On Sept. 25 and 25 at the Boston Public Library, a "summit" meeting sponsored by the Boston Library Consortium and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation focused on the need for preserving public access to digitized library collections. Such access is potentially in danger if digitization is left to Google and other internet companies where the bottom line, and not our intellectual and cultural legacy, is the ultimate criterion for any project.
Co-conveners of the meeting were Dr. Mark Huddleston, President, University of New Hampshire, Dr. Peter Nicholls, Provost, University of Connecticut, and Dr. Jack Wilson, President, University of Massachusetts. Speakers included Senator Chris Dodd (via video); Maura Marx, Executive Director of the newly formed Open Knowledge Commons; Dr. Robert Darnton, Carl H. Pforzheimer University Professor and Director of the University Library, Harvard University; and Siva Vaidhyanathan, Professor Media Studies and Law, University of Virginia. Attendees included university and library administrators, educators, and public interest advocates.
A white paper titled “Free Our Libraries! Why We Need a New Approach to Putting Library Collections Online,” presented by Richard K. Johnson, senior advisor to the Association of Research Libraries, commissioned by BLC for the summit, identified a number of issues which need to be addressed as libraries push forward with substantial digitization projects of their own such as the BLC/OCA project. The BLC's news release about the meeting and Richard Johnson's white paper are available. Boston College is participating in the BLC/OCA project by digitizing books on the history of the Jesuit order. Quest records are available for the books which have been digitized thus far. In Quest, click the Command button near the top of the page. In the Enter Search Terms box, type wlt=oca jesuitana and click Search.