Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Europeana Gives Open Access to Over 14 Million Examples of Europe's Cultural Heritage

Launched in 2008 with two million objects, the European digital library, Europeana, now provides free online access to over 14 million digitized books, maps, photographs, paintings, film and music clips from cultural institutions across Europe. Thus, Europeana has already passed the initial target for 2010 of 10 million objects.

From the press release:
Digitised photographs, maps, paintings, museum objects and other images make up 64% of the Europeana collection. 34% of the collection is dedicated to digitised texts, including more than 1.2 million complete books that can be viewed online and/or downloaded. The texts cover thousands of rare manuscripts and the earliest printed books (incunabula) from before 1500. Video and sound material represents less than 2% of the collections. Much of the material accessible through Europeana is older, i.e. out of copyright, items, due mainly to the difficulties and cost of rights clearance to digitise and give access to in-copyright material (even for material that is no longer commercially distributed or out-of-print) or material whose potential right-holders are unknown (orphan works).

The World Bank Launches a New Digital Collection

On 18 November, 2010 the World Bank announced the launching of the open access collection of all World Development Reports published since 1978. The Complete World Development Report Online may be accessed at .

From the press release:
. . . . For over thirty years, the annual WDR has provided a window on development economics to a broad international readership. The report has served as one of the principal vehicles for encapsulating the World Bank’s knowledge of and policy recommendations on key global development trends. From agriculture and the environment to economic growth and international trade, the WDR has tracked theoretical and empirical findings as well as policies in the field of international development.

The robust search engine of The Complete World Development Report Online optimizes search both across and within all WDRs with the click of a button. In addition, the background papers upon which the most recent reports were drawn are also available.

A free optional individual user account allows users to take advantage of tools such as bookmarking and saving selected chapters or reports, saving searches, and taking notes. A custom eBook feature lets users select chapters from multiple reports for future reference, sharing with colleagues, or creating course packets. The custom eBooks may also be downloaded, printed, or easily shared through social networking sites. In addition, the site features quick links to World Bank open databases, RSS feeds, new content alerts, and COUNTER-compliant usage statistics for librarians . . . .

Monday, November 15, 2010

"Open Access at the Wellcome Trust: 5 Years On"

In 2006, the UK's Wellcome Trust, a major funder of research, specified that all research that resulted from its funding be made open access, that is, be freely available. However, for the first couple of years compliance by funding recipients was low. At the recent Berlin 8 meeting in Beijing, Robert Kiley, Head Digital Services, Wellcome Trust, in a presentation "Open Access at the Wellcome Trust: 5 Years On" showed that there has been significant increase in compliance since 2006 -- it is now around 50%. Kiley, stating that there is still a long way to go, considers what other steps Wellcome Trust should take to improve compliance with its OA mandate.

Kiley also discusses the goal of transforming UK's PubMed Central into a Europe PMC, that is "a single, Europe-wide, repository where all European-funded, peer-reviewed, biomedical research papers can be accessed, data-mined and integrated into other related information sources".