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Monday, November 10, 2008

Harvard opts out

There has been a lot of coverage and analysis of the recent Google Books settlement with publishers and authors, but it's finally had an impact on the maritime world: see Jennifer Howard's article in the Chronicle of Higher Education, "Harvard Says No Thanks to Google Deal for Scanning In-Copyright Works." Harvard's libraries contain a wealth of material on business, including the shipping industry, and their reasons for opting out include concerns over prices and quality. I believe this is very good news, as they are committed to exploring "other ways to open up its collections more broadly for the common good."

I read about this on the Open Content Alliance blog--the folks behind the Open Library catalog and the Internet Archive. These are becoming essential resources. If you're interested in digital books, start with the Open Library--it's an easy-to-use catalog that includes the over 1 million digital books at the Internet Archive. (You can limit your search to "scanned books only" right under the home page's search box.) If you're interested in other formats (audio, video, etc.), head directly to the Internet Archive, which also includes the WayBack Machine. If something you're interested in has disappeared from the web, chances are you can find it archived in the WayBack Machine.

Google Books is still a useful tool; it still functions as a multiple text index and includes many books still under copyright which, if you're lucky, show the snippet view of the passage that interests you. But I start with the Open Library and the Internet Archive; they present each book in multiple formats, and soon will release the next version of their online flip-book reader (which I was lucky enough to see last week, and which is a pleasure to use).


Buck said...

Very handy resources and some good advice too.

Heather said...

Thank you, Buck!