Monday, October 6, 2008

Call for Wider Support for Digitizing Books

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.

1 comment:

the zak said...

Citing Boston Public Library catalog links. We need to make it easier to cite a particular BPL catalog URL uniform resource locator link for a book title. At our BPL it's problematical citing the URL for a catalog entry at

Compatibility of BPL resources for all BPLusers. Compatibility with other operating systems needs to be a greater priority for audiobooks and other ebook BPL resources. At our Boston Public Library other operating systems' users are a bit sidelined because of lack in the usability of overdrive at

Alternative resources listings for all BPLusers. Point of use at needs listings of any alternative resources to the BPL overdrive ebooks, audiobooks, etc. that BPLusers of other operating systems can try.

It appears that in using BPLusers relinquish control of their own computers to the player software with embedded code and all the code that's embedded isn't explained clearly.

Ethics have been compromised at our Boston Public Library