Opening up libraries with the Open Content Alliance

The Internet Archive is challenging proprietary efforts to digitize the nation's libraries.

Slashdot notes that the Internet Archive is bumping up against Google in a new initiative to digitize the United States' libraries. The initiative is called the Open Content Alliance and seems to overcome the libraries' concerns with Google's (and Microsoft's) similar but proprietary efforts:

A number of major library systems, including the Boston Public Library and Smithsonian, have refused to sign up with competing ventures by Microsoft and Google because they do not provide for universal access to digitized books. These commercial ventures prohibit books being accessed by competing search engines. So far, 80 libraries and research institutions have signed on with Open Content Alliance. They must pay for the scanning of their books while Google and Microsoft offset that cost for their participating institutions.

It's understandable that commercial ventures would seek to close off the fruits of their labors. It's better for "open-source" efforts to keep such fruits open, especially when the "fruits" in question are derived from public-domain literature/works.

Guess which book service I'll be using?

Tech Culture
About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.


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