Friday, May 7, 2010

Earlier this week Library Journal reported that the Internet Archive (IA) are making one million books available to blind, dyslexic, and print impaired people:
Some 340,000 works held by the IA have been converted to the DAISY talking book format, while the others are simply openly accessible editions available via the Open Library, an IA project that aims to create a web page for every book. . . .

Though the IA is synonymous in many circles with the public domain, this effort defines a broader purview. The project stems from an exception to the U.S. code concerning copyright that allows works to be copied for the purpose of making a work accessible.

The works will be made available to qualifying readers officially registered with the Library of Congress’s National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS). . . .

[A]s IA founder Brewster Kahle told LJ, the project entails a new scale of offerings, more than doubling the number of works available in a single place.

It dovetails with IA's large-scale scanning efforts and the the Open Library's goal to make works and bibliographic data as openly available as possible. In addition, with the inclusion of popular and other in-copyright materials, the IA can offer print impaired users beyond the more limited selection of accessible works currently available.

"We're taking the [IA's] mass digitization project, and reformatting it for the print disabled," Kahle said. But it also works the other way around: the more books added and converted to the DAISY format, the more raw material to work with in building a robust platform for the Open Library, both in terms of the works themselves as well as bibliographic data to work with.

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