Related to my Data Fidelity post is the multitude of “web 2.0” sites out there. Something I’ve tried to pay attention to is the ability to get the data I put in back out. It’s an important thing to keep in mind and I should really go back through the sites I use and make sure I can actually get everything out, 100%.
This idea came up in an interesting thread at Flickr. It seems Flickr normally would not want to grant a license to Google so people can import into Picasa. In general, not to a direct competitor. It appears they had a change of heart and came up with another idea:
The reasoning here is partly just that “fair’s fair' and more subtly, like a GPL license, it enforces user freedom down the chain. I think we’ll take this approach (still discussing it internally).
I recommend reading the post over at O’Reilly (where i found it) and the comments there.
If libraries move to a more API-centric model or start providing data feeds for various sites to use it will be important to keep this in mind. For example if we provide patron webservices which allow users of libraryThing to easily keep track of what they read it would be important to make sure libraryThing allow patrons to export their collection data to the library or other services. This is a poor example but hopefully it gets the gist across. I think a similar thing could be said for RefWorks and other sites as well.