22 October 2007

Open Content Alliance - Good, but not New....

Nice story in the New York Times about libraries choosing to go with the Open Content Alliance rather than that nice Mr. Google or Mr. Microsoft:

Several major research libraries have rebuffed offers from Google and Microsoft to scan their books into computer databases, saying they are put off by restrictions these companies want to place on the new digital collections.

The research libraries, including a large consortium in the Boston area, are instead signing on with the Open Content Alliance, a nonprofit effort aimed at making their materials broadly available.

Libraries that agree to work with Google must agree to a set of terms, which include making the material unavailable to other commercial search services. Microsoft places a similar restriction on the books it converts to electronic form. The Open Content Alliance, by contrast, is making the material available to any search service.

That's all jolly well and good, but what I can't understand is that the blogosphere is going nuts about this "new" initiative:

The Internet Archive, whose main claim to fame is the Wayback Machine, designed to archive the internet's web history, has created a new project: the Open Content Alliance.

Well, no, not as such:

The Open Content Alliance (OCA) represents the collaborative efforts of a group of cultural, technology, nonprofit, and governmental organizations from around the world that will help build a permanent archive of multilingual digitized text and multimedia content. The OCA was conceived by the Internet Archive and Yahoo! in early 2005 as a way to offer broad, public access to a rich panorama of world culture.

So founded in 2005; and as its press archive shows, it's hardly been dormant since then....

Update: More details from Da Man himself, Brewster Kahle, here.

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