Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Connecting OLPC with OA

Mita Williams, OLPC and Libraries Should Support Open Systems, One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) News, January 8, 2008.  Excerpt:

I had heard of the One Laptop Per Child program months ago but it wasn't until I heard fellow librarian Rochelle Mazar speak about how she used the project to engage students with the "issues of information access and activism" that I made the connection between the work of the OLPC and the professional work that many librarians are engaged in.

The connection that came to mind was not between libraries and formal development efforts (although there are organizations like and Librarians Without Borders that do this) but the work that libraries are currently contributing to on the "open" front: open source, open standards, and open access.

Libraries have many reasons why they should actively support open systems. There are concerns that "if the Kindle's DRM model becomes standard, you can kiss libraries goodbye . " Competing book digitization projects from Google and Microsoft mean that library content will be restricted by search engine choice.

Thankfully, there is the Internet Archive's Open Content Alliance that have partnered with (fellow) libraries like The University of Toronto to ensure that the world's treasures are available to all of the world.

Recently, I put up a library display on the OLPC and what it has to do with libraries. This sort of local outreach is important because even through our own university publishes a number of journals using the Open Journal System, there are still many faculty who aren't aware that they give up much of their own rights to re-distribute their own research once its published in a commercial research journal.

If the purchase of XO laptops are going to be at the expense of a developing country's textbook budget, then not only libraries have to make concerted efforts that every reader has his or her book.