Open Access News

News from the open access movement


Wednesday, April 09, 2008

OA textbooks from India

Stian Haklev, Many great free textbooks from India, Random Stuff that Matters, April 6, 2008.

... [T]he Indian National Council on Educational Research and Training (NCERT) offers free downloadable versions of many Indian K-12 text books. From this page, you can choose which year, and which subject, and receive the title desired. The first thing you get is a PDF with the contents, and at first I was very disappointed thinking that was the only thing Id get, about to give up. Then I realized that the TOC is hyperlinked to the individual PDFs for the different chapters. ...

The books themselves seem great. They have text books for the subjects English, Hindi and Urdu, and for many subjects they also offer a Hindi or an English version, which often seem to be identical. ...

The thing that would make these books incredibly more useful though, is if they were affixed with a Creative Commons license, which enabled other people to use the material and creative derivatives. This would enable me to use parts of it in my own text books, translate the text, use illustrations in Wikipedia articles, etc. There might even be a lot of Indian NGOs that wish to use part of the material, but change it in different ways to make it more locally appropriate. Licensing it under CC would be great, but its not enough however. The final step is to make available the source files that were used in generating the PDFs, whether those are Photoshop Layers, or InDesign files. Otherwise it will be very difficult to for example translate the text, but keep the nice background illustrations. ...