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September 19, 2006

Bay Area update on the Open Content Alliance

I haven't had much time to post about stuff in the library world ... in part because I've been trying to do a real-world event about the library world.

If you're in the Bay Area, and you're interested in the Internet Archive's digitization effects, you are invited to a SLA San Andreas chapter meeting with Czeslaw Jan Grycz, of the Archive, give an update on the Open Content Alliance and the Open Library. It's taking place on October 3rd, at Piacere Restaurant in San Carlos. You can find out more about it here.

“The Open Library, Internet Archive and Open Content Alliance: A Progress Report” Speakers: Czeslaw Jan Grycz The Internet Archive October 3, 2006

The Google Book Search digitization project has gotten a lot of press, but it is not the only game in town. 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. Member-contributors include the Internet Archive, Yahoo!, MSN, RLG, Adobe Systems, HP Labs, Xerox Corp. and a number of archives, libraries, museums and universities.

Czeslaw Jan Grycz
"Chet" (much easier to pronounce than his full Polish name) is currently Curator of Books and Collections at the Internet Archive, following a varied and successful career in academic and scholarly publishing, library research, and non-profit management.

For six years immediately prior to joining the Internet Archive, Chet was CEO of Octavo, a company founded in 1997 by John Warnock (co-founder of Adobe Systems). Octavo specialized in ultra-high quality digitization of rare and extremely valuable books from leading libraries around the world. It provided access to those books through innovative electronic and published editions/collections for both scholarly use and the pleasure of the general public, setting a high bar for standards in digital book imaging and visualization. Prior to his tenure at Octavo, Chet was on the staff of the Office of the President of the University of California, for 14 years at the University Press, and for 6 with the Division of Library Automation.

Not to brag, but I think a fun time will be had by most ...

September 07, 2006

Support the Orphan Works Act!

ALA and SLA is asking for your support.



Write. Call. Fax. Show your support for the Orphan Works Act. It won't resolve all of the issues/minefields over copyright and libraries/museums/archives/etc., but it looks like a step in the right direction.

From ALA-WO:

On May 24, the House Subcommittee on the Courts, the Internet and Intellectual Property, Committee on the Judiciary approved H.R. 5439, the "Orphan Works Act of 2006." Overall, the legislation, as introduced, constitutes a very positive step forward in solving many orphan works concerns raised by libraries and others in the cultural community. The legislative solution includes both U.S., foreign, published, and unpublished works, and presents a relatively flexible system for users and institutions regarding what constitutes a reasonable search for orphan works. Since approval by the Subcommittee, some additional changes (e.g. state sovereign immunity provisions) have been proposed to the legislation.

It is critically important for members of the House Committee on the Judiciary to receive letters of support for H.R. 5439 as soon as possible. As members of the Committee are hearing mostly from opponents of the legislation, it is important that the Committee now hear from supporters of the orphan works legislation.

A sample letter and a list of members of the Judiciary Committee are included below. If a member of the Judiciary Committee is in your state delegation, please fax letters or place calls to him/her as soon as possible.

Dear Representative:

On behalf of _______, I am writing in strong support of H.R. 5439, the "Orphan Works Act of 2006." This legislation, once enacted, will greatly help to make cultural heritage more broadly available to the public. I ask that you support this legislation when H.R. 5439 is considered by the Committee on the Judiciary.

The special collections in our libraries, museums, state and local historical societies, and archives are deep and rich in our Nation's cultural and scientific heritage. These collections include significant amounts of orphan works, works whose owners are difficult or impossible to locate. These repositories with orphan works are not being made publicly available for fear of copyright owners coming forward and demanding unknown amounts of compensation. Despite extensive and costly searches to locate orphan work owners, without a legislative solution, the risk remains too high for _____ institution to make these works publicly available.

Resolving the orphan works problem will present significant new educational opportunities because these works will be publicly accessible and available to students, faculty and the public. Access to these resources supports and inspires new scholarship by making the works of previous generations more accessible and useful to current users.

Thank you in advance for considering this request.



U.S. House of Representatives
Committee on the Judiciary
Hon. Sensenbrenner Jr., Chairman (WI-5)
Hon. Hyde (IL-6)
Hon. Coble (NC-6)
Hon. Smith (TX-21)
Hon. Gallegly (CA-24)
Hon. Goodlatte (VA-6)
Hon. Chabot (OH-1)
Hon. Lungren (CA-3)
Hon. Jenkins (TN-1)
Hon. Cannon (UT-3)
Hon. Bachus (AL-6)
Hon. Inglis (SC-4)
Hon. Hostettler (IN-8)
Hon. Green (WI-8)
Hon. Keller (FL-8)
Hon. Issa (CA-49)
Hon. Flake (AZ-6)
Hon. Pence (IN-6)
Hon. Forbes (VA-4)
Hon. King (IA-5)
Hon. Feeney (FL-24)
Hon. Franks (AZ-2)
Hon. Gohmert (TX-1) Hon. Conyers Jr., Ranking Member, (MI-14)
Hon. Berman (CA-28)
Hon. Boucher (VA-9)
Hon. Nadler (NY-8)
Hon. Scott (VA-3)
Hon. Watt (NC-12)
Hon. Lofgren (CA-16)
Hon. Jackson Lee (TX-18)
Hon. Waters (CA-35)
Hon. Meehan (MA-5)
Hon. Delahunt (MA-10)
Hon. Wexler (FL-19)
Hon. Weiner (NY-9)
Hon. Schiff (CA-29)
Hon. Sánchez (CA-39)
Hon. Van Hollen, Jr. (MD-8)
Hon. Wasserman Schultz (FL-20)