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October 22, 2007

The Open Content Alliance

The New York Times ran an article today entitled "Major Libraries rejecting deals on online books: Some Shun Tech Giants: Googe and Microsoft Offered Scanning, With Restrictions." The article stated that research libraries such as the Boston Public Library and the Smithsonian Institution have opted to sign on with the Open Content Alliance, a nonprofit which makes online books widely available. In contrast, Google, which has signed with libraries like the libraries at the University of Michigan, Harvard, Stanford, and Oxford, restricts material from other search services.

The full article is at http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/22/technology/22library.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin.

The Open Content Alliance is run by a group of benefactors who cover the cost of scanning books (about $30/book), and they make the content available to all search services. For more information, their website is http://www.opencontentalliance.org/.

I think that the University of Michigan is making a grave mistake by signing with google. The goal of a library is to provide information to the public; by restricting information in the interest of commercial concerns, the library is not fulfilling its duty. Perhaps, if possible they should consider the benefits of signing with the Open Content Alliance.

Posted by leslieph at October 22, 2007 08:43 AM


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