many professional societies turned over their journal publishing to private firms as a way to contain membership fees and generate income.” [8] Prices of scholarly journals rose dramatically[9] and publishing corporations restricted access to these journals through expensive licenses. Research libraries had no other choice but to cut many of their journal subscriptions. European and American academic communities began to find alternate ways to distribute and manage scholarly information. The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) was founded in 1998. “It is an international alliance of academic and research libraries working to correct imbalances in the scholarly publishing system. Its pragmatic focus is to stimulate the emergence of new scholarly communication models that expand the dissemination of scholarly research and reduce financial pressures on libraries." [10]


  1. ^ Kranich, Nancy. "The Information Commons." (2004): 6. Weborn 6 May 2011. <>.
  2. ^ "The Free Expression Policy Project". Retrieved 2012-08-23.
  3. ^ "A brief history of open source software". Retrieved 2012-08-23.
  4. ^ "Our history in depth – Company – Google". Retrieved 2013-09-30.
  5. ^ Levy, S. (1984). Hackers. Anchor/Doubleday, New York.
  6. ^ "Browser History: Netscape". Retrieved 2012-08-23.
  7. ^ <>
  8. ^ Kranich, Nancy. "The Information Commons." (2004): 18. Weborn 6 May 2011. <>.
  9. ^ "The cost of journals". University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library. Retrieved 27 November 2016.
  10. ^ <>

Further reading

  • Beagle, Donald Robert, with Donald Russell Bailey and Barbara Tierney (contributors). 2006. The Information Commons Handbook. Neal-Schuman Publishers. 247 p. ISBN 1-55570-562-6
  • Collier, David. 2005. Brand Name Bullies: The Quest to Own and Control Culture. Wiley. ISBN 0-471-67927-5
  • Burrell, Robert and Alison Coleman. 2005. Copyright Exceptions: the Digital Impact. Cambridge University Press. 426 p. ISBN 0-521-84726-5
  • Free Culture
  • Griffith, Jonathan and Uma Suthersanen. 2005. Copyright and Free Speech: Comparative and International Analyses. Oxford University Press. 426 p. ISBN 0-19-927604-8

External links

Asbury Theological Seminary

Asbury Theological Seminary is an evangelical, multi-denominational, graduate institution that offers a variety of master's degree and postgraduate degree programs through the schools of Biblical Interpretation and Proclamation, Theology and Formation, Practical Theology, World Mission and Evangelism, and Postgraduate Studies. The main campus is located in Wilmore, Kentucky, near Lexington.

Asbury Theological Seminary is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada (ATS).

Brooklyn Public Library

The Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) is the public library system of the borough of Brooklyn, in New York City. It is the fifth largest public library system in the United States. Like the two other public library systems in New York City, it is an independent nonprofit organization that is funded by the New York City and State governments, the federal government, and private donors. In Fiscal Year 2009, Brooklyn Public Library had the highest program attendance of any public library system in the United States. The library currently promotes itself as Bklyn Public Library.

Coastal Carolina University

Coastal Carolina University, commonly referred to as CCU or Coastal, is a public liberal arts university in Conway, South Carolina, which is located in the Myrtle Beach metropolitan area. Founded in 1954, Coastal became an independent university in 1993.

The university is a national sea-grant institution and owns part of Waties Island, an Atlantic barrier island that serves as a natural laboratory for CCU's instruction and research. The campus is also the home of the Horry County Schools Scholars Academy, a high school for gifted students.

Crucible Theatre

The Crucible Theatre (often referred to simply as "The Crucible") is a theatre in the city centre of Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England which opened in 1971, As well as theatrical performances, it hosts the most prestigious event in professional snooker, the World Championship. The theatre was refurbished between 2007 and late 2009 and officially reopened 18 February 2010.

Fondren Library

Fondren Library is the main library of Rice University in Houston, Texas. The library is named for Walter W. Fondren, a co-founder of the Humble Oil & Refining Company, whose family donated $1 million in 1946 for construction of the library. The building was designed by Houston architect John F. Staub and was notable for its open stack arrangement and art deco influence in the architecture. The library was dedicated on November 4, 1949. The library celebrated its 60th birthday in 2009.

An addition to the back of the building in 1969, formally known as the Graduate Research Wing, added 99,000 square feet (9,200 m2) of research space including study rooms, stacks space, and space for the library's special collections, the Woodson Research Center (named for Benjamin Woodson). In December 1997, the Hobby Foundation designated $21.4 million specifically for improvements in Fondren Library. This gift allowed for additional space planning including the building in 2004 of the Library Service Center, a high-density offsite shelving facility that houses less-used materials in a climate-controlled environment. In 2005-06, Fondren underwent an extensive renovation creating access through the entire library, a new first-floor Hobby Information commons, and a Rice-only study space on the sixth floor with dynamic views of the campus.

Immaculate Heart Academy

Immaculate Heart Academy (IHA) is an all-girls college preparatory private Roman Catholic high school located in Washington Township, in Bergen County, New Jersey, United States. The school was founded in 1960 by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace as the first regional high school for girls in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Newark. From 1990 to 2008, administration shifted to the Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The school colors are blue and white, and the school's athletes are known as the Blue Eagles.Immaculate Heart Academy has been accredited by the Commission on Secondary Schools of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools since 1971. For the 1996-97 school year, Immaculate Heart Academy was recognized with the National Blue Ribbon Award of Excellence from the United States Department of Education, the highest honor that an American school can achieve.As of the 2017-18 academic year, the school had an enrollment of 704 students and 67 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis). In 2016, school's student body iss 84.2% White, 8.7% Hispanic, 4.0% Asian, 1.5% Black, 0.7% Native Hawaiian / Pacific Islander, 0.4% American Indian/Alaska Native and 0.5% two or more races. Students come to IHA from Bergen County, Essex County, Passaic County and Hudson County in New Jersey, and from Rockland County and Orange County in New York.

Information Commons, Sheffield

The Information Commons (also known as the IC) is a library and computing building in Sheffield, England, and is part of the University of Sheffield. The architects were the Edinburgh-based RMJM. The IC is located on Leavygreave Road, close to the University tram stop.

It opened on 10 April 2007 to staff and students of the University, although it was officially opened on 26 September 2007 by Harsh Srivastav, a graduate of the University and former President of the Students Union. The project was conceived and is jointly operated by the University Library and the Corporate Information and Computing Services (CiCS). Soon after opening, satirical British magazine, Private Eye questioned the appropriateness of the building's name as a "commons", pointing out that ordinary residents of Sheffield, temporary staff and visiting researchers from other universities are forbidden access.The IC has over 1,300 study spaces, 500 computers, and carries 100,000 texts. There is an information desk and a café on the ground floor, toilets and water fountains on all levels and shower facilities on the first level. The building is open to University of Sheffield staff and students 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

On Thursday 2 February 2017, the IC hosted the University of Sheffield #1lib1ref event

As of 2016, the Information Commons hosts the University's Digital Commons, a collaborative space to develop innovations in Digital Learning.

The Information Commons was temporary closed during the summer vacation of 2017 due to the interior refurbishment. The IC was reopened in September 2017 with alterations to interior design and layout.

Knowledge commons

The term "knowledge commons" refers to information, data, and content that is collectively owned and managed by a community of users, particularly over the Internet. What distinguishes a knowledge commons from a commons of shared physical resources is that digital resources are non-subtractible; that is, multiple users can access the same digital resources with no effect on their quantity or quality.

La Quadrature du Net

La Quadrature du Net (Squaring of the Net in French) is a French advocacy group that promotes digital rights and freedoms of citizens. It advocates for French and European legislation to respect the founding principles of the Internet, most notably the free circulation of knowledge. La Quadrature du Net engages in public-policy debates concerning, for instance, freedom of speech, copyright, regulation of telecommunications and online privacy.

The group was founded in 2008 by free software promoters and activists. It gained notoriety by fighting the HADOPI law, a controversial project to establish a graduated response in France. Its action against Internet censorship and Net neutrality led the Quadrature to work on subjects such as the LOPPSI law, the Telecoms Package or ACTA. In 2012 Quadrature spokesman and co-founder Jérémie Zimmermann received a Pioneer award for his action against ACTA.The Quadrature is supported by other advocacy and free software groups, including the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Free Software Foundation.In 2013, the collective re-organised from a de facto association to a formal (French law) association. This association was founded by 8 long-time participants or helpers of the initial collective.

Philippe Aigrain, author of two books on information commons, is one of the co-founders of the collective and the association.

Jérémie Zimmermann, also co-founder of both collective and association, is frequently invited to television programs and interviews, defending and raising awareness about the association's positions and opposition to the many projects they consider threaten fundamental liberties and the Internet (French HADOPI law, European Telecoms Package, ACTA, Net Neutrality, etc.

Loyola University Chicago

Loyola University Chicago (often referred to as Loyola or LUC) is a private Catholic research university in Chicago, Illinois. Founded in 1870 by the Jesuits, today Loyola is one of the largest Catholic universities in the United States. Loyola's professional schools have educated generations of local business and civic leaders, and distinguished programs in medicine, nursing, and health sciences are anchored by the nationally recognized Loyola University Medical Center.Comprising eleven colleges and schools, Loyola offers over 80 undergraduate and 140 graduate/professional programs and enrolls approximately 16,000 students. Loyola has six campuses across the Chicago metropolitan area, as well as a campus in Rome and guest programs in Beijing and Ho Chi Minh City. The flagship Lake Shore Campus is on the shores of Lake Michigan in the Rogers Park and Edgewater neighborhoods of Chicago, eight miles north of the Loop.

Loyola's athletic teams, nicknamed the Ramblers, compete in NCAA Division I as members of the Missouri Valley Conference. Loyola won the 1963 NCAA men's basketball championship, and remains the only school from Illinois to do so. The Ramblers are also two-time (2014, 2015) NCAA champions in men's volleyball.Among the more than 150,000 Loyola alumni, there are executives of major Chicago-based corporations such as McDonald's and Baxter International, as well as dozens of local and national political leaders including the current Illinois Attorney General and Speaker of the House. Loyola alumni have won Emmy, Grammy, Peabody, and Pulitzer awards, as well as Guggenheim and MacArthur fellowships.

Massachusetts Maritime Academy

Massachusetts Maritime Academy (also called Maritime, Mass Maritime, MMA or Mass (when differentiating between the other Maritime Academies)) is a public college in Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts offering undergraduate degrees in maritime-related fields, as well as graduate degrees and professional studies. Established in 1891, Mass Maritime is the second oldest state maritime academy in the United States. Originally established to graduate deck and engineering officers for the U.S. Merchant Marine, the academy has since expanded its curriculum. Though not required, some graduates go on to serve in active & reserve components of the U.S. Armed Forces. The academy operates a training ship, the USTS Kennedy.

Public domain

The public domain consists of all the creative works to which no exclusive intellectual property rights apply. Those rights may have expired, been forfeited, expressly waived, or may be inapplicable.The works of William Shakespeare and Beethoven, and most early silent films, are in the public domain either by virtue of their having been created before copyright existed, or by their copyright term having expired. Some works are not covered by copyright, and are therefore in the public domain—among them the formulae of Newtonian physics, cooking recipes, and all computer software created prior to 1974. Other works are actively dedicated by their authors to the public domain (see waiver); some examples include reference implementations of cryptographic algorithms, the image-processing software ImageJ, created by the National Institutes of Health, and the CIA's World Factbook. The term public domain is not normally applied to situations where the creator of a work retains residual rights, in which case use of the work is referred to as "under license" or "with permission".

As rights vary by country and jurisdiction, a work may be subject to rights in one country and be in the public domain in another. Some rights depend on registrations on a country-by-country basis, and the absence of registration in a particular country, if required, gives rise to public-domain status for a work in that country. The term public domain may also be interchangeably used with other imprecise or undefined terms such as the "public sphere" or "commons", including concepts such as the "commons of the mind", the "intellectual commons", and the "information commons".

Rutherford College, Auckland

Rutherford College (formerly named Rutherford High School from 1961 to 2001) is a co-educational state secondary school on the Te Atatu Peninsula, Auckland, New Zealand. It is named after New Zealand-born nuclear physicist and chemist Lord Ernest Rutherford.

Sandygate Road

Sandygate Road is a football and cricket stadium in the Sheffield suburb of Crosspool, South Yorkshire, England. It is home to Hallam F.C. and Hallam C.C.

First opened in 1804, Hallam F.C. have played at the ground since 1860. Sandygate has been recognised by the Guinness Book of Records as the "Oldest Ground in the World". On 26 December 1860, the world's first inter-club football match was played at the ground, Hallam taking on Sheffield F.C.

University of Pennsylvania

The University of Pennsylvania (Penn or UPenn) is a private Ivy League research university located in the University City neighborhood of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Chartered in 1755, Penn is the sixth-oldest institution of higher education in the United States. It is one of the nine colonial colleges founded prior to the Declaration of Independence. Benjamin Franklin, Penn's founder and first president, advocated an educational program that trained leaders in commerce, government, and public service, similar to a modern liberal arts curriculum. The university's coat of arms features a dolphin on its red chief, adopted from Benjamin Franklin's own coat of arms.Following a multidisciplinary model pioneered by several European universities, Penn was one of the first academic institutions in the United States to concentrate multiple "faculties" (e.g., theology, classics, medicine) into one institution. It is also home to several education innovations. The first school of medicine in North America (Perelman School of Medicine, 1765), the first collegiate business school (Wharton School, 1881) and the first "student union" building and organization (Houston Hall, 1896) were founded at Penn.

The university has four undergraduate schools which provide a combined 99 undergraduate majors in the humanities, natural sciences, business, and engineering, as well twelve graduate and professional schools. It also provides the option to pursue specialized dual degree programs. Undergraduate admissions is highly competitive, with an acceptance rate of 8.4% for the class of 2022, and the school is ranked as the 8th best university in the United States by the U.S. News & World Report. In athletics, the Quakers field varsity teams in 33 sports as a member of the NCAA Division I Ivy League conference and hold a total of 210 Ivy League championships as of 2017. In 2018, the university had an endowment of $13.8 billion, the seventh largest endowment of all colleges in the United States, as well as an academic research budget of $966 million.Penn scientists and scholars have led an important role in the development of many scientific breakthroughs including: the first electronic general-purpose Turing-complete digital computer, the ENIAC; first commercial computer produced in the United States, the UNIVAC I; the first spelling and grammar checker; the development of COBOL; the tree-adjoining grammar formalism; the standard procedure for measuring GDP and GNP; the first econometric model of the U.S. economy; the conjoint analysis; the first detection of solar neutrinos; the conductive polymer; and the Philadelphia chromosome.

As of 2018, distinguished alumni include 14 heads of state, 64 billionaire alumni; 3 United States Supreme Court justices; 33 United States Senators, 44 United States Governors and 159 members of the U.S. House of Representatives; 8 signers of the United States Declaration of Independence; 12 signers of the United States Constitution, 24 members of the Continental Congress, and two presidents of the United States, including the current president. Other notable alumni include 27 Rhodes Scholars, 15 Marshall Scholarship recipients, 16 Pulitzer Prize winners, and 48 Fulbright Scholars. In addition, some 35 Nobel laureates, 169 Guggenheim Fellows, 80 members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and many Fortune 500 CEOs have been affiliated with the university.

University of Sheffield

The University of Sheffield (informally Sheffield University) is a public research university in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England. It received its royal charter in 1905 as successor to the University College of Sheffield, which was established in 1897 by the merger of Sheffield Medical School (founded in 1828), Firth College (1879) and Sheffield Technical School (1884).Sheffield is a multi-campus university predominantly over two campus areas: the Western Bank and the St George's. The university is organised into five academic faculties composed of multiple departments. It had 20,005 undergraduate and 8,710 postgraduate students in 2016/17. The annual income of the institution for 2017–18 was £691.8 million of which £197.5 million was from research grants and contracts, with an expenditure of £636.8 million. Sheffield ranks among the top 10 of UK universities for research grant funding.Sheffield was placed 75th worldwide and 13th in the UK according to QS World University Rankings and 106th worldwide and 12th in the UK according to Times Higher Education World University Rankings. It was ranked 12th in the UK amongst multi-faculty institutions for the quality (GPA) of its research and for its Research Power in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework. In 2011, Sheffield was named 'University of the Year' in the Times Higher Education awards. The Times Higher Education Student Experience Survey 2014 ranked the University of Sheffield 1st for student experience, social life, university facilities and accommodation, among other categories.It is one of the original red brick universities, a member of the Russell Group of research-intensive universities, the Worldwide Universities Network, the N8 Group of the eight most research intensive universities in Northern England and the White Rose University Consortium. There are eight Nobel laureates affiliated with Sheffield and six of them are the alumni or former long-term staff of the university.

University of Toronto Libraries

The University of Toronto Libraries system is the largest academic library in Canada and is ranked third among peer institutions in North America, behind only Harvard and Yale. The system consists of 44 libraries located on three university campuses: St. George, Mississauga and Scarborough. This array of college libraries, special collections, and specialized libraries and information centres supports the teaching and research requirements of 215 graduate programs, over 60 professional programs, and more than 700 undergraduate degree programs. In addition to more than 12 million print volumes in 341 languages, the library system currently provides access to 150,467 journal titles, millions of electronic resources in various forms and almost 30,000 linear metres of archival material. More than 150,000 new print volumes are acquired each year.

The largest library in the system is the Robarts Library, which houses the main collection of social sciences and humanities research resources at the University of Toronto. The Robarts Library complex is also home to the central Libraries’ administrative offices, exhibit galleries, Scotiabank Information Commons, Centre for Teaching Support & Innovation, Cheng Yu Tung East Asian Library, Richard Charles Lee Canada-Hong Kong Library, Map & Data Library, Petro Jacyk Central & East European Resource Centre and the Media Commons. The adjacent Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, which is open to the public, houses both the Department of Rare books and Special Collections and the University of Toronto Archives and Records Management Services. It is Canada’s largest rare book library and its holdings include books, manuscripts, maps, and graphic and audiovisual material covering a broad range of subjects and time periods. The Gerstein Science Information Centre is the main library for the science and health science disciplines. In addition to the Centre’s comprehensive print collection,

there is a vast selection of health and scientific databases and indexes available online.

Van Pelt Library

The Charles Patterson Van Pelt Library (also known as the Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center, and simply Van Pelt) is the primary library at the University of Pennsylvania.

The building was designed by architects Harbeson, Hough, Livingston & Larson, and built in 1962. It has a gross area of 201,215 square feet (18,693 m2). In addition to being the primary library on campus for social sciences and humanities, it also houses the Lippincott Library of The Wharton School, the Ormandy Music Library, and the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts. Van Pelt houses strong Area Studies collections in African, Japanese, Latin American, Chinese, Middle East, South Asia, and Judaica & Ancient Near East Studies. The Henry Charles Lea Library is located on the 6th floor of Van Pelt Library. The library holds the Weigle Information Commons, located on the west side of the 1st floor.

Vaguely Grecian with a massive colonnade, but screened by brick panels with small windows that resemble an old French library, the Van Pelt Library is a major presence on the campus. A large modern art sculpture, called The Button, sits at its southern entrance.

West One

West One is also the name of a retail park in Salford.

West One is a mixed-use development at the centre of the Devonshire Quarter in the city centre of Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England. It comprises bars, restaurants and shops at ground-level (including the large Revolution bar) and apartments housing over 1,000 people above, including a penthouse. It faces onto Devonshire Green, (restored in 2007) and provides easy access to the Moor and Division Street.

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