A recent Wired Campus article from the Chronicle of Higher Education provides an update on Open Library, a massive project to create and maintain a public access information clearinghouse on ALL the world’s books.  The project is being developed by the Internet Archive’s  Open Content Alliance.  The alliance “aims to build a universally accessible and publicly editable directory of all books” – a wiki site that will integrate: publisher and library catalogs, reader reviews, and links to retailers. As far as the page layout design of full-view books, members of the Open Content Alliance feel they have Google Book Search beat – their custom-built book viewer tool simulates flipping through book pages. 

The official site won’t be available till October but you can view their demo site.   Let us know what you think.  Is it a project that is worthy of investing time and money in or is it too ambitious a  project?

3 thoughts on “Open Library Book Project

  1. It is rather ambitious, but great things are always overwhelming at first. I would love to see the college participate in this project.

  2. Regarding the “Open Library Book Project”–

    When I actually found a full-text book via the demo (Works of Jules Verne), the book interface was tedious to use because there was no link to the table of contents. Once I found a story I’d like to look at, the mouse skills needed to flip to the opening page required the hands of a surgeon.

    As far as I could tell, I could only read while on the site, so if more than one sitting were required, I’d have to go back to the site instead of picking up from a downloaded text (the interface probably precludes downloading), but aren’t these copyright-free materials?

    The idea is promising, but the execution–flipping pages instead of scrolling–will take some getting used to. A link on the interface to the contents page of the work displayed would help, along with (in Phase 2, I suppose) links from the contents titles to the page of the book where that title begins, would be helpful.

  3. Thanks for your feedback. I just noticed that some of the books do have an option to download the .PDF or .TXT file on the computer (Options menu on the right) – but it does take awhile to download.

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