This is also huge digital library news, but, with the Google frenzy, they’ve really been the victim of bad timing.
Today, a number of International libraries have committed to putting their digitized books in open-access archives, starting with one at the Internet Archive. This approach will ensure permanent and public access to our published heritage. Anyone with an Internet connection will have access to these collections and the growing set of tools to make use of them. In this way we are getting closer to the goal of Universal Access to All Knowledge.
By working with libraries from 5 countries, and working to expand this number, we are bringing a broad range of materials to every interested individual. This growing commitment to open access through public archives marks a significant commitment to broad, public, and free access. While still early in its evolution, works in dozens of languages are already stored in the Internet Archive’s Open-Access Text Archive offering a breadth of materials to everyone.
Over one million books have been committed to the Text Archive. Currently over twenty-seven thousand are available and an additional fifty thousand are expected in the first quarter of 2005. Advanced processing of these multilingual books will offer unprecedented access.
Researchers, scholars, and the general public will be able to leverage these collections in ways that have been familiar to library users for centuries– unfettered searching through catalogs, reading and annotating the books, and sharing pieces with collegues. The public domain or appropriately licensed books will be viewed on-screen, searched, and printed for free using PDF and DJVU. Leveraging the book catalogs of the individual libraries, RLG (The Research Libraries Group, Inc.) and other catalogs, these books will be available to traditional library users without much retraining.
I, for one, am very excited!