Friday, February 24, 2006

New Frontiers in Digital Libraries: Open Content Alliance

Brewster Kahle, among other great ideas, came up with the Internet Archive (see the information on Mr. Kahle and others behind the Archive, and a nice link to the Archive itself at Now, he has looked at the Google Library idea, and said, why stir up all this angst about the copyright issue?

Mr. Kahle has started an Open Content Alliance which focuses only on material outside of copyright. The link in the title here takes you to an article from the Chronicle of Higher Education, January 27, 2006, which discusses the project. They have Microsoft, Yahoo, and more than twenty libraries, including such stand-out research libraries as Columbia, Johns Hopkins, University of Virginia, the Smithsonian Institution libraries, York University and a number of other great Canadian universities, all signed on to cooperate in the project. The Alliance is suddenly bigger than the Google Library project.

While Google is creating a giant, searchable database, a sort of OCR card catalog, the Alliance is actually scanning the books and making the PDF files, electronic books available for free, to the masses. See this more rousing article from the San Francisco Chronicle:

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