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02mydafsoup-01

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I came out of it invigorated and depressed at the same time. Invigorated: An amazing set of people, very significant national institutions ready to pitch in, an alignment on the value of access to the works of knowledge and culture. Depressed: The !@#$%-ing copyright laws are so draconian and, well, stupid, that it is hard to see how to take advantage of the new ways of connecting to ideas and to one another. As one well-known Internet archivist said, we know how to make works of the 19th and 21st centuries accessible, but the 20th century is pretty much lost: Anything created after 1923 will be in copyright about as long as there’s a Sun to read by, and the gigantic mass of works that are out of print, but the authors are dead or otherwise unreachable, is locked away as firmly as an employee restroom at a Disney theme park.

So, here are some of the issues we discussed yesterday that I found came home with me. Fortunately, most are not intractable, but all are difficult to resolve and, some, to implement:

Should the DPLA aggregate content or be a directory? Much of the discussion yesterday focused on the DPLA as an aggregation of e-works. Maybe. But maybe it should be more of a directory. That’s the approach taken by the European online library, Europeana. But being a directory is not as glamorous or useful. And it doesn’t use the combined heft of the participating institutions to drive more favorable licensing terms or legislative changes since it itself is not doing any licensing.

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Joho the Blog » Questions from and for the Digital Public Library of America workshop - 20110302 - David Weinberger

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