Several companies and organizations are attempting to make all printed books available online. From Project Gutenberg (public domain books only), to Google Book Search, the HathiTrust, and the Open Library. Now, Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society is creating the Digital Pulbic Library of America (DPLA). But with issues of copyright, does the DPLA have a future?
From Technology Review:
It sounds straightforward. And if it were just a matter of moving bits and bytes around, a universal online library might already exist. Google, after all, has been working on the challenge for 10 years. But the search giant’s book program has foundered; it is mired in a legal swamp. Now another momentous project to build a universal library is taking shape. It springs not from Silicon Valley but from Harvard University. The Digital Public Library of America—the DPLA—has big goals, big names, and big contributors. And yet for all the project’s strengths, its success is far from assured. Like Google before it, the DPLA is learning that the major problem with constructing a universal library nowadays has little to do with technology. It’s the thorny tangle of legal, commercial, and political issues that surrounds the publishing business. Internet or not, the world may still not be ready for the library of utopia.
The DPLA still has to overcome fundamental issues of its mission, goals, and even its name and role as a library.
Read the article The Library of Utopia.