11 May 2006

The Digital Sum of Human Knowledge

Most of us think of open access as a great way of reading the latest research online, so there is an implicit assumption that open access is only about the cutting edge. This also flows from the fact that most open access journals are recent launches, and those that aren't usually only provide content for volumes released after a certain (recent) date, for practical reasons of digital file availability, if nothing else.

This makes the joint Wellcome Trust and National Libary of Medicine project to place 200 years of biomedical journals online by scanning them a major expansion not just to the open access programme, but to the whole concept of open access.

It also hints at what the end-goal of open access must be: the online availability of every journal, magazine, newspaper, pamphlet, book, manuscript, tablet, inscription, statue, seal and ostracon that has survived the ravages of history - the digital sum of all written human knowledge.

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