As I was waiting for a meeting yesterday, I saw CNN reporting on the issue of libraries and scanning. Some well known research libraries are turning down Microsoft and Google’s offers to scan the contents of the libraries for free. Of course, nothing is really free, and the libraries do not want to bind themselves to the terms of Google and Microsoft’s “free deal”. If a library or organization commits to Google or Microsoft, it agrees that it will not make the scanned material available to any other commercial search service.
Boston Public Library and the Smithsonian Institution have signed with Open Content Alliance, a non profit, that will scan and make the information available to any search service. The Times says that this signals “that many in the academic and nonprofit world are intent on pursuing a vision of the Web as a global repository of knowledge that is free of business interests or restrictions.” I love the idea of the Web as a “global repository of knowledge.”
Via New York Times and CNN.