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Announcement: Online Text Archives

Recent developments in large-scale online text archiving.

The Ockham Initiative

Organization devoted to increasing online reading materials.

“The OCKHAM Initiative seeks to promote the development of digital libraries via collaboration between librarians and digital library researchers. By promoting simple, open approaches and standards for digital library tools, services, and content, the gap between digital library development and the adoption of digital library systems by the traditional library community will be bridged.

To this end, the OCKHAM Initiative received a $425K grant from the National Science Foundation to develop a network of services that will improve the deployability of the National Science Digital Library (NSDL) in traditional libraries. This grant will produce the initial OCKHAM Network – a suite of interoperable digital library services for use by traditional libraries.” (From The Ockham Initiative.)

Starter Links: Information from D-Lib | The Ockham Initiative

Perseus Digital Library

Online multimedia library initially devoted to giving the reader access to works of antiquity. Since its inception the project has expanded to include literature of different time periods.

“Perseus is an evolving digital library, engineering interactions through time, space, and language. Our primary goal is to bring a wide range of source materials to as large an audience as possible. We anticipate that greater accessibility to the sources for the study of the humanities will strengthen the quality of questions, lead to new avenues of research, and connect more people through the connection of ideas.” (from the Perseus Digital Library.)

Starter Links: Perseus Digital Library

Random House, page-per-view

Random House’s new plan to offer their books online on a pay-per-page basis.

“Unwilling to let a Google, Yahoo!, or Microsoft dictate terms in cyberspace, Random House Inc, the world’s largest trade publisher, is taking the industry lead. In early November it outlined ways it would begin to offer its books directly to consumers on a page-per-view basis. Random House will get at least four cents a page and split that roughly in half with authors for fiction and narrative nonfiction. Other types of books, such as cookbooks, will have different pricing models. Random House is discouraging copying fo the texts by delivering pages in low-resolution files.” (from “Digital Is Our Destiny.” )

Starter Links: Random House Announcement | “Digital Is Our Destiny,” Tom Lowry’s article in the November 28, 2005 issue of BusinessWeek

Nora Project

Project to create text-mining, pattern-recognition, and visualization software to enable the discovery of significant patterns across large digital text archives:

“In search-and-retrieval, we bring specific queries to collections of text and get back (more or less useful) answers to those queries; by contrast, the goal of data-mining (including text-mining) is to produce new knowledge by exposing unanticipated similarities or differences, clustering or dispersal, co-occurrence and trends. Over the last decade, many millions of dollars have been invested in creating digital library collections: at this point, terabytes of full-text humanities resources are publicly available on the web. Those collections, dispersed across many different institutions, are large enough and rich enough to provide an excellent opportunity for text-mining, and we believe that web-based text-mining tools will make those collections significantly more useful, more informative, and more rewarding for research and teaching.” (from Nora project description)

Starter Links: Nora Project home page

Amazon.com’s “Amazon Pages’ & “Amazon Upgrade”

Amazon.com’s recent extensions of its “Search Inside the Book” feature:

“Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN) today announced two innovative programs to benefit readers, authors and publishers. Building on its successful Search Inside the Book technology, which allows customers to search the complete interior text of hundreds of thousands of books, the company is currently developing two new programs that will enable customers to purchase online access to any page, section, or chapter of a book, as well as the book in its entirety.
     The first program, Amazon Pages, will ‘un-bundle’ the physical-world experience of buying and reading a book so that customers can simply and inexpensively purchase and read online just the pages they need. For example, an entrepreneur interested in marketing his or her business could purchase the relevant chapters from several best-selling business books.
     The second program, Amazon Upgrade, will allow customers to ‘upgrade’ their purchase of a physical book on Amazon.com to include complete online access.” (from 2005 )

Starter Links: Amazon.com press release | CNET News.com interview with Jeff Bezos of Amazon.com | LibraryJournal.com article

Google Print (Google Book Search) Transliteracies Research Report

Google’s controversial, large-scale effort in collaboration with several major research libraries to put print books online:

“Search the full text of books to find ones that interest you and learn where to buy or borrow them…. Just do a search on Google Book Search or on Google.com. When we find a book whose content contains a match for your search terms, we’ll link to it in your search results. Click a book title and you’ll see the Snippet View which, like a card catalog, shows information about the book plus a few snippets – a few sentences of your search term in context. You may also see the Sample Pages View if the publisher or author has given us permission or the Full Book View if the book is out of copyright. In all cases, you’ll also see ‘Buy this Book’ links that lead directly to online bookstores where you can buy the book.” (from Google site)

Starter Links: Google Book Search | Google’s “About Google Book Search” | Google’s Blog for the Book Search Project | 2004 Washington Post article | 2005 CNET News.com article on the ensuing copyright controversity with publishers

Transliteracies Research ReportTransliteracies Research Report By Lisa Swanstrom

On-Demand, Digital Academic Publishing

Story from Chronicle of Higher Education, 9 Dec. 2005, on digital, on-demand academic publishing:

“Harvard University Press was one of the first academic publishers to use digital printing. After the press found success in reprinting sold-out books that way, officials started doing first print runs digitally about two years ago. ‘It actually changed our whole reprint philosophy,” says John F. Walsh, assistant director of Harvard University Press. “It allows us to keep books in print that normally we wouldn’t be able to keep in print.’ ” (from article)

Starter Links: Dan Carnevale, “Books When You Want Them,” Chronicle of Higher Education, 52.16 (9 Dec. 2005): A27; available online (requires subscription)