Mountain View, Calif., (PRWEB) October 29, 2005
RLG, a not-for-profit organization of over 150 research libraries, archives, and museums announced today that it will be a contributor to and partner with the Open Content Alliance (OCA) (http://www.opencontentalliance.org), a consortium that is building a permanent archive of digitized text and multimedia content. Generally, textual material from the OCA will be free to read, and in most cases, available for saving or printing using formats such as PDF.
Works collected by the OCA will include cultural, historical, and multimedia content from libraries, archives, and publishers. Partners are leading businesses and cultural heritage institutions, including the Internet Archive, the California Digital Library, Yahoo, Adobe, Hewlett-Packard, and Microsoft.
The OCA calls this initiative the Open Library Project (http://www.openlibrary.org). This project will create free Web access to important book collections from around the world. Books are scanned and then offered in an interface for free reading online. The books can be downloaded, shared, and printed for free. They can also be printed for a nominal fee by a third party, who will bind and mail the book to customers. The books are always free to read at the Open Library Web site.
RLG's immediate role in this initiative will be to supply the bibliographic information needed to aid in materials selection and description for these searches. RLG's Union Catalog is the premier source of bibliographic descriptions for use in research and research collections management. With records for over 48 million titles, it provides coverage across subjects and material types in almost 400 languages.
Brewster Kahle, digital librarian for the Internet Archive, says, "RLG's help will bring critical expertise and relationships to this ambitious project. Using the RLG Union Catalog to keep track of what has been digitized, cataloging it well and then making it available to all will make sure that the joint efforts of many libraries are widely shared."
James Michalko, president of RLG, adds, "We are committed to the OCA vision. RLG's member institutions want to build out the collective digital library to ensure that scholarship and research is innovative and productive in the future. RLG has a long history of working with its own members to further broad-based initiatives."
Michalko notes that one of the first content donors for this project will be the University of California via the California Digital Library. They will contribute their entire American literature collection for this project. This collection will be scanned, digitized, and then can be searched and used by any individual or organization.
Daniel Greenstein, university librarian at the California Digital Library, says: "We are delighted to have RLG be a part of this effort. Efficient identification of digital texts, high-quality descriptions that allow them to be discovered, and a broad understanding of where to target further effort are important things that RLG can contribute."
RLG's Michalko emphasizes that the Open Content Alliance helps to advance global scholarship while also respecting the rights of copyright holders. The OCA will encourage the greatest possible degree of access to and reuse of collections in the archive, while respecting the rights of content owners and contributors. Says Michalko, "The OCA can be a rallying point and delivery focus for the long-term efforts of cultural institutions to create a resource that reflects the needs of scholars and students and honors the values of research."
RLG (http://www.rlg.org) is an international, not-for-profit membership organization of over 150 research libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural memory institutions. Founded and incorporated in 1975 by the New York Public Library and Columbia, Harvard, and Yale universities, RLG designs and delivers innovative information discovery services, organizes collaborative programs, and takes an active role in creating and promoting relevant standards and practices.