Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Digital Public Library of America and Free eBooks

At the library we are still buying and providing physical books. But we also provide a great deal of multi media, online content and other resources like audiobook or streaming films. So I would like to let you know about something that might change the nature of online scholarly research in the future known as  The Digital Public Library. The aims of the Digital Public Library may to help to erase the digital divide and provide free online content. Engraved in the side of The Boston Public Library is the phrase, "Free to All". The Digital Public Library aims to uphold these democratic values rooted in the history of American Public Libraries. I think, however, that this free content will also have a profound affect on academia. A recent article in the New York Times  describes the DPLA as a "national digital library that would serve as an electronic repository for the nation’s cultural heritage". The DPLA is an initiative of The Berkman Center for Internet & Society and sponsored by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
Until the Digital Public Library of America is fully up and running, however, I wanted to take a moment to let you know about some other places on the web with valuable free content. Particular in the eBook format.

Google Books of course has lost major ground in their attempt to put free scholarly content on the web. If you have noticed that there is less downloadable and full text content on Google Books it is because of the major law suit that has forced them to take some content down. Nevertheless Google Books can still be a powerful tool. There are some major Academic Library Partners with Google Books including Columbia, Harvard and Cornell.

Hathi Trust
Hathi Trust describes itself as "a partnership of major research institutions and libraries working to ensure that the cultural record is preserved and accessible long into the future". There Academic Library partners include Baylor, UC Berkeley, and Stanford. Hathi Trust has worked to digitize almost 10 million volumes.

Project Gutenberg
Named after the most important development in information until the internet, Project Gutenberg provides free downloadable eBooks. The content can be downloaded in Kindle, ePub or HTML formats and is all in the public domain and out of copyright. Gutenberg also offers downloadable audiobooks in MP3 format including many literary classics.

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