Reveal Digital Joins ITHAKA

We are pleased to share the news that Reveal Digital has joined the ITHAKA family. Reveal Digital is a small innovative company that uses a unique library crowd-funded model to support the development of open digital collections. In partnership with libraries, Reveal Digital raises funds to digitize, clear rights and make available special collections that have been aggregated from universities and other institutions. Now affiliated with ITHAKA, Reveal Digital will continue to provide an open access publishing model for special collections where libraries drive the program. …”

Sapping Attention: How badly is Google Books search broken, and why?

I periodically write about Google Books here, so I thought I’d point out something that I’ve noticed recently that should be concerning to anyone accustomed to treating it as the largest collection of books: it appears that when you use a year constraint on book search, the search index has dramatically constricted to the point of being, essentially, broken….

What’s going on? I don’t know. I guess I blame the lawyers: I suspect that the reasons have to do with the way the Google books project has become a sort of Herculaneum-on-the-Web, frozen in time at the moment that anti-Books lawsuits erupted in earnest 11 years ago. The site is still littered with pre-2012 branding and icons, and the still-live “project history” page ends with the words “stay tuned…” after describing their annual activity for 2007….”

Authors Guild Attacks Libraries For Lending Digital Books | Techdirt

It’s been a few years since we last had to write about the Authors Guild — a group that ostensibly represents authors’ interests, but really acts more like a front group for publishers’ interests (often in opposition to the actual interests of authors). As you may recall, the Authors Guild spent tons of the money authors gave it for dues on suing libraries. Specifically it sued and lost against Hathitrust (a collection of libraries which were scanning books to make a searchable index), and then had the same result with Google and its book scanning project. In both cases, the courts deemed such scanning and indexing as fair use — a transformative use of the work.

Apparently, unable to comprehend that maybe it shouldn’t attack libraries, the Authors Guild is at it again, threatening the Internet Archive and other libraries for daring to start a carefully designed program to lend out copies of some of their scanned works. The system, called Controlled Digital Lending was put together by a bunch of libraries and the Internet Archive to lay out a system that they believe is clearly covered by fair use, by which digital scans of certain books could be made available on loan like any other library book. The whole setup of the Controlled Digital Lending system is carefully laid out and designed to mimic traditional library lending….”

The Cleveland Museum of Art Advances Open Access Movement | Cleveland Museum of Art

“The Cleveland Museum of Art (CMA) announced today it is using Open Access to make high-resolution digital images and collections data freely available by means of the internet. Open Access means the public now has the ability to share, remix, and reuse images of as many as 30,000 CMA artworks that are in the public domain for commercial as well as scholarly and noncommercial purposes. Additional information on more than 61,000 artworks —both those in the public domain and those with copyright or other restrictions—is also now available. …”

Introducing Open Access at the CMA: For the Benefit of All the People Forever

“Beginning immediately, as many as 30,000 images of public-domain artworks in the Cleveland Museum of Art’s (CMA) collection will be available to all as part of our Open Access program. In addition, metadata relevant to more than 61,000 works are available without restriction, whether the works themselves are in the public domain or under copyright. To make this initiative feasible, the museum has partnered with Creative Commons Zero (CC0), a global nonprofit organization that makes possible the sharing and reuse of creativity and knowledge….”

Introducing Open Access at the CMA: For the Benefit of All the People Forever

Beginning immediately, as many as 30,000 images of public-domain artworks in the Cleveland Museum of Art’s (CMA) collection will be available to all as part of our Open Access program. In addition, metadata relevant to more than 61,000 works are available without restriction, whether the works themselves are in the public domain or under copyright. To make this initiative feasible, the museum has partnered with Creative Commons Zero (CC0), a global nonprofit organization that makes possible the sharing and reuse of creativity and knowledge….”

Author Organizations Allege Copyright Infringement by the Internet Archive

“In the same kind of solidarity they showed in calling for author contract reform from publishers, the United States’ Authors Guild and the United Kingdom’s Society of Authors are making simultaneous demands that the Internet Archive’s Open Library immediately stop lending scanned copies of physical books on their site.

Today (January 18), the Society of Authors in London has issued a media alert to its cease-and-desist open letter to the Internet Archive, and—as in previous instances in which the English-language world’s two largest author trade organizations have teamed up—the eloquence inherent in writers’ work is quickly apparent in how they’re putting across their message.

The Society of Authors refers in its open letter to the one issued by the Authors Guild, and in both cases, these professional bodies, each with some 10,000 members, are calling for their members and supporters to sign and submit the letters to the San Francisco-based Internet Archive.

At issue is what the Authors Guild in New York asserts is an “unauthorized copying, distribution, and display of books” that’s “shameful, unjust, and even inhumane.” …”

The two organizations oppose the theory that “it is fair use for libraries to scan or obtain scans of physical books that they own and loan those books through e-lending technologies, [even when] they apply certain restrictions akin to physical library loans, such as lending only one copy (either the digital copy or the physical copy) at a time and only for a defined loan period.”

Google Arts & Culture Digitizes Artifacts Following Brazil Museum Fire

“Earlier this year, 20 million irreplaceable artifacts housed by Brazil’s National Museumwere lost in a fire. As the museum did not have a platform for viewing most of these works digitally, many people feared that their memory would be lost forever. However, thanks to a two-year-old project spearheaded by Google, a lucky selection of these priceless pieces will live a second life online.

 

In 2016, Google Arts & Culture teamed up with the Museu Nacional in an effort to digitize its collections. Using Street View imagery, the initial goal of this undertaking was “to bring their collection online—so that anyone, anywhere in the world could see and learn about these ancient artifacts.” Since the fire, however, this project has served a much greater purpose.

With a couple clicks of a mouse, users are transported to the museum as it once stood. Featuring high-resolution photographs that offer 360-degree views of both the artifacts and the galleries they once inhabited, this invaluable project lets users wander through the lost museum and wade through some of its destroyed objects. Ancient sculptures, scientific specimens, and Luzia, the oldest fossilized human remains found in the Americas, are just some of the pieces immortalized in this virtual treasure trove….”

Google Virtual Tour Preserves Collections Destroyed in Brazil Museum Fire | Smart News | Smithsonian

“In early September, a fire roared through the 200-year-old National Museum of Brazil in Rio de Janeiro, destroying up to 90 percent of its precious collections. The extent of the damages was “incalculable,” Brazil President Michel Temer stated on Twitter at the time. “Two hundred years of work, research and knowledge have been lost.”

 

While it is true that little can be done to restore so many of the museum’s irreplaceable specimens and artifacts, a recently launched Google Arts & Culture project hopes to see the institution live on in the digital realm. As Kelly Richman-Abodou reports for My Modern Met, Street View imagery has made it possible to take a virtual tour of the museum as it stood before tragedy struck.

In what would prove to be a fortuitous collaboration, Google started working with the National Museum of Brazil in 2016 to digitize the museum’s collections and capture its interior through “high-resolution photography, photogrammetry, 3D laser scanning, and virtual and augmented reality,” writes Chance Coughenour, program manager of Google Arts & Culture, in a blog post. Google has embarked on similar projects with many other museums and heritage sites, but its partnership with the National Museum of Brazil has become particularly important in the wake of the fire….”