Adding an OA Trust to the Google book settlement

From Hal Abelson, Harry Lewis, Lewis Hyde, and Charlie Nesson: “One wonderful promise of the Google Book Settlement is that it will bring back into circulation all the out-of-print books currently under copyright. An important subset of these works are “orphaned,” meaning that their legal owners have abandoned them, died, or simply cannot be located. These works have value, and renewed public access to them will create a stream of revenue.

To whom should that revenue be dedicated?

We argue that truly orphaned works should be thought of as a part of the public domain, and that any income generated from their renewed circulation should therefore be dedicated to the public good. Moreover, as this income has been derived from renewed access to printed books, the public good in this case can well be thought of as those institutions that are themselves dedicated to access to knowledge.

We therefore propose the creation of an Open Access Trust, funded by the revenue generated by unclaimed orphaned works.

Trusts are centuries-old institutions devised to hold and manage property for beneficiaries. The essence of a trust is a fiduciary relationship. Neither trusts nor their trustees may act in their own self-interest; they’re legally obligated to act solely on behalf of beneficiaries. These rules are enforceable by the courts.

Imagine a trust dedicated to access to knowledge. The beneficiaries of such a trust would be all living citizens, globally, and future generations. The trustees, in turn, would have as their primary duty the creation, encouragement, and maintenance of institutions that serve the goal of open access, worldwide….”

Greek and Latin Unleashed: Harvard Library’s Contribution to the Digital Humanities | Harvard Library

“The Open Greek and Latin Project (OGL) is an international collaboration working to bring free access to all source texts written in Classical Greek or Latin from antiquity to c. 600 CE, including manuscripts, papyri, epigraphs, ostraca (broken pieces of ceramic material used as ballots) and more.

In 2016, the Harvard Library and the Harvard Center for Hellenic Studies joined forces with Mount Allison University and the University of Virginia to help the OGL implement a proof of concept of the project, focusing on the first thousand years of Greek texts. Funding for the First Thousand Years of Greek component of the OGL came from the Harvard Library through a grant from the Arcadia Foundation and the generous support of the Center for Hellenic Studies. The OGL is led by Professor Gregory Crane, the Humboldt Professor of Computer Science at the University of Leipzig and Professor of Classics at Tufts University and Editor-in-Chief of the Perseus Project. All partners in the project are providing staff and technical support.

This funding is helping the OGL complete the digitization of Greek texts and create an easy-to-use but functionally rich user interface. This will allow researchers to access, search, download, modify, and redistribute textual data to explore new forms in areas such as born-digital annotation, reading practices, audiences for Greek and Latin, and avenues of research. While the design of the website is under development, scholars are accessing and using the texts from GitHub, the software development platform. …”

ORCA: Open Research Content Archive

“ORCA is a library of professionally-created 3D assets donated to the research community. ORCA enables researchers to develop, test and discover new ideas using challenging, high-quality assets. With initial assets donated by Amazon Lumberyard, SpeedTree, and NVIDIA, we encourage additional 3D asset contributions. …ORCA assets are in FBX format, available for use in any rendering system. Each asset includes a Falcor scene file containing camera and lighting configuration….”

Developing a Vision for Framework Programme 9, from All European Academies (ALLEA)

“Moedas has also sketched out the objectives around which he wishes to see FP9 revolve. These are Open Science, Open Innovation, and Open to the World. These are useful umbrella terms with which to frame FP9 but to this point they have been described too narrowly and unambitiously, in our view, in order to develop the next step in EU Framework Programmes….Narrow understandings of innovation and impact have hampered Horizon 2020’s ability to be an open research and innovation programme that speaks to all disciplines, participants, companies and countries, and most importantly have meant that innovative and impactful research has not always been supported where it could. This is particularly the case for the humanities and social sciences….In addition, we would recommend that impact and the desire for open science should encapsulate support for the digitisation and the translation of research into widely read languages….We recommend that the Commission begins now in discussing with counterparts how an Open to the World strategy in the mould of a Global Research Area can be developed in time for the start of FP9….The Commission should be aiming to enable an open framework for creativity to flourish, which focuses on setting simple and encouraging ground rules and foundations for researchers then to apply and work creatively within….”

The Metropolitan Museum of Art: 375,000 windows on art history, and that’s just the beginning – Wikimedia Blog

“Richard Knipel, the Wikimedian in residence at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, looks back at the efforts made and future plans to further support collaboration between the museum and the Wikimedia movement.”

Thoreau’s 200th birthday brings gift for botanists | Harvard Gazette

“In honor of Thoreau’s 200th birthday, on July 12, hundreds of new images of his specimens, along with the data associated with them, will be posted online, part of a larger effort to digitize and open to the public the 5.5 million dried plant specimens in the Herbaria’s collection.

“I think it’s fair to say that the data that live inside these cabinets has been dark for far too long,” Davis said. “My vision for the collections is that we make everything online and accessible to the world.”

That larger effort has meant adopting a new “open-access digitization policy,” available on the Office for Scholarly Communication website, that puts most of the images — excepting those whose copyright is held by other institutions or individuals — in the public domain….

“The Herbaria is the first Harvard museum to adopt an open-access policy for its digitization projects,” said Peter Suber, director of the Office for Scholarly Communication. “Lifting restrictions from the bulk of its digital reproductions will bring this unique botanical collection to a global audience, and advance the Herbaria’s mission of research and education.” …”

SciTechSociety: Forward to the Past

“Libraries provide access to their site licenses through journal databases, OpenURL servers, and proxy servers. They pay for this expensive system so publishers can perpetuate a business model that eliminates competition, is rife with conflict of interest, and can impose almost unlimited price increases. Scholars should be able to subscribe to personal libraries as they do for their infotainment….

In the paper era, the interlibrary-loan department was the gateway to the world’s information. Today, it is mostly a buying agent for costly pay-per-view access to papers not covered by site licenses. Personal libraries would eliminate these requests. Digitization and open access can eliminate requests for out-of-copyright material.

Why is there no scholarly app store, where students and faculty can build their own libraries? By replacing site licenses with app-store subsidies, universities would create a competitive marketplace for subscription journals, open-access journals, experimental publishing platforms, and other scholarly services. A library making an institutional decision must be responsible and safe. One scholar deciding where to publish a paper, whether to cancel a journal, or which citation database to use can take a risk with minimal consequence. This new dynamic would kickstart innovation….”

LexisNexis Announces Acquisition of Ravel Law

“Finally, Ravel Law’s access to the Harvard case law content and PDF images of original case opinions will enrich the already expansive case law collection available from LexisNexis. LexisNexis is committed to continuing Ravel Law’s open access to this historical collection, giving the American public, and anyone with an internet connection, access to this vital collection of legal information….”

LexisNexis acquires case analytics firm Ravel Law

“LexisNexis Legal & Professional has acquired legal research and litigation analytics firm Ravel Law, and will integrate Ravel’s data visualization and profiling technology into LexisNexis services….In the next few months, the team will complete its project with Harvard University to digitize the school’s case law library, and Lewis notes that LexisNexis will consider ways to support the effort. “We’ll continue to provide public access and expand it with APIs,” Lewis says, referring to the application program interfaces that developers use to distribute information….”