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Internet Archive Challenges Google

CmdrTaco posted more than 6 years ago | from the pistols-at-dawn dept.

Google 115

richards1052 writes "The Internet Archive, whose main claim to fame is the Wayback Machine, designed to archive the internet's web history, has created a new project: the Open Content Alliance. It's purpose is to open the nation's library collections to universal web search. 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."

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fp (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21071543)

fluffy penis

Re:fp (-1, Offtopic)

ThirdPrize (938147) | more than 6 years ago | (#21071801)

Surely it's only modded as "flamebait" if you are using the phrase in question to upset some one. Possibly people with fluffy appendages. Surely it should just be modded as "offtopic".

Re:fp (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21071995)

don't call him shirley.

Society lost (4, Insightful)

packetmon (977047) | more than 6 years ago | (#21071587)

I believe I've commented on something like this before. Might be a good idea to archive the books lest somewhere in the future we re-live something like the Spanish Inquisition where important literature was lost. Its also making this society a bunch of couch potatoes. What ever happened to walking into a quiet library, the smell of stale books, looking around at people. Its slowly being replaced by reading books online and hitting ctrl-w to close annoying popups while you read. Currently I have about 30+ Cisco (CCIE/NP/IP/etc) books and each come with their PDF's. At first I thought, neat I can read them on my laptop... Nowadays I find its easy to just open the book, nothing like butchering my books up with highlighters... This world is coming to one where companies will be fighting to keep us locked in our houses. Call me a troll, just speculation

Re:Society lost (4, Insightful)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 6 years ago | (#21071847)

I enjoy very much sitting in a university library with piles of books around me to work through. However, as someone who spends most of the year traveling, usually lugging around a bag or two of hardbound specialist literature in addition to an already heavy backpack, the more I can put on my notebook the better. PDFs don't weigh anything.

Re:Society lost (4, Funny)

Actually, I do RTFA (1058596) | more than 6 years ago | (#21072133)

PDFs don't weigh anything.

Not true, ones have slightly more mass than zeros, so they weight a tad more than zeroing out that section of your drive!

Note, my source is Dilbert. But it was right about smaller font sizes leading to smaller .doc sizes as well.

Re:Society lost (1)

Unique2 (325687) | more than 6 years ago | (#21072903)

specialist literature

In my day, we just called it porn.

Re:Society lost (2, Insightful)

luder (923306) | more than 6 years ago | (#21071869)

What ever happened to walking into a quiet library, the smell of stale books, looking around at people. Its slowly being replaced by reading books online and hitting ctrl-w to close annoying popups while you read.
Funny, I bet someone said the same thing when the average person began to have enough purchasing power to buy individual copies of books...

Re:Society lost (4, Funny)

RsG (809189) | more than 6 years ago | (#21071895)

Might be a good idea to archive the books lest somewhere in the future we re-live something like the Spanish Inquisition where important literature was lost.
Oh really, does that seem likely?

I don't expect the Spanish Inquisition...

Re:Society lost (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21071987)

Obviously not. The Spanish are wimps. It'll be called the Yankee Inquisition.

Re:Society lost (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21072037)

It isn't that difficult to posit a future in the US where the "conservatives" (read Christian religious right) have "won" and science as it now stands is banned. Books could easily be "misplaced" by these folks, and the library of congress purged of "inappropriate content". After all, it wasn't just the Spanish Inquisition where books were lost. It can happen, and probably will if people are not vigilant to prevent it.

Re:Society lost (3, Insightful)

hasbeard (982620) | more than 6 years ago | (#21072939)

It seems to me that in today's climate, religious conservatives (You would probably consider me one) are also threatened with censorship. Some Christian leaders have pointed out the possibility that "hate speech" laws could be utilized to limit the ability of Christians to free practice their faith and voice their beliefs about homosexuality and other matters. It isn't that difficult to posit a future in which the Bible could be banned as "hate speech" and Christians jailed, denied employment, or are otherwise discriminated against because of their beliefs. Secular, totalitarian states have also banned and burned books. There are Christians enduring persecution in many places in the world even as I type this. And if you want to ask someone about government censorship, you may want to talk to the Chinese people where Christians and others are regularly censored by their non-religious government.

Re:Society lost (1)

ConceptJunkie (24823) | more than 6 years ago | (#21073079)

I guess you didn't get the memo, but Christians don't have the same rights as everyone else. And God forbid you're one of the many Christians who actually embraces and insists on reason. People don't know what to do with you so they figure you're an evil influence and should be shut out of society. Meanwhile, PhD's are being handed out for "discoveries" that were common sense just a few generations ago. "Birth control leads to the objectification of women." "Divorce hurts kids." "Not having a father hurts kids." "Not having a mother hurts kids." "A strong moral underpinning is necessary for a society to function."

Re:Society lost (2, Insightful)

Achromatic1978 (916097) | more than 6 years ago | (#21073733)

Birth control leads to the objectification of women

Show me this study, I'm curious. Or was it just one thrown in there that seemed like it might fit, and just so happens to further the 'birth control is evil' agenda?

Re:Society lost (1)

Joe Tie. (567096) | more than 6 years ago | (#21075153)

It was also common sense that killing a woman was a good test of whether or not she was a witch, or that it was impossible that a drop of pond water had little invisible animals swimming around in it. That's the whole point of science, testing common sense because humans are so bad at interpreting the world around us.

It isn't that difficult... (2, Interesting)

benhocking (724439) | more than 6 years ago | (#21076331)

It isn't that difficult to posit a future in which the Bible could be banned as "hate speech" and Christians jailed, denied employment, or are otherwise discriminated against because of their beliefs.

Yeah, conspiracy theories are usually quite easy to posit. That doesn't mean they have a bit of merit. Get over yourself—you're the majority, and you're not being persecuted in this country. (Yes, there are Christians being persecuted in countries where they're not the majority, and it is genuinely a travesty. Don't you dare try to use their suffering to perpetuate your persecution complex in this country.) That future you posit is actually less likely than Bush masterminding 9/11 (which he didn't).

Re:It isn't that difficult... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21077695)

Yes, because it is perfectly acceptable to persecute people as long as they are part of the majority, or alternatively it is impossible to persecute a member of the majority so if you think this happened then you must have imagined it.

Don't you dare try to use their suffering to perpetuate your persecution complex in this country.
Which country is that? The only one that matters?

Re:Society lost (2, Insightful)

gateur (840898) | more than 6 years ago | (#21077975)

Right wing conservatives who think evolution is a fraud and want to use the Supreme Court to force their personal beliefs upon the rest of America are not "Christians". There is nothing "Christian" about their beliefs. They are nothing more than a gang of hate mongers that use a professed faith in Christianity for political purposes and fund raising.

Re:Society lost (3, Insightful)

triffid_98 (899609) | more than 6 years ago | (#21075103)

It's not just the right you need be concerned with, the left is equally likely to purge "inappropriate content", they just make up different reasons for it. It espouses racism (Huckleberry Finn), it's pornographic (The Scarlet Letter), it's dangerous (The Golden Book of Chemistry Experiments). Big brother or nanny government, it all boils down to the same thing. 2008 is coming people, can we please can all of these assholes before I end up having to describe this as double plus good?

(read Christian religious right) have "won" and science as it now stands is banned. Books could easily be "misplaced" by these folks, and the library of congress purged of "inappropriate content".

The left is against pornography? (1)

benhocking (724439) | more than 6 years ago | (#21076405)

It's not just the right you need be concerned with, the left is equally likely to purge "inappropriate content", they just make up different reasons for it. It espouses racism (Huckleberry Finn), it's pornographic (The Scarlet Letter), it's dangerous (The Golden Book of Chemistry Experiments).
OK, so you have a point with Huckleberry Finn (although I'd argue there are far fewer on the left trying to censor Huck Finn than on the right trying to censor Harry Potter). However, in what world is the "left" the ones censoring pornography and "dangerous" material? Sure, there are parents who are overprotective despite being leftists, but that's far more the exception than the rule.

Re:The left is against pornography? (1)

triffid_98 (899609) | more than 6 years ago | (#21077169)

Hi, have you been to California sir? You know, that liberal democratic state where (as of 2008) police are compelled to take dna swabs and it's more or less illegal to own a gun? I know you're thinking hey, that's just like the UK but without the surveilance cameras. Rest assured citizen, those are coming any day now... [sfgate.com]

However, in what world is the "left" the ones censoring pornography and "dangerous" material? Sure, there are parents who are overprotective despite being leftists, but that's far more the exception than the rule.

That addresses the "dangerous" material (1)

benhocking (724439) | more than 6 years ago | (#21077773)

First of all, are you referring to that liberal democratic state that elected Schwarzenegger to be governor? The same state that gave us Ronald Reagan? (Just checking.) That said, gun control is admittedly an issue of the left, so your primary point is valid. Still, the left is anti-pornography?!? More so than the right?!? (This was the claim that surprised me the most.)

Re:That addresses the "dangerous" material (1)

triffid_98 (899609) | more than 6 years ago | (#21078209)

Yes, and coincidentally enough it's also the same state that appears as a kind of blue rectangle around election time. You can see how strongly we support the right by our governor and the many republican congressmen and senators we elected last time...all what, 8 (out of 53) of them?

http://www.visi.com/juan/congress/cgi-bin/newseek.cgi?site=ctc&state=ca [visi.com]

I'll grant your point that the left generally ignores pornography, but this is a special case. This is (allegedly) pornography in school. Left or right, no vote hungry politician is going to get behind that one.

Nobody... (4, Funny)

jefu (53450) | more than 6 years ago | (#21072041)

Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition.....

(Can't believe I'm the first one to respond with that. Of course by now I'm probably not. )

Nobody... (2, Funny)

benhocking (724439) | more than 6 years ago | (#21072047)

Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!

(I couldn't bear to leave you hanging.)

Re:Nobody... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21074455)

Could some mercyful moderator please give poor Ben a "funny" mod? If not for originality, then for effort: after all, jefu got his "funny" for posting the obvious, and he was just 6 posts ahead, if the numbers are anything to go by. They were less than a minute apart!

Re:Society lost (2, Insightful)

absorbr (995554) | more than 6 years ago | (#21072069)

But there is advantage in being able to search those technical manuals. Leave the couch potato business to me, there's already enough reason (health) to get outside, soak up sun, and exercise.

Re:Society lost (3, Interesting)

beadfulthings (975812) | more than 6 years ago | (#21072195)

I don't think you're a troll, and until recently I would have agreed with every point in your post. Now I'm not so sure. Anything that preserves the written word from future loss, and makes books and literature available to more people, is a good thing. Freeing this activity from commercial restraints is a good idea; somehow the commercial route would make me think my choices might be somehow limited by what the commercial software "wanted" to show me.

It's the quiet library...dusty books part that has me a bit concerned at the moment. My city recently built a brand-new neighborhood "anchor" library within striking distance of my house. That eliminated the need for a tedious drive or bus ride downtown to the main library, the expensive necessity of finding scarce parking, and the tyranny of downtown "business hours." The branch is convenient, has good parking, and is open for people who have to work during the daytime. It's bright and attractive. Endowed with an outdoor "reading garden" for good weather, it will shortly boast an indoor coffee area. It has banks of computers to be allocated to either youngsters or adults, a pretty good periodicals section, and a pretty good reference section. It also manages to cater to our increasing Hispanic population. The kids' section, which takes up half of the main floor, appears to be excellent. There's a huge section of fairly current DVD films. Tables (and to my surprise) comfortable easy chairs are invitingly scattered throughout.

I guess the problem is that with all the beautiful amenities, there's actually not much room for books. To be fair, they are just starting out, and their holdings will certainly increase. I'm just not sure where they will locate a collection that's much larger. I would divide my reading into "work-related," "feel like I ought to read it," and "just for pleasure." It's not easy to find new or interesting titles in any of those areas. They're trying, but there's just not enough space.

I've resolved that, to an extent, with a nifty little Mac utility called "Library Books." By entering my online access information, plus the library's catalog system (iBistro/Sirsi), I suddenly have complete, convenient access to the entire city and state library system. I can browse, search, and reserve. I could do all of that simply by going to the library's main Website and logging in, but the utility does me little favors like alerting me to the arrival of reserved titles and putting a big, red star up on days when books are due. It's a convenience that makes online browsing just a bit easier.

I've thrown myself into the new anchor library, in tandem with the simplified online access of the Library Books utility. I've become an evangelist, of sorts, for requesting and reserving books. It's amazing the number of people who don't know you can do that. The sheer square footage required to hold a large collection isn't feasible for neighborhood libraries, and I feel as though this sort of system gives one the best of both worlds. No yellow markers, though . . .

Re:Society lost (1)

liquidpele (663430) | more than 6 years ago | (#21072199)

Not just books! Anyone know of a place where research papers can be searched and downloaded for free? I was trying to find some yesterday, and I ended up having to log into my School's library system to search because I couldn't find even one free website with articles in their entirety!

Re:Society lost (2, Interesting)

Metaphorically (841874) | more than 6 years ago | (#21072627)

I don't have to do this myself but I have heard about this problem (and wrote a little about it [latenightpc.com] ). Your school pays publishers for access to journals and you can't necessarily get to them from home. There is a plugin for Firefox called LibX [libx.org] that makes it easier to search what your school's library has available. It has to be customized somehow to make it work with the school's system. The University of Windsor has customized LibX as Foxy Leddy [uwindsor.ca] (Leddy is the school library). Maybe your school has something similar.

Re:Society lost (1)

liquidpele (663430) | more than 6 years ago | (#21074695)

Thanks for the plugin link, but I still wonder why there are no free sources online... I mean, it's not that I couldn't find the same sources online for free that I could get through my school's library, it's that I couldn't find ANY sources online... not one! And I know for a fact that many research papers are distributed under creative commons. Just seems really strange to me that such a system doesn't exist yet, especially for something like research papers, for which the internet is almost perfectly suited to distribute!

Re:Society lost (1)

lgw (121541) | more than 6 years ago | (#21076699)

The only information you can't ind online these days is information published in scholarly journals. Horray for education! It's no wonder that Wikipedia is in such demand - sure, it's not the most reliable source, but it is certainly the most available source!

Re:Society lost (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 6 years ago | (#21078909)

That's true and it's a pity.

However, scholarly work in journals is already paid for by the public through grants, so its only a matter of time for unscrupulous left leaning students of major institutions worldwide to make their ids and passwords to EZProxy servers available on so called free literature sites so that anybody in the world can access these common resources of mankind.

Also, if more people were interested in books than music, it's conceivable that some terrible people would put many types of works like expensive textbooks on bittorrent and blog sites and community book review sites in very efficient formats such as DJVU.

Of course, all of this is highly speculative, it would be easy to look for this kind of thing on the major search engines if it existed. Personally, I'm glad the world isn't full of such subversive elements, IYKWIM.

Re:Society lost (1)

Metaphorically (841874) | more than 6 years ago | (#21076947)

You could start your own Journal with OJS [pkp.sfu.ca] or look around in the Public Knowledge Project [pkp.sfu.ca] though you'll probably find (again) that dismally few journals publish good free articles. The reasoning I heard was that the most prestigious journals are expensive and the prestige is tied to that cost. So the cc distributed papers aren't as well-regarded as those with a high price tag behind a firewall.

fwiw I did install OJS just to say I did it and I could've started publishing my own journal within a day if I had the stuff to publish, so joining the PKP shouldn't be that tough for interested institutions (and of course I'm available for consulting at reasonable rates ;).

Re:Society lost (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 6 years ago | (#21072513)

> Currently I have about 30+ Cisco (CCIE/NP/IP/etc) books and each come with their PDF's. At first I thought, neat I can read them on my laptop...
> This world is coming to one where companies will be fighting to keep us locked in our houses.

Dude, PDF is `portable`, right? And they're on your laptop? And you can search for stuff instantly, and not just hope the index is up to it. So you can get your work done more quickly and spend more time outside, away from libraries (which in my experience smell of urine, or old people, or both). Companies are fighting to have you spend money on their products and services, and the more efficient they are, in the context of development, or information retrieval, the more time you'll have free to spend with your friends/family.

Re:Society lost (2, Insightful)

Steauengeglase (512315) | more than 6 years ago | (#21072655)

Why not go to the library?

Easy, because many public libraries are becoming nothing more than places where people go to check their e-mail. Of course a nice university library is something completely different, but the small town public library is pretty much giving up on those bulky paper things. Why buy new books when you can offer poor people a place to get on-line (and get a bunch of grants)?

My local library only buys 10% of the books that it bought 8 years ago.

Re:Society lost (1)

AeroIllini (726211) | more than 6 years ago | (#21076473)

My local library only buys 10% of the books that it bought 8 years ago.
And why would they have to, when the digital age has made tracking and requesting books through inter-library loan easier than ever?

I'll bet the collection at your local library is better than you think, when you compensate for the books that can be requested from other libraries in the network.

Digital has its advantages (2, Insightful)

JCSoRocks (1142053) | more than 6 years ago | (#21072747)

I agree that a nice, hard bound book is, at the moment, more pleasant to read. However, technologies such as e-Ink and others that allow you to read something digitally without the eye-strain of using a back lit monitor are catching on. I think a few factors make digital copies more advantageous - cost of duplication, storage, protection from damage, searchability.

Storage: I just moved, and I moved three bookcases full of books. That sucked. If those were all digital, I'd have hauled my computer from A to B and brought all of my books with me. In addition, I moved to a smaller house. Trying to find a place for my three bookcases of books has been impossible.

Cost of duplication: With digital copies, books can be distributed without the overhead costs of printing and shipping.

Protection from damage: Many of the books housed in libraries, particularly places like the Smithsonian, are no longer in print. If it's destroyed, regardless of whether it's an accident or a malicious act, it's gone. The library may be able to get another copy from a benevolent individual or the last copy may have just been destroyed. With a digital copy, you can make back-ups of your back-ups... safeguarding the content of that book.

Searchability: This is my favorite... Who hasn't spent 30 minutes skimming a book trying to find THAT ONE PAGE!? It drives me nuts. Searching would make books sooo much more convenient.

Re:Society lost (1)

mikey_boy (125590) | more than 6 years ago | (#21072919)

I think this is also about what you are used to, and how you learn to interact with the written word and research in general. As today's younger generations grow up being more used to everything being available on line, they will demand content to be available online and be able to work with it as effectively (if not more so given storage, cross referencing, dynamic searching etc).

I'm with you, I much prefer reading stuff on paper. I'm just not convinced that it will hold true in years to come.

I don't see what this has to do with society being lost though?

Re:Society lost (1)

vimh42 (981236) | more than 6 years ago | (#21073905)

You have a point, to an extent. The issue is that a great deal of content is not available at the library or at least at your local branch. How many of those Cisco books could you get at your local library? The extent of my reading is a bit different, but not much of what I read can be found at the library. Perhaps your argument is more about printed media versus digital?

Re:Society lost (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21079191)

you're singing Tufte's rule:



That paper is still the most portable, easiest to index, longest lasting, and information rich medium known to date.

Project Gutenberg... (2, Insightful)

Sherloqq (577391) | more than 6 years ago | (#21071601)

... but on a much larger scale?

Re:Project Gutenberg... (1)

absorbr (995554) | more than 6 years ago | (#21071865)

I like the idea, but what about copyright issues? If you were an author, would you be happy about your work being accessible at no cost by anyone with a computer?

Re:Project Gutenberg... (1)

oliverthered (187439) | more than 6 years ago | (#21071933)

Yes, what's your problem?

Re:Project Gutenberg... (1)

absorbr (995554) | more than 6 years ago | (#21072035)

Well I'm not an writer, so it doesn't affect me, but I would imagine that they would like to get paid for their work. You can't live on welfare! If something like this existed in the form of a free, searchable website, you can bet I'd probably never buy another book again.

Re:Project Gutenberg... (2, Funny)

eldepeche (854916) | more than 6 years ago | (#21072549)

Maybe they'll move toward an ad-supported revenue model. Did you know Harry Potter wears Reeboks?

Re:Project Gutenberg... (1)

absorbr (995554) | more than 6 years ago | (#21072679)

lol oh please no ;)

Re:Project Gutenberg... (1)

lahi (316099) | more than 6 years ago | (#21076993)

Here in Denmark (and I guess there are other places with a similar system), Danish authors and translators who have their books in libraries, can apply for a grant, which depends on the number of copies of their works in Danish libraries. This is a form of Public Lending Right [plrinternational.com] compensation, and is not based in copyright law. It is only paid for works in Danish (originals or translations to Danish), and should be viewed more as a way to support Danish language and culture. The pay varies between (this year) 1737 DKR (the least amount that is paid out) up to 752060 DKR. 21784 authors applied, but only 8564 had enough copies in libraries to qualify, of these, more than half got paid less than 5000 DKR. The most prolific and popular writers probably could live quite well of nothing else but this "welfare", the five top payouts all being above 500000 DKR. 1 USD is around 5.30 DKR (the greenback isn't worth much these days, eh?), so that's a bit less than 100K USD per year.

The fairness of such a system, of course, is open for debate. An argument could be made, that the top authors get a significant profit from their sales, and thus don't really need any additional subsidy, whereas "narrow-scope" literature (poetry, for example) hardly has a market worth speaking of, despite being of "greater cultural value". I believe the system for calculating the grant takes this into account to a degree. Literature for children and youth is particularly encouraged, and it is no surprise that the top scoring author is the very popular Bjarne Reuter.

-Lasse

Re:Project Gutenberg... (2, Interesting)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 6 years ago | (#21072501)

Why not hear it from several authors, from one publisher:

http://www.baen.com/library/ [baen.com]

Several authors use older releases as bait to tempt you to buy more recent books.

Project Gutenberg is concerned mostly with old, out of copyright books, author usually long dead. Many of these books would be unavailable otherwise.

Re:Project Gutenberg... (1)

absorbr (995554) | more than 6 years ago | (#21072797)

it's an interesting strategy. I would just expect that the authors (or the owners of deceased authors' estates) get the choice of whether or not to include their works.

Relevant Link (2, Interesting)

Chapter80 (926879) | more than 6 years ago | (#21071923)

In case you missed this discussion back on October 2, [slashdot.org] Carnegie Mellon has a service which helps to better digitize these books. It's called Recaptcha, [recaptcha.net] and it uses otherwise wasted human cycles to convert text that was hard for computers to OCR.

Re:Project Gutenberg... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21072153)

At least give a link [gutenberg.org] , especially to their torrent page [alaska.edu] .

A Better Link (4, Informative)

value_added (719364) | more than 6 years ago | (#21071637)

The Libraries Shun Deals to Place Books on Web [nytimes.com] story in The New York Times covers the subject fairly well.

Re:A Better Link (1)

Black Jack Hyde (2374) | more than 6 years ago | (#21072967)

Not really. It ignores all of the other digitization projects taking place.

Re:A Better Link (1)

Guedon (756177) | more than 6 years ago | (#21073111)

Katie Hafner's article is crucial. In the area of mass digitization, the main problem is that most people think paper while dealing with digital files. Gregory Crane calls this "incunabular" and he is right. This question also points toward something a little more fundamental: we should be weary of quick, pracmatic-looking, solutions to digitization because we may end up paying a great deal more down the line. Clifford Lynch, in a short article published in the volume on Open Access edited by Neil Jacobs, argues that we should not think only of open access to digital documents, but also about open computation. I believe he is dead on. Full digitization requires opening up the full computational potential of documents and the OCA knows and wants that. Google, on the contrary, wants to monopolize the computational potential of digital documents it digitizes. Its contracts are non-exclusive because Google relies on the fact that, within an institution, once digitization has been done once, it will be extremely difficult to digitize it again. Especially if people do not understand what is at stake in open computation.

Way to go! (1)

Voltageaav (798022) | more than 6 years ago | (#21071639)

Recognising the restrictions of the current iterations currently available and working to provide a better resource that most or all libraries will support. The free exchange of ideas (not entertainment for those of you who download your entire music libraries from Kazaa) will promote progress across the board.

Re:Way to go! (4, Interesting)

kebes (861706) | more than 6 years ago | (#21071769)

The free exchange of ideas (not entertainment for those of you who download your entire music libraries from Kazaa) will promote progress across the board.
It's interesting that you draw such a sharp difference between information and entertainment. I agree that there are differences between content intended to transfer knowledge, and content intended to amuse... but certainly there are strong similarities between the two.

In particular, if you accept that free exchange of ideas will promote intellectual progress, then is it not also reasonable to suggest that free exchange of artistic content will promote cultural progress? This is the central notion that Lawrence Lessig advocates: that overly restricting the distribution, reuse, and remixing of art and entertainment will inherently stifle culture. (Note that Lessig does not advocate wanton infringement nor abolition of copyright: merely a 'sane' balance between the rights of content creators and the rights of content users.)

With respect to this current initiative, it would appear that they intend to scan and index books that are oriented towards information, as well as those oriented towards entertainment. In my opinion, this is a good thing. There is much that people can learn and grow by having easier access to ideas, where "ideas" means both informational sources, as well as artistic sources.

Re:Way to go! (1)

Nazlfrag (1035012) | more than 6 years ago | (#21072257)

Indeed, it's the same reason you can find CDs and DVDs at libraries. GP is stuck in the past.

Re:Way to go! (1)

mochan_s (536939) | more than 6 years ago | (#21072525)

not entertainment for those of you who download your entire music libraries from Kazaa

It's exchange of ideas if you're a musician or a record producer.

Re:Way to go! (1)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 6 years ago | (#21073071)

Music is an exchange of ideas. Listen to a hymn, an ancient poem, dark side of the moon, stadium arcadium, etc. In fact, music is even better as exchanging ideas since it has more "bandwidth" than just the word: the tone and speed of the music. Songs are the oldest way of preserving and extending knowledge.

Total scan time? (1)

192939495969798999 (58312) | more than 6 years ago | (#21071647)

is there any estimate on how long it will take all these projects combined to scan the entire existing catalog of books, accounting for expansion and development of better technologies to do the scanning, etc?

Re:Total scan time? (1)

petershank (463008) | more than 6 years ago | (#21077901)

TFA (or at least the NY Times article I read) said that's not the intention. they're at least starting by "filling gaps" in specialized material that only a few libraries have. it's not "make common books even more available than they are now," it's "for specialized collections like the Mark Twain papers, finally get to 100% available" because 100% is so important for certain applications like scholarship and research.

Scan My Books (3, Interesting)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 6 years ago | (#21071707)

I buy a lot of books. I've got probably 10,000 or so. I wish I could search through them. Some for reference, sometimes because I read something that sounds familiar that I want to find where I first read it. I'd also like to read them on my PC sometimes, or even on my phone like when I'm waiting for a while somewhere. And I'd like to copy/paste short passages from them into messages I send on the Internet.

If this project is really "open", can I have my own libarary scanned? How much does it cost? I own the rights to copy my own books for my own personal use. Does something make these other "official" libraries eligible to use their full rights to their content in a way that I cannot?

Re:Scan My Books (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21072107)

Actually, Google Books recently added a service called "my library". Basically you create an online catalogue of all the books you own, attached to your Google account, then you can search through them all you like. Sure, it's still limited to the books Google has scanned as part of its books project, but somehow I don't think that's going to be much of a problem.

Re:Scan My Books (3, Funny)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 6 years ago | (#21072511)

Yeah, except it's already bad enough that Google has a log of every Web search I make. I don't need them having a log of every book I've read. They'd have a map of my mind. Next they'd require I upload my genome as the "encryption key". Then I'd face an army of imprinted clones, each backed by Google's budget.

Re:Scan My Books (1)

jagdish (981925) | more than 6 years ago | (#21073389)

The shroud of the dark side has fallen. Begun the Clone War has.

Re:Scan My Books (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 6 years ago | (#21072375)

If this project is really "open", can I have my own libarary scanned? How much does it cost?
There are plenty of document scanning services around, I know for low-volume (less than 100k pages) I've priced them out at about $0.08 per page at high resolution. I'm not sure what kind of surcharge you'd pay for them not being able to batch-feed (since you're talking about books).

Or, do what I did and rent a good scanner and pay a couple high school kids a fair wage to do it. Or, offer them piece rate of a nickel a page to get them working efficiently, YMMV with the work ethic of local kids. They can easily do 5 pages a minute working together, or 300 pages an hour. If you pay them $7.50 an hour each, that works out to $0.05 per page plus the cost of your rental, which cost me $100 per weekend and $0.005 per copy. Cost per copy worked out to about $0.05 when I had 4 kids each working 12 hours over a weekend (2 workers x 4 6-hour shifts). If I had rented a second scanner, my cost per copy would have gone down, but I'd have needed two more workers which I wasn't able to do.

Note also that the slowest throughput I got was 300 pp an hour; typical was 500. If you do the math for 300 pp/hr (which I did before I put the project together), you'll see that the maximum cost would have been $0.07 per page.

Re:Scan My Books (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 6 years ago | (#21072685)

I buy a lot of books for $1-5 used. I might pay up to a dollar per 300pg book to be scanned, which would cost $10K for my whole library. At $0.25 a book, about $0.008 per page, I'd do it.

Even HS kids wouldn't work for $0.42:h. This project calls for a scanner with automated pageflipping. If this Open Library project doesn't have that, then I expect that no one does (yet). I'll wait.

Re:Scan My Books (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 6 years ago | (#21073045)

Even HS kids wouldn't work for $0.42:h
Depends on what country they are in... but the cost of shipping the books to China/India/etc would likely be prohibitive. This is where the scanning services can sometimes be more cost-effective.

Or, you could keep tape flags in your wallet (for me, much more useful than a condom :)) and mark pages for scanning later. I do this if I note a particularly interesting magazine article or passage from a book that I want to keep on file. It actually makes me feel like the money I paid for a cheap flatbed scanner was worthwhile.

Re:Scan My Books (1)

Cemu (968469) | more than 6 years ago | (#21072377)

I own the rights to copy my own books for my own personal use.
Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa... whoa... Own I dare ask? Are you sure you don't just have a license to read it in the format dictated by the publishing company? If you get a PDF of the book would you need to verify that you have a genuine copy of that PDF or risk the possibility that the pages would turn black?

Re:Scan My Books (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 6 years ago | (#21072625)

No, I am sure I own the book. Nowhere does the publisher even claim that I bought a license or anything else less than ownership of the object and the rights inherent in real property to use that object. The uses I described are extremely well documented in law as fully protected by law.

Re:Scan My Books (1)

lgw (121541) | more than 6 years ago | (#21076763)

So why would you want to give up that well-established legal protection for the license to an eBook? As you pointed out, scanning them yourself is problematic.

Re:Scan My Books (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 6 years ago | (#21078677)

The point is that there is no license required. I don't need any extra rights or privileges to scan my own books into another format for my personal consumption. I just need an automated book scanner. That scanning doesn't delete any of my rights.

Re:Scan My Books (1)

vertinox (846076) | more than 6 years ago | (#21073359)

Some for reference, sometimes because I read something that sounds familiar that I want to find where I first read it.

Yeah, I've got the same problem. Often times I just want to quote something rather than paraphrase a particular section I remember reading but it takes an hour or so because the included index at the end of the book was sorely lacking for a 900 page book.

Re:Scan My Books (1)

richards1052 (906214) | more than 6 years ago | (#21075723)

These projects mostly include works "out of copyright." They also include some works still in copyright but which are out of print. THey can't include books in copyright & in print unless the copyright holders authorize this.

Re:Scan My Books (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 6 years ago | (#21076123)

So? I don't need a copyright exception to do what I described with my own books.

Wondering... (2, Insightful)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 6 years ago | (#21071733)

How many of these libraries think of Open Source and software platform choice? How many of them make sure their web sites are platform agnostic, equally accessible from all browsers? These people are willing to stand up and are willing to pay more to preserve their liberty. Hats off to them. But does this stand also extends to not having their documents locked down in a proprietary format encumbered with licenses and restrictions? I would very much like such ideas, being independent of vendors, would extend to Corporate America too.

Re:Wondering... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21078153)

The Internet Archive and, in turn, the Open Content Alliance use only open source software and hardware to provide their services. It's part of the 'openness' mission of OCA to use applications that everyone can share and replicate.

Internet archive beats google cache atleast 10-0. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21071757)

It has got many more documents. And often /all/ versions ever of the document. And it doesn't just store HTML but much much more.

Internet archive is an excellent service. Best of luck!

It's not like (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21071791)

It's not like you LINUX NERDS with your SMALL PENISES can read anyway, unless its a man page. But you like men. Uh huh huh huh.

Niggers. Why do they call them that? If you dig, you're a digger. If you write, you're a writer. So does a nigger nig?

TrollTard (1)

cosm (1072588) | more than 6 years ago | (#21072121)

Hi. My name is *________*. This goes to all Anonymous Cowards who Troll the earth. I am sure me and the rest of us here at Slashdot would greatly appreciate your opinions if you could refrain from blatantly using perverted childish sarcasm and completely racist corollaries. Unfortunately, it seems you have no other means of communication and diction, hereby eliminating you from ever possibly meeting somebody of the opposite sex, with communication being the foundation of a strong relationship and all, and therefore by posting your highly inspirational post have thus erased your future offspring from the gene pool be preemptive default. Continue your moronic postings to further validate my case.

Re:TrollTard (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21072189)

You fed the troll, thus making you a douchebage and certainly no better than the troll you have fed. Congratulations, douchebag!

After all.. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21071883)

...it boils down if I can use my torrent client to download the stuff (=good) or not (=irrelevant to my life).

False Dichotomy? (4, Interesting)

internic (453511) | more than 6 years ago | (#21071959)

There's a story about this in The New York Times [nytimes.com] this morning (free reg required). It begins:

Several major research libraries have rebuffed offers from Google and Microsoft to scan their books into computer databases, saying they are put off by restrictions these companies want to place on the new digital collections.

The research libraries, including a large consortium in the Boston area, are instead signing on with the Open Content Alliance, a nonprofit effort aimed at making their materials broadly available.

The opposition between the Open Content Alliance and Google may not be as much as it seems at first glance. From the NYT article:

Adam Smith, project management director of Google Book Search, noted that the company's deals with libraries were not exclusive. "We're excited that the O.C.A. has signed more libraries, and we hope they sign many more," Mr. Smith said.

It looks like Google will digitize the collection for free in exchange for exclusive rights to offering searches of the digital data, but the libraries don't give up rights to have someone else digitize the stuff again and do with it as they see fit. So they can go with Google for now if they want and the O.C.A. later as they have the resources. This seems pretty reasonable to me. I don't know what the deal Microsoft is offering looks like, but I wouldn't be surprised if it's much more restrictive.

Re:False Dichotomy? (1)

internic (453511) | more than 6 years ago | (#21072055)

Hmm...so I apparently missed page 2 of the article. :-)

Microsoft is part of the O.C.A., except that, "A year after joining, Microsoft added a restriction that prohibits a book it has digitized from being included in commercial search engines other than Microsoft's." Sort of an "embrace and extend" approach?

Jokes aside, this does seem to be a bit more of an open approach than Google's.

Re:False Dichotomy? (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 6 years ago | (#21072343)

Of course Google would say something like this. So would Microsoft. It's what's called "PR Spin".

"Of course we're happy our competiton is starting great new projects that compete with us in ways we are not able! Competition is good! Yadda, yadda, yadda..."

People, in less than 2 years, Google and Microsoft will be indistinguishable, both being IP whores (and I'm not just talking about network addresses...) driven by mercenary stockholders interested in nothing but cash, raping and pillaging the Interweb landscape at the mindless direction of their masters (look forward to major waves of state-side layoffs at both companies as even more of their Borg-like minions are out-sourced first to India and than to Pakistan and then to random dirt-poor Stans.

Re:False Dichotomy? (1)

internic (453511) | more than 6 years ago | (#21073165)

I agree that no matter what they'll try to spin it to minimize the conflict, but the important question here is what are the facts of the matter? It sounds as if the facts are that one is perfectly free to work with both Google and the O.C.A. (based on the quotes in the article from other parties besides Google). This seems like a fairly reasonable arrangement to me; you have the option to get things scanned for free by Google but with restrictions and/or for a fee by O.C.A. without those restrictions.

The only real danger I can see is that Google will be able to allow you to search all the O.C.A. stuff plus their own stuff, so people may just always go to Google to do their searches. In the end, this may limit the perceived value added for going with the O.C.A. and Google may become the de facto standard. I don't think this is too much of a danger, though, because the people really interested in the O.C.A. are interested for reasons of principle, about academic openness.

In the end, I do hope that openness wins out.

Re:False Dichotomy? (1)

richards1052 (906214) | more than 6 years ago | (#21075875)

I didn't mean to claim in my original post that MS or Google were trying to prevent libraries fr going with OCA though I wouldn't be surprised if they did they quietly out of public view. But an important distinction for the commercial ventures is their restrictiveness in not allowing competing search engines to access their digitized content. That's why OCA's mission is so important & why it's important that OCA become the digitization method of choice for all libraries. I don't care if GOogle or MS digitize books, even all the world's books. But I want OCA or some other system to do the same & make it freely available to all & for all.

Rainbow's End (1)

Depili (749436) | more than 6 years ago | (#21072067)

All is fine just as long they don't resort to shredding the books ;)

What about copyright? (1)

causality (777677) | more than 6 years ago | (#21072329)

Which books are digitized anyway? With copyright being as ridiculous as it is (what is it, 50-100 years after the death of the author?), are we likely to see anything modern in such a collection? I would hope that libraries would have some sort of exemption from this, except that in this case it sounds like the data might be used for commercial searches. I also wonder if these will be regular PDFs or if there will be some sort of DRM on them. Can anyone more knowledgable weigh in on this?

Re:What about copyright? (1)

JavaManJim (946878) | more than 6 years ago | (#21077751)

If you read the NYTIMES article on this which has been cited twice prior to this post and on the paper NYTIMES front page above the fold, you will be reassured.

The Open Content Alliance plans to digitize expired copyrights of 1922 and before. Then Boston Library Consortium (34 million expired copyright books) is seeking to digitize later dated in-copyright but out of print books.

Google's approach for in-copyright is close to that of various on-line Journals. A reader can only read a few pages of a copyrighted book (no more information from the article). Then I suppose they are motivated to make an inter library loan for the book.

Then the text, at least from the Gutenberg Project is interesting. Plain courier text for which programs can be written, by myself perhaps, to recreate the original format in PDF files. See the following example.
http://www.archive.org/stream/amusementsinmath16713gut/16713-8.txt [archive.org]

Thanks,
Jim

Do we really have to scan them? (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 6 years ago | (#21072461)

Most modern books are created in electronic form to begin with and are printed with high speed offset printers from files. Only older books have to be scanned.

Re:Do we really have to scan them? (1)

Jonathan (5011) | more than 6 years ago | (#21076879)

Right. But it's really only the older books that are relevant, unless publishers allow free access to the newer books, which would be cool but unlikely.

Other countries (1)

Bromskloss (750445) | more than 6 years ago | (#21072565)

I hope libraries in other countries will be included as well. Please start with Sweden. :-)

EXCELLENT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21073277)

I always have loved the archives... Add to this the The National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP)
http://www.neh.gov/projects/ndnp.html [neh.gov]

and Project Gutenburg and librivox, and you have one heck of a great amount of info online freely available to everyone!

ahh (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 6 years ago | (#21073491)

The wayback machine...I don't think I've ever used a website that was so lagged yet still technically functioned. Sort of.

Clarification (1)

TheRealZeus (1172755) | more than 6 years ago | (#21074869)

The Internet Archive is collecting public domain scanned book whereas google and m$ are collecting both PD and copywritten books. the idea is once you find a copywritten book under the search, links appear where you can purchase a hardcopy of the book. you get to view "selected pages" from these books, however PD books can be downloaded etc, with the watermark of the scanning parent at the foot. the watermark prevents opposing scanners from adding them to their collection since it would essentially be advertising the other service. when you go to 'book search' only the books scanned by their own perspective service will appear. the internet archive is simply not watermarking their collection, but as far as i know they still dont include PD google scans in their searches.

They should make a news group reader (0, Offtopic)

Snaller (147050) | more than 6 years ago | (#21075823)

Cause googles totally sucks with it's incompetent design.

Challenges google? (1)

MushMouth (5650) | more than 6 years ago | (#21076591)

This project predates google's scanning project by several years. Brewster tried to get google involved, but as usual they decided to go alone. While the OCA was announced in 2005, it was an offshoot of the Internet Archive/CMU/Raj Reddy's Million Book [cmu.edu] project which was started in 2001 with books being scanned in India.

We speak of open access (1)

fallen1 (230220) | more than 6 years ago | (#21077601)

and the preservation of books (knowledge). I've also read many of the discussions about Google vs. Project Gutenberg, Corporate vs. Non-Corporate, etc. Personally, I hope preservation of knowledge for all wins out over greed and ignorance. I also find it interesting that in a game, how many years old now?, there are several prophetic quotes including the following:

As the Americans learned so painfully in Earth's final century, free flow of information is the only safeguard against tyranny. The once-chained people whose leaders at last lose their grip on information flow will soon burst with freedom and vitality, but the free nation gradually constricting its grip on public discourse has begun its rapid slide into despotism. Beware of he who would deny you access to information, for in his heart he dreams himself your master. - Commissioner Previn Lal, Datalinks.

Pay close attention to that last line. I replayed the game not long ago and was shocked how many quotes from it could be taken in context and applied to today. Of course, generic enough quotes can apply to may eras but I think my point is still valid.

We Must Dissent

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