For Open Access Week, I’d like to highlight a current project which makes many of our rare and fragile pre-1923 texts readily available online. Since 2008 the Claire T. Carney Library Archives and Special Collections has sent selected older monographs from the library and archives to the scanning center at the Boston Public Library in Boston, where they were carefully digitized. The books were returned to the library, but digital files were sent to the Internet Archive (www.archive.org) for inclusion in their massive online database of freely-accessible digital content.
To date, the Claire T. Carney Library has digitized 541 books, most of which were published before 1923, the cut-off date for items entering the public domain. Total downloads for all of the books we have contributed is 34,292 times! Which book boasts the most total downloads by the public? It’s the 1914 edition of the American machinists’ handbook and dictionary of shop terms by Fred Colvin and Frank Stanley, with 11,022 downloads! Two of the pages from the book are pictured above. The direct link to this book is https://archive.org/details/americanmachinis00colv.
There are seventeen other books which also show more than 5,000 downloads each. They are: the 1915, 1918, and 1921 Fall River City Directories, the 1906, 1909,1912, 1914, 1916, 1918, 1919, 1921, and 1923 New Bedford City Directories, Le guide officiel des Franco-Americains of 1921 and 1922, Tappet and Dobby Looms (1912) by Robert Thomas, Professor Sherif El-Wakil’s 1998 edition of the Processes and design of manufacturing, and a facsimile edition of Luis Vaz de Camoes’ 1572 Lusiads (1972). Other titles available for viewing by online page-turner, or for download on a tablet or computer include the UMass Dartmouth yearbooks and catalogs from 1900-2002, the complete collection of Swain School of Design catalogs, and a large collection of textile education texts and textile mill technical manuals.
On their web site the Internet Archive “encourages libraries, content holders and the reading community at large, to have their printed materials non-destructively digitized and put online for the benefit of all.” They claim to have digitized over 2.1 million books and microforms in 33 global scanning centers. In 2007, the Boston Library Consortium [BLC] joined the Open Content Alliance [OCA], a collaboration of cultural, technology, non-profit and governmental institutions helping to build a permanent archive of digitized text and multimedia content. Through the BLC’s participation, member libraries, including UMass Dartmouth, are provided discounted rates at the Northeast Regional Scanning Facility located at the Boston Public Library and contribute their digitized content to The Internet Archive, which administers the OCA program.
For more information on Open Access Week, go to http://www.openaccessweek.org/
-Judy Farrar, Archives and Special Collections Librarian