Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

The digital library of the Abbey of St. Gallen

The Abbey Library of St. Gallen --the oldest library in Switzerland-- has created a free online digital library, Codices Electronici Sangallenses.  Currently it contains high-res digital copies of 144 manuscripts (57,500+ pages) and plans to add many more from its collection dating back to the 8th century.  (Thanks to Donat Agosti.)

Comment.  The digital library limits access to those who accept its terms of use.  The terms exclude commercial use and require non-commercial users to cite or link to the source.  Most importantly, the terms include the catch-all exception, "We reserve the right to refuse the use of our content in particular cases."  Since the 19th century, the library has been owned by the Canton of St. Gallen, not the Catholic Church, and it appears that Swiss taxpayers have paid all the costs of digitizing these public-domain manuscripts.  St. Gallen should remove the permission barriers and make the files OA.