Digitised books on Internet Archive
The grant will also benefit the Open Content Alliance, an initiative launched in October 2005 and backed by the Internet Archive, Yahoo Inc. and others to digitize books and multimedia material and make them available online. The scanned works hosted by the Internet Archive are also available for indexing by any search engine that adheres to the OCA's open-access terms for the content. These principles include providing "the greatest possible degree of access to and reuse of collections in the archive, while respecting the rights of content owners and contributors," according to the OCA Web site.
The Sloan Foundation awarded the grant to support the digitization of historical collections from five major libraries by the Internet Archive, a nonprofit organization building an online library of texts, audio, video, software and Web pages.
The grant will be used in part to scan the complete personal library of U.S. President John Adams, housed at the Boston Public Library. Meanwhile, the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles is making available art, architecture and performing arts books. The archive of publications issued by New York City's Metropolitan Museum of Art will also be digitized, as well as California Gold Rush primary texts from the University of California at Berkeley's Bancroft Library. Finally, the Internet Archive will also scan the James Birney Collection of Anti-Slavery materials from Johns Hopkins University libraries in Baltimore.
The Internet Archive has refrained from digitizing copyright books, although it is interested in seeing copyright issues worked out, because its ultimate goal is to provide access to as many works as possible for the benefit of people worldwide, said Brewster Kahle, Internet Archive founder.
For example, Kahle is interested in sorting out the issue of books whose copyright owners can't be found, often called "orphan works," as well as the issue of copyright works that are out of print. In these two cases, Kahle believes that libraries should take a leading role in finding "the right path through it." In the case of in-print copyright books, a collaboration between libraries and publishers could generate significant progress, he said.
While others are criticizing Google for its wholesale scanning of copyright works, Kahle finds fault with the agreements the company is hammering out with its partner libraries. In his opinion, the contracts put too many restrictions on how libraries and people may use and share digital copies of public-domain works. "Google has bound the libraries pretty tightly," he said. "Public domain works should stay in the public domain."
This is a corrected version of an article written by Juan Carlos Perez and published on IDG.net. See here for the original article.