23 November 2007

Public Domain Search

One of the big advantages of open content is that there are no problems with indexing it - unlike proprietary stuff, where owners can get unreasonably jumpy at the idea. Public domain materials are the ultimate in openness, and here's a basic search engine for some of them:

major public domain sites were chosen, the most important being the US federal government sites. government:

* .gutenberg.org
* .fed.us
* .gov
* .mil

But there are plenty of exclusions. Also, it's a pity this is only for the US: the public domain is somewhat bigger. (Via Open Access News.)


Chriswaterguy said...

Thanks for mentioning the search engine. I'm sure (and I hope!) there's much more PD material out there, so please us to find it! Please add it at the included sites list. We'd really appreciate help on this, especially if there's a good index of public domain content somewhere. I searched, but mainly found open access content, which is not what we need (especially for Appropedia's purposes). I found individual public domain sites, but I was hoping to find a good index of sites to save myself a few hundred hours work.

If there's any perception of US-centricism, let me say: I am not American! But the US federal government (or rather, whoever wrote that rule so many years ago) does deserve credit for explicitly releasing their works into the public domain. I'm not aware of any other government that does this, and I'm certainly not aware of any other body of public domain content that compares with this, in terms of being enormous in size and scope, and continually being added to. Still, there must be a lot of other content which would be a great complement to this, so please let us know about it, at the link above.

Re exclusions: unfortunately, excluding the non-public-domain stuff (local and state sites) is a pain, but it's worth the hours of fiddling to get as high a proportion of public domain stuff as possible.

Chriswaterguy said...

Another point:

By posting selected content at Appropedia, and categorizing it, we can make it more visible to a global audience. We also adapt the content and integrate it with other information and other perspectives. Speaking personally, I'm most concerned for those with limited resources, struggling for survival and their children's health and future - I want to help create information resources that will empower them, and support those in NGO's and agencies who are working to help them.

In short, Appropedia can help expand the content and make it relevant globally. That's our vision.

By the way, that's an inclusive "we" - anyone who wants to be a part of making this information available and relevant can come an help out any time.

glyn moody said...

Thanks for those clarifications. Good luck with project.